Exposé Online banner

Frank Zappa — Läther
(Rykodisc RCD 10574/76, 1996, 3CD)

by Rob Walker, Published 1997-02-01

Läther Cover art

At long last, Zappa's late 70s quadruple-album masterpiece has received a well-deserved official release. When Warner Bros. rejected Zappa's attempt to fulfill his remaining contract requirements in one fell swoop with this gigantic package, Frank took the bulk of the material, rearranged it, added a few other pieces, and handed the company the four separate and somewhat stylistically cohesive albums we've come to love as Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, Orchestral Favorites, and Zappa in New York. He then took the Läther tapes to a local radio station, invited listeners to hook up their tape recorders, and gave his fans their first and only "official" bootleg. Those that have tolerated the mediocre sound quality of these radio recordings for the past two decades will be overjoyed with Ryko's CD pressing. Those that have previously been unacquainted with Läther will be amazed anew at not only the breadth of Zappa's musical diversity documented here, but also the contextual freshness these pieces find when restored to their original conceptual framework. The music of Läther expands in all directions to the boundaries of Zappa's vast stylistic universe, encompassing orchestral caricatures, jazz-funk jams, silly cartoonish interludes, intricate instrumentals, and blunt social documentaries. In addition to finding several tracks which never made it onto other albums, listeners will discover other goodies such as the original instrumental versions of several tracks from Sleep Dirt, and different mixes, minus the overdubs, of live tracks which ended up on Zappa in New York. To top it all off, this 3CD set contains four bonus tracks and a lengthy booklet with historical notes and lineup info for each song. A must-have for die-hard fans, and certainly a thorough, though perhaps overwhelming, introduction for novices to Zappa's musical universe.


Filed under: New releases, Reissues, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Terry Bozzio, Chad Wackerman, Frank Zappa, Eddie Jobson, George Duke

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cast - Legacy – For their ninth studio album, Cast present another strong set of tunes in their established mode. While there are strong contributions from all members, the keyboards of Alfonso Vidales are clearly...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues