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Baker's Dozen

Compiling & Filing: Jan St. Werner's Favourite Albums
Nick Hutchings , April 30th, 2015 11:23

With his operatic performance-cum-radio play Miscontinuum released as an album earlier this year, the Mouse On Mars man takes Nick Hutchings on a trawl of his favourite avant-garde and experimental records


The Mothers Of Invention - Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Zappa is really amazing. He could involve people and all kinds of controversial elements and absurdities and paradoxes. He merged it all into his music. He was a composer: he was into Varèse and all kinds of atonal stuff - Schoenberg and Stravinsky. At the same time he was a rock & roll guy, totally quirky and kinky but also a macho bandleader. His music is pornographic. He was like a weirdly absurd character in his own theatre play. I think he's the original Marilyn Manson.

There's this video clip where he's doing a talk show and conducting the house band. He has set a very simple set of rules for conducting an orchestra which is basically just three or four different commands, and the band are playing according to this ethic. It's really cool how they immediately understand and follow him. Right at the end he really has fun with them by giving them the middle finger. They instinctively and in unison pitch their instruments up really high. It makes so much sense that this gesture makes them all purposely screw up simultaneously.

I think Zappa's great because he has this amazing humour, which was unprecedented and hasn't been topped. Plus his music is beautifully composed, playful, funny and mind-blowing. Burnt Weeny Sandwich is one of mine and Andi's [Toma, Mouse On Mars] favourite records. It was the last Mothers Of Invention album, released after Zappa disbanded them… I think that's because it was the maximum speed they could play; after that he needed robots.