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Trout Mask Replica

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

1969

Trout Mask Replica

Album Summary

Trout Mask Replica is the third studio album by the American band Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, released as a double album on June 16, 1969, by Straight Records. The music was composed by Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) and arranged by drummer John "Drumbo" French. Combining elements of R&B, garage rock, and blues with free jazz, avant-garde approaches, and other genres of American music,[7] the album is regarded as an important work of experimental music and art rock. The album was produced by Frank Zappa and recorded in March 1969 at Whitney Studios in Glendale, California, following eight months of intense rehearsals at a small rented communal house in Los Angeles. The lineup of the Magic Band at this time consisted of Bill "Zoot Horn Rollo" Harkleroad and Jeff "Antennae Jimmy Semens" Cotton on guitar, Mark "Rockette Morton" Boston on bass guitar, Victor "The Mascara Snake" Hayden on bass clarinet, and John "Drumbo" French on drums and percussion. Beefheart played several brass and woodwind instruments, including saxophone, musette, and natural horn, and contributed most of the vocal parts, while Zappa and members of the band provided occasional vocals and narration. The well-rehearsed Magic Band recorded all instrumental tracks[a 1] for the album in a single six-hour recording session; Beefheart's vocal and horn tracks were laid down over the next few days. Trout Mask Replica sold poorly upon its initial release in the United States, where it failed to appear in any charts. It was more successful in the United Kingdom, where it spent a week at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart. In recent years, however, Trout Mask Replica has been widely regarded as the masterpiece of Beefheart's musical career, as well as an important influence on many subsequent artists. Its highly unconventional musical style, which includes polyrhythm, multi-octave vocals, and polytonality, continues to polarize audiences and has given the album a reputation as one of the most challenging recordings in the 20th century musical canon. It was ranked number 60 on Rolling Stone's 2012 edition of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, and has appeared on the "best of" lists of many other publications.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.15

Votes

4491

Genres

  • Rock
  • Blues
Reviews
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View Author
Tue Aug 23 2022
3

This is not a bad album. On a technical level, what they are doing takes immense amount of skill and you can tell that all musicians involved are virtuosos in their own right. On the question of how enjoyable it is, it is unbridled creativity, a storm of brutal sound that can also be quite intriguing at times, like an LSD-infused dadaist poetry slam. But I won't be listening to it regularly, I imagine. It is TOUGH to get through. The best use for this album is as a palate-cleanser. It doesn't matter what you were listening to before, Napalm Death or Mariah Carey, Iron Maiden or Stevie Wonder - by the end of this album, your brain will have thoroughly reset and by any chance, you won't even remember how you got here. But it's going to be an uncomfortable 80 minutes until then.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
1

I understand this album is incredibly complex, creative, and original. I also find listening to this type of polytonal, polyrhythmic music to be a chore. Because certain arrangements are possible does not mean they'll sound good. I'll let music scholars sing the praises of this album; it sounded horrible to me.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
2

Word is that you have to listen to this double album six times before it doesn't sound terrible. While I can appreciate the creativity and difficulty in producing this unique work, it might take a while for me to appreciate it. Trout Mask Replica was added to the United States National Recording Registry for the year 2010 by the Library of Congress. Wow. I may have to check back with an update at a later date.

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Thu Sep 29 2022
2

Uh, what was that?

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Fri Nov 25 2022
1

Wtf

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Mon Sep 26 2022
4

This album is a lot of fun, chaotic and pretty all over the place. Captain Beefheart's sound is truly unique and he is truly an artist. This album is a trip to listen to.

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Wed Dec 14 2022
4

Captain Beefheart you son of a gun. You owe me a go on your sister's tits. She disappeared down a drain pipe on a dark night last spring. She broke my heart, she broke my mind, she broke my penis and I cried. Shelly Beefheart, my love, my muse, my everything.

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Fri Dec 30 2022
3

What if every song on an album was a mandatory overtime style jam? Well here you are. This sounds like the musical equivalent of experiencing schizophrenia. You can hear the influence it had on later Tom Waits albums, and I have respect for the insane bravery of this chaotic experiment, but definitely not something I'd listen to for enjoyment. I prefer his somewhat more tuneful output that followed.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
2

I used to hate this for how "quirky" it was. It's like a hipsters staple album to brag about cause it's so "unconventional". Honestly, it's not that bad, it's just not really my thing.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
1

There's not a single moment on this bloated mess that's enjoyable in any way. Weird for the sake of being weird. At last Zappa's shit jams. Also, that's a catfish. Best track: N/A

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Wed Oct 05 2022
1

It was always beyond me, back in the day, how on earth this cacophonous discord was ever a rated album & it still is. The only difference is that I can no longer be bothered to wonder why.

