My first published work as Turbulator is available on Lost Meat, the 2019 compilation of Frank Zappa covers curated by Andrew Greenaway.
The Lost Meat page on Andrew's Idiot Bastard web site.
You can now hear this track on Spotify.
The theme of the Lost Meat album is compositions that either FZ himself composed and were released on 7", long, long ago, or were released on an album he produced for someone else, or were just never released, period, or compositions that he collaborated on with other artists and that were not released on any of his albums. It includes three of the four tracks co credited to Zappa from L Shankar's album Touch Me There, which he produced for him back in 1979. An arrangement of one of those, No More Mr Nice Girl, is my contribution.
Some may be perplexed by the style, the somewhat gratuitous addition of content and the seeming omission of a violin, when it is primarily an L Shankar composition and he is primarily a violinist of huge merit. But, I intended this arrangement as a hommage to Frank Zappa, while parodying L Shankar, but not in a malicious way - just the opposite. I really like L Shankar's core melodic ideas in this piece. The original is very much slick LA disco style. The core drumming pattern is a very standard disco beat. I had to do something completely different - otherwise I would have had no motivation. Others had done disco versions of various pieces, I thought I'd do the opposite - create an arrangement as though this were a track on We're Only In It For The Money, but parodying disco fiends with a marching band style rather than hippies with various folk styles.
Musique concrète has always interested me as well as creating sampled instruments from otherwise ordinary everyday objects. I don't play the violin and didn't want to go down Dweezil's path of using an effect to make my guitar sound like a violin. So, I sampled some notes on bicycle spokes, played with a violin bow in two different ways and struck with a drum stick and a vibe mallet to create the violin/cello type sounds that you can hear in various places and the stylings of the two guitar solos in the out-chorus are both inspired by Shankar's violin solos in the original.
I had already been very familiar with this piece for a long time and it's a favourite of mine on the Touch Me There album, but when I got down to writing a full transcription it struck me how much space was wafting about in between melodic bursts. Instead of leaving lots of space, I slowed it down a little and then crammed in as much as I could and then added a new section, which I'll call the freak out section. But, aside from the freak out, I didn't just cram in any old thing. Every one of the themes I wrote is a condensed variation of a theme in the original.
The freak out section grew alongside working on the other sections and was very much inspired by being totally immersed in and almost completely consumed by this thing. John Cage was alluded to many times by FZ and it does contain an element of pure randomness. The background to the section, is a recording of a spun bicycle wheel with a piece of cardboard pegged to the fork and its duration is the time from starting the wheel spinning until it came to rest.
There are also a sampled bicycle bell and a glass jar for the rustic tuned percussion. The only standard synthesiser sound I used was the string section at the beginning of the freak out section - everything else is either sampled instruments I created from various familiar objects found in a kitchen or around the house and my voice, or recordings of me playing lead, rhythm and bass guitars, alto and bari saxes, piano and drums or singing. I worked very hard to make my version come out around the same time as the original, which is 8:15 and mine ended up at 8:25.
Another significant inspiration was FZ's love of sea shanties, which I've always been chuffed by, because I loved sea shanties as a kid, for example Drunken Sailor, which we sang in class in primary school. But the sea shanty I had in the back of my mind when arranging this was Pedro The Fisherman, that we performed in the school choir, so don't just think marching style, because the syncopation style is inspired by that piece.