Frank Zappa Apostrophe(')/Over-Nite Sensation

The trend of "immortalising” audio artefacts (read: "classic albums”) by putting out films and literature devoted to these works is at once thoughtful and interesting and anal and problematic. In terms of an artist like Zappa, it makes total sense because he was an obsessive archivist, not only releasing mountains of diverse material but also thoroughly documenting the processes. The decision to do a doc on two specific albums is an obviously subjective one but the producers do well by tying in aspects of Zappa’s career that fans will find indispensable. For example, the trip into the vault with the archivist, which aside from the music stories, is a time trip through the history of recording, from quarter-inch reels to digital mayhem. There are great interviews with everybody from Steve Vai and Ruth Underwood to Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Cooper and the unsung heroes of sound engineering that facilitated Zappa’s music and art. My favourite bits are the scenes of Dweezil Zappa, with archivist Joe Travers, sitting at the mixing board analysing some of the songs from these albums and finding stuff they never knew existed. While Zappa fanatics will gobble this up, fans of music will find this an interesting addition to any analysis of the creative process, as well as rude behaviour. (Eagle Rock)