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Wed Nov 02 2022
1

They made this...on purpose? "Avant garde" will always sound like a cover for making noise that's indistinguishable from someone with no talent discovering an instrument. And why must these albums be so long? Scary that I can see where some other albums got inspiration from this like Tom Waits and the Minutemen. So a star because I'm learning and piecing together some music history. Otherwise, yikes.

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Mon Dec 12 2022
1

Remember that scene from A Clockwork Orange when that dude in a wheelchair locks Malcolm McDowell in an upstairs room and plays Beethoven loudly, knowing it'll drive him insane? And it causes McDowell's character Alex such sickening pain that he throws himself out of the window? That's what this album made do, and I'm still in sickening pain as I write this. Apparently the dude who created The Simpsons of all people claims you have to listen to this album a whopping SEVEN times before you realize it's brilliant. I don't have that many windows I'm willing to jump out of to confirm whether or not he's correct.

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Mon Jan 02 2023
1

You could give this a 5 for the sheer brass balls of releasing this on the public, but, really, it gets a 1 for being shit.

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Fri Dec 30 2022
5

The album is a fucking trip. It encourages me to be freer with my own creativity, because there are things on here that just seem like silly-ass outtakes - then the next song slaps you in the face with the ripping guitars and forceful vocals. It defies category and stands out.

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Sun Sep 04 2022
4

Always meant to get around this this one and was surprised to not hate it or find it that much of a challenge---must have heard enough music inspired by it over the years that it doesn't seem that crazy. I really like Double Nickels on the Dime by Minutemen and today realized that Trout Mask Replica was likely a huge influence.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
4

I totally dug that offbeat album. It’s obvious to see the influence it had on Tom Waits and I look forward to giving it another listen.

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Fri Oct 14 2022
4

very odd eclectic, interesting sound. Would like to listen more, overall enjoyed.

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Fri Oct 14 2022
4

Chaotic, Abstract, Experimental Noisy, Complex, Complicated

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Sun Oct 16 2022
4

It's such a wacky, sometimes wonderful album. Unfortunately it also can be a chore to get through with its ridiculous length. It's best in small doses rather than one sit down session. This album is perfect for this list, this is really something people should hear, if only once. Much appreciation for the influence on artists like Tom Waits and Ween.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

Fascinating

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Mon Nov 07 2022
4

I think this undistilled, straight Captain Beefheart is a little too much for me. I really love a lot of what came from this like Swordfishtrombones or Double Nickels on the Dime. I like the collaborations with Zappa too, Bongo Fury is one of my faves. This is one of those albums that I appreciate more than I actually like it. I'm glad it exists and it has its place but I'll probably never listen to it again voluntarily. I think it's important enough to give it four stars but I can't bring myself to give it five.

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Sun Jan 01 2023
4

Fast and bulbous. Also, tapered.

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Sun Jan 01 2023
4

In my 20s I owned this on cassette of all things, and listened to it many times, though not for years since, up to now. Is it genius? Reading for the first time about Van Vliet’s abuse of his compatriots throughout its creation, my tolerance is somewhat diminished. It’s genuinely funny and interesting, certainly unique and influential. Is this enough to carry the aggressive weirdness through? I conclude yes, and though I find the tales of the Captain’s cultish and violent dominance of his band abhorrent (and anyone theorizing it was necessary to generate this can go pound sand), it’s still one of the greats.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
4

The daring work of expert musicians. I admire just how difficult this record must have been to write and record. So I admire Trout Mask Replica and it was fun in a quirky mayhem sort of way for a few songs. But once again I have had difficult making it all the way through the album - started to feel like a chore. It does bring a new appreciation for how Tom Waits and others inspired by the record have been able to capture its wit and spirit and tone down the sense of assault. File this one away with Throbbing Gristle "Second Annual Report": very glad it was made, respect the hell out of the musicians, but for the sake of my sanity it will not often see my (figurative) turntable.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
4

In het begin dat ik wat een kakalbum, maar halverwege is het beginnen klikken. Wel heb ik het gevoel dat je een paar keer moet luisteren om deze ten volle te waarderen, ik ga in de toekomst dus zeker nog eens luisteren. Ik was niet verrast toen ik zag dat de man met Zappa bevriend was

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Thu Sep 15 2022
3

The strangest album so far.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
3

A little bit of nonsene is OK. I like the album cover.

