The Meandering Hexagon

Listener's Log: Hot Rats by Frank Zappa

Album: Hot Rats
Artist: Frank Zappa
Release Date: October 1969
Date Listened: 30 March 2017
Remarks: This. Is. The Best. Zappa. Yet. Hot Rats is ridiculously listenable (even my wife might like it), yet there's no dilution of Zappa's trademark complex arrangement style. The instrumentals are all so clean, easy on the ears, and well executed. Just a really, really great album. And is that Jean-Luc Ponty I hear? Hot Rats = Pure music.
Stand Out Tracks: Peaches en Regalia, Willie the Pimp, The Gumbo Variations, It Must Be a Camel

Listener's Log: It's All About by Spooky Tooth

Album: It's All About
Artist: Spooky Tooth
Release Date: June 1968
Date Listened: 29 March 2017
Remarks: Not impressed. It sounds like Joe Cocker, only worse. Not sure if I'll return to listen to more Spooky Tooth after my equally negative experience with their "Art" album. Perhaps a greatest hits album is in order?
Stand Out Tracks: Sunshine Help Me, It's All About a Roundabout, Tobacco Road, Luger's Groove, Weird

Listener's Log: Yessongs by Yes

Album: Yessongs
Artist: Yes (duh)
Release Date: 18 May 1973
Date Listened: 29 March 2017
Remarks: This album, along with Relayer which I listened to a few months back, has really reawakened the Yes fan in me. It has been in long hibernation thanks to my going back and listening to the first two albums as well as Tales from Topographic Oceans back to back. If you do this, it's easy to think that Yes was kind of a serendipity found on the chemistry of just a few people and when they left; the band ended. And while that's true to a certain extent, there's evidently still a lot to be mined from their back catalog, not the least of which is this spectacular live collection. Yes never sacrificed an ounce of their studio energy or musicianship on the stage (speaking also from personal experience) and it seems fans got their money's worth!
Stand Out Tracks: All of them... there isn't a stinker in the lot. The only possible exception might be I've Seen All Good People which doesn't translate well to the stage in my opinion.

Listener's Log: Jethro Tull - The String Quartets

Album: The String Quartets
Artist: Ian Anderson (Or is it Tull? Bit confusing that)
Release Date: 24 March 2017
Date Listened: 25 March 2017
Remarks: Aha. The album we've all been waiting for. Actually, I've been waiting for a solid classical interpretation of the works of Tull for quite some time. They've been largely ignored by the likes of 2Cellos and the Vitamin String Quartet and there's only been a smattering of YouTube covers and two albums that left me a bit wanting (A Classic Case and Ian Anderson plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull). I had high expectations for this album. All of what I heard before the release was promising. The string arrangements are fantastic, but the biggest problem is that Anderson isn't willing to step aside. There's quite a few times where he bursts out into song, something I wasn't looking for on an album of instrumentals and on this version of Wond'ring Aloud, he actually strums his guitar. Rather a bit of a downer. The tracks that are best are the ones that feature just strings and flute, and these are really quite enjoyable. My ambition is to use them in a film of some sort.
Stand Out Tracks: In the Past, Sossity Waiting, Bungle, We Used to Bach, Farm,the Fourway, Velvet Gold

Listener's Log: Zeit by Tangerine Dream

Album: Zeit
Artist: Tangerine Dream
Release Date: August 1972
Date Listened: 18 March 2017
Remarks: Tangerine Dream delivers again. This album joins the ranks of the others that I keep on circulation during long drives or quiet evenings. 
Stand Out Tracks: All four suites pretty much equally, though Birth of Liquid Pleiades and the titular track sound clearest in my mind. 

Listener's Log: Fences by Bombadil

Album: Fences
Artist: Bombadil
Release Date: 5 March 2017
Date Listened: 10 March 2017
Remarks: Bombadil's latest release is everything I could want from this current incarnation of the band. It's very unlike previous efforts even though it is not much of a departure melodically. It's a stripped down Folk/Pop record that was captured with analog technology. The sound is driven principally by the acoustic guitar, instead of by the piano, which historically has been Bombadil's lead instrument. This album is a breath of fresh air, but also tied pretty heavily to the past. The band is recovered from Stuart's departure yet fans will still feel his absence. Brian Rahja stands as a grounding presence and Stacy Harden enters as a fresh voice. It seems he'll fit right in. Overall, couldn't be more pleased!
Stand Out Tracks: What's So Great About You, Not Those Kind of People, Binoculars, Math and Love, Perfect, Fence, Good News Sadie, I Could Make You So Happy, Long Life, Is This Danger, No Snow in the Valley

Listener's Log: Prelude by Deodato

Album: Prelude
Artist: Eumir Deodato
Release Date: January 1973
Date Listened: 7 March 2017
Remarks: A solid jazz record! The classical allusions are the most enjoyable. At it's worst, the A side is kind of vanilla in an elevator music-pleasant kind of way.
Stand Out Tracks: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, September 13

Listener's Log: Supernatural Fairy Tales by Art

Album: Supernatural Fairy Tales
Artist: Art (er, Spooky Tooth basically)
Release Date: 1967
Date Listened: 7 March 2017
Remarks: Forgettable. If I heard this, I wouldn't have signed the band. Maybe they were good live? Hopefully this isn't an omen for Spooky Tooth's discography.
Stand Out Tracks: I Think I'm Going Weird, What's That Sound (For What It's Worth) [Not that good, but y'know it's hard to mess this one up], Supernatural Fairy Tale

Listener's Log: Uncle Meat by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Album: Uncle Meat (reissue)
Artist: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
Release Date: April 1969
Date Listened: 2 March 2017
Remarks: Uncle Meat is likely the seminal Zappa album of the Mothers era. The CD version is a little bit overloaded for casual listening, but it's a masterpiece for sure.
Stand Out Tracks: Uncle Meat: Main Title Theme, The Voice of Cheese, Nine Types of Industrial Pollution, Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague, The Legend of the Golden Arches, Sleeping in a Jar, The Uncle Meat Variations, Ian Underwood Whips It Out, The King Kong Suite