Frank Zappa, The Yellow Shark

Christopher R. Weingarten

By Christopher R. Weingarten

on 12.18.11 in Reviews

The Yellow Shark

Frank Zappa
An ideal entry point into Zappa’s classical works

Frank Zappa focused most of his final years on art music, working with Pierre Boulez’s Ensemble InterContemporain, composing dozens of works for Synclavier and releasing The Yellow Shark, his work with German classical group the Ensemble Modern and, ultimately, his final album. An ideal entry point into Zappa’s classical works, Shark pits Zappa classics (Uncle Meat‘s title track and “Pound for a Brown”) against his modern compositional stylings, running the gamut from chunky repeating patterns like those of Rite Of Spring (or, say, rock music) to exhilaratingly formless note runs to wild sound effects. After years of complaining about shiftless orchestra union members being unable to devote the proper time and energy to his work, Zappa’s string-torturing sonatas finally got the treatment they deserved.