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Sun Oct 30 2022
3

Produced by Frank Zappa. Yes, it does have a Zappa-vibe to it for sure. Still getting aquatinted with it. It does get better with time…. 3/5

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Tue Nov 15 2022
3

The music is as weird as the cover. It actually was quite interesting for a while, it took until half way through the 28 tracks before I lost interest. Surreal mixture of Jazz, with some blues structure at times and left field lyrics. I am unlikely to ever listen to this again, but it certainly was an experience and that justifies it being on this list.

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Sun Nov 27 2022
3

This is a grower. I really like the wacky vibe, the surreal lyrics, and of course the atonal jazz fusion instrumental. It's chaotic but simple, and I'm actually not a big fan of that. I like the distorted bluesy guitar sound mixed with the free ranging sax, but there are only a few tracks where it actually sounds incredible. On the plus side, nearly every song offers something unique and weird. But for most of the disordered mess, I often can't see much value. Maybe there is hidden under multiple focused listens, but most tracks seem to provide nothing exciting. Just something to say "huh that's a bit strange," sometimes you hear the same thing in other tracks and you swear it loses its novelty. I really did not like the spoken word tracks, but it did place me in an atmosphere I'd like to revisit while high. That being said, the opener and closer are by far the best tracks on the album, groovy and structured yet unsettling and unpredictable. Favorites: Frownland, Ella Guru, Moonlight on Vermont, Bill's Corpse, My Human Gets Me Blues, Sugar 'n Spikes, Veteran's Day Poppy

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Sun Dec 04 2022
3

Unrateable

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Thu Dec 08 2022
3

I know that this is an important and influential album and should definitely be included on this list; everyone should endure the experience at least once (like the album Free Jazz or The Shape of Jazz to Come). It's a creative and artistic expression, but just not one I like in the least. Its so fucking long and unless I knew the history that apparently these were extremely practiced songs, it sounds like someone gave instruments to complete novices, told them to play, and pressed record.

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Sun Dec 18 2022
3

Blues... Justo blues A lot of inprovisation

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Fri Dec 23 2022
3

Hard to listen to, but not impossible, and once you open your mind to what's going on, there's plenty to get from this album. It set a bar for how we gauge outsider music in the rock era and you can hear this album in all kinds of things that want to diverge from the usual.

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View Author
Fri Dec 30 2022
3

Notoriously difficult listen, it's definitely interesting and it's obvious the influences it has had on musicians like Tom Waits. In terms of a casual listen though, it is not exactly a pleasant experience. I could see getting addicted to the chaos though with repeat listens.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
3

This is a really tough one to rate, first half of the album I was wondering if I could listen to all of it, by the end I was kind of embracing its madness and enjoying what rhythmic music there was to enjoy - that said I do feel the second was more “musical” than the first. Was going to give a 2 but as I will defo listen again, purely out of curiosity, have gone one higher

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Fri Jan 06 2023
3

This is a difficult listen to be sure, but it's got some slappers in the mix there. Fast n bulbous.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
3

Het is wat wennen aan het genre. Het ligt me niet helemaal maar ik ben wel mee in de creativiteit

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Mon Jan 16 2023
3

So hard to listen to. Unbelievable story about the recording.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
2

I bet this was an influence on Victim's Family.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
2

Als je hem aanzet en iets gaat doen is het alleen maar soms heel kut, meestal best oké en heel soms best vet

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Thu Aug 25 2022
2

Eerste 5 nummers: Alsof iemand een muziekwinkel van de trap gooit Moonlight on Vermont best leuk Klinkt een beetje als pre-alpha-Zappa geen fan, maar ook niet heel erg om het een keer gehoord te hebben

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Sun Aug 28 2022
2

I feel like it’s actually brave to sound good?

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Mon Aug 29 2022
2

Mayhem.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
2

If you like avant garde music this is for you, for the the rest, no.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
2

This is a pure chaotic mess yet it’s weirdly fun and hard to stop listening. I probably won’t come back to it but I definitely had fun while it was on!

