Excerpts from the album. Now available at Experimedia.net. LP version. Previously-unreleased electronic music from original The Mothers Of Invention keyboardist, Don Preston. “We’re coming to the beginning of a new era wherein the development of the inner-self is the most important thing. We have to train ourselves so that we can improvise on anything: a bird, a sock, a fuming beaker. This, too, can be music. Anything can be music.” —Don Preston, extracts from Uncle Meat, 1969, The Mothers Of Invention
One could hardly not see in Don Preston a key musician within Frank Zappa’s oeuvre. He is not only that, but his presence has marked The Mothers’ major records from 1966 to 1974. His touch was already there before the arrival of Ian Underwood, and it continued after Ian left. You all remember “King Kong” (its magnificence as interpreted by Dom DeWild) from the second Uncle Meat suite. A certain form of jubilation emanates from this track, thanks to Preston’s fluid style and lightly astringent tone on the Moog synthesizer — that instrument never sounded quite like that before or after. This might have to do with his double training, his twin interests, since he had been simultaneously working with Gil Evans and listening intensely to Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Tod Dockstader. Immersed in jazz music, he was imagining secret ties with the nascent electronic music. In the mid-’60s, Preston started developing an electronic instrument, using a home-made synthesizer and a series of oscillators and filters. Out of this instrument came “Electronic Music” (1967), his first piece. Two years later, he became a close friend of Robert Moog, and their discussions gave birth to a number of applications in relation with the flexibility of the