Cruising for Burgers: Tracking Zappanian DNA in Uncle Meat - or why the oeuvre of Frank Zappa isn’t a phonographic work after all.

Knakkergaard, M. (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


Frank Zappa’s concept album Uncle Meat from 1969 can in many ways be seen as a key to his art, his view of society and his understanding of life.
Even the title seems to cover a simultaneously humorous and odd, almost macabre and somewhat vulgar dramatic universe, and the long program note - Preamble - supports this impression with its semblance of mythology and caricatured science fiction.
In its concrete material Uncle Meat appears both textually and musically as a close-voiced pastiche - a multi-faced stretto, kaleidoscopically put together from a unique debris of mainly rock, jazz, musique concrète, pop, electronic and Neoclassical idioms, which, together with texts, is based on an occasionally absurd imagery, picturing human alienation, degradation and reification.
The paper is a rendering of Uncle Meat as a phonographic universe of its own, pieced together by descriptive analyses of a variety of the piece’ key elements, their phonographic realisation and implicit acoustical idealisations, in order to identify correlations and clashes between production, music, text and ideology. It is also a reflection on the relevance of Zappa's collected works as a prophetic dystopia.
Period5 Dec 2014
Event typeConference
LocationOslo, Norway