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Thu Oct 06 2022
2

Wow, that was...interesting. I was working while listening to this, not recommended.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
2

Going to be honest here, this is a discount version of Frank Zappa and not nearly as smart, artistic or funny.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
2

It's tough to get through it because it's just so random.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
2

Nah. Sometimes it taps into an inexplicably satisfying and deeply hidden groove - but beyond this it's annoying and contrived weirdness

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Wed Oct 19 2022
2

An extra star for originality but it isn't pleasant on the ears. Basically took all the criteria on how to make a song, teared it up and made their own rules, which is commendable but personally don't like the end product.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
2

Reminds me of Frank Zappa, and I dislike it for the same reasons I dislike Frank Zappa. It’s like if you do something random and bizarre enough, but do it confidently, people will think you’re a genius. But in reality it’s just random, bizarre crap. Yes, there are flashes of interesting musical bits in here, but overall it’s a big thumbs down for me. 2 stars.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
2

At the beginning thought people were living in different time zones our jamming over zoom with a lot of lag but later on some bits actually sounded sort of okay

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Wed Nov 09 2022
2

Dit voelt echt als een taak om naar te luisteren. Het is zoveel zowel in aantal als gewoon in geluid. Geef me wat rust jong.

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Wed Nov 09 2022
2

op zen willy organs: doe toch normaal man

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Thu Nov 10 2022
2

This album is literally too much by all means. It sounds like every single member of the band is doing a different song. I got really confused by all the sounds and couldn't really focus. But I think it's essential for this album and if it was the effect they were going for, then they achieved it. Although, listening to this for more than an hour is truly tiring. I think the music is great, the guitars do a really good job of shaping the sound of the album. The thing I found the hardest to assimilate is the weird vocals, which just drive me crazy. The artist really went for oddity and strangeness all the way and did a good job sticking to that theme. I strongly believe this album has its own loyal followers. This type of music is not for everyone, and not for me either, at least not every day or I'll go crazy. Sometimes I found the music just unlistenable. Favourite track: "The Blimp (Mousetrapreplica)", least favourite track: too many

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Fri Nov 11 2022
2

What the fuck was dit

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Thu Nov 17 2022
2

I can think of 4 other Beefheart records I’d rather listen to than this one.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
2

I know the good captain was a friend of Frank Zappa, and Zappa's influence on this is unmistakable, but Beefheart was no Zappa. I can listen to something like Sheik Yerbouti over and over, but not this one. That said, I understand its place on the list.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
2

Rock experimental. Bastante inaguantable. Un 2.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
2

An important Record. Certainly Revolutionary for some. Captain Beefheart is the Lewis Carroll of rock. But for me at this time in my life it's a bit extra in a way that I'm less interested in now than I was in my more avant garde hungry days. The rest of this review will now be written in how the music feels: Skronkly and woggly time and word a disheveled stumble bumble of nonsense no sense make sense fake sense in this wild life — needle notes and conscripted toots. Stop. Go! Time to be brave! Hit record. Drive a ford across a fjord. Clever boi.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
2

I'm happy for the people that get this, but I am not one of them.

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Tue Dec 13 2022
2

goofy ahh

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Wed Dec 14 2022
2

A shitshow, but an authentic shitshow. Without question essential listening.

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Wed Dec 14 2022
2

Trout Mask

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Wed Dec 14 2022
2

i have a t shirt for Neon Meate Dream of an Octafish which was sent by mistake when buying an alan partridge shirt and they said keep it. presumably they knew not really anyone would want it as there can't be that many people in to this brand of madness. i wear that t shirt because i listened to the album and decided that wearing a t shirt for an insane song on an album you don't listen to that gets you absolutely no kudos points or recognition from anyone you will meet wearing the shirt is the type of surreal shit captain beefheart would do. i get why they would put trout mask replica on the list but it is incredibly hard work even for someone who knows captain beefheart and has seen the magic band play (once the captain had popped his clogs). he does have some albums that are listenable, i quite like ice cream for crow but this album is so far into the realms of art/jazz that it flies over my head. i would probably understand it better if i was wearing a black turtle neck and a beret.

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Fri Dec 23 2022
2

Lijkt wel een trollband, wat een herrie

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Wed Dec 28 2022
2

Alkaa hyvin ja toimii muutenkin paikoitellen (eli sisältää myös kappaleita eikä ainoastaan äkkiväärää jammailua), mutta lopulta äkkiväärä jammailu alkaa tuntua levyn itseisarvolta - mitä sen EI ole tarkoitus olla (väitän). En myöskään usko, että kukaan olisi ikinä kuunnellut tätä loppuun.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
2

Kantensa kuuloinen levy. Jotenkin viehättää laulutyyli ja meininki. Mutta onhan tää ihan liian raskasta kuultavaa.

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Sun Feb 05 2023
2

Way too deep for me - I may try to listen to it a few times to see if it grows on me, but I doubt that my rating will change...

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Tue Aug 23 2022
1

That was rough.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
1

Nope. Definitely too much acid for these guys. There's a reason I've never heard of this.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
1

I don't like this style, sorry.

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Fri Aug 26 2022
1

It's like you got a abstract jazz band, put them in the same room as blues band and told them to play different songs at the same time. I see moments of potential but it is a little too all over the place for me to enjoy this.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
1

What the the fuck is this shit? Made a bad mood a million times worse.

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Sun Sep 04 2022
1

Is this art?

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Fri Sep 16 2022
1

TRASH. 0/5

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Tue Sep 20 2022
1

weird collection of what feels like free-form, somewhat spoken-word, often oddly specific-to-topic and political

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Wed Oct 12 2022
1

I feel as though there must have been at least one CIA officer in the early 2000s whose father was with the CIA back in the day and worked on MKUltra. Perhaps they got a little too involved and got high on their own supply. Anyways, they obviously told stories to their child about their crazy life back in the day, and they once mentioned that even at their highest they couldn't get into Trout Mask Replica as it was just "too fucking weird, man". Their child would file this info away and go about life. Until one day they found themselves in Guantanamo Bay looking for a way to break the prisoners will to live. And that is how this album came to be played on repeat at a small military outpost on the island of Cuba.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
1

Magical

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Thu Oct 13 2022
1

This album is going to be work. I hear Tom Waits in here. And there is no groove. its less songs and more every instrument floats in its own space and they sort of flex in and out of time with each other. It's anti-harmony. Wow Captain Beefheart was a terrible human. God this album is grating. She's Too Much For My Mirror is almost a song? There are several almost conventional songs but holy hannah is this an exercise in patience. The best part is when it ends.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
1

Pena was the moment when I finally knocked this turkey on the head. Fucking hate the cover too. Load of shite.

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Fri Nov 04 2022
1

I get that this is influential for like...Primus...and various other weird bands I love. But IMO pretty nearly unlistenable.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
1

I get why it’s long and dissonant and difficult, and I liked some parts of it, but overall this is a no for me.

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Wed Nov 09 2022
1

I knew exactly what this album was going to be after the first 20 seconds. The only nice thing I'll say about this record is that I love the cover. This album blows. Too much ridiculous guitar work, singing, and just general nonsense. Way too fucking long. Awful but not as bad as throbbing gristle. Booooo 0/10

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Fri Nov 11 2022
1

Horrendous.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
1

Bij liedje 4 dacht ik dat ik bij een uitvoering van The Muppets te zijn aangekomen.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
1

Serieus? Dit is iets wat als een briljant album wordt gezien? Geen touw aan vast te knopen, volledig a-ritmische nummers en eigenlijk niet om aan te horen.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
1

Doorgaans ben ik een liefhebber van een zekere mate van 'gekte' in muziek, maar dit gaat alle perken te buiten.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
1

Not a fan of this kind of “art.” I listened to the whole album, and there’s not enough acid in the world that would make me enjoy this.

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Sun Nov 20 2022
1

Nice! That's the most original album on the list so far, together with Miles Davis "Bitches Brew". Completely chaotic record, or at least posing as one. As with every avant-garde album, it's extremely hard to get into it, although in this case it's experimental rock, so it's a little bit easier to understand where is it coming from. Just listen to all the popular releases from sixties, then write down all the sounds, notes and melodies that you haven't heard, compile it into an album and et voila! We have a "Trout Mask Replica". Worth noting, that half the album is filled with Captain Beefhearts blues-like stories, basically a spoken-word at times. I have listened to the album twice since yesterday, but I would have to listen to it twenty more times before I could get anything meaningful from it. Well, I probably will try, over the course of years, but as of today, the album was a hot piece of garbage.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
1

There was not a thing I liked about this album.

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Thu Nov 24 2022
1

Vitun sekavaa, ei jaxa

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Mon Nov 28 2022
1

Ok, I am struggling here. I just finished John Coltrane's album and thought I didn't get that. No, I get THAT album now...but this? No. It's like the worst elements of Frank Zappa and Tom Waits and none of the good stuff. I am only five tracks in and really having a hard time with it. And a track named Dachau? A little unappealing without the brilliance to back up doing such a thing. This is just not for me. I tried. Honest.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
1

I can see what they’re going for… but it’s not fun to listen to at all

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Wed Dec 14 2022
1

This is like if Picasso was a musician instead of a painter. I couldn't finish the album.

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Mon Dec 19 2022
1

Sounded like the band talking to themselves, no communication to the audience. Worse than white noise

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Fri Dec 23 2022
1

Sounds like a weird art school project that wouldn't even get a good grade. Not music. Awful.

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Fri Dec 23 2022
1

Not really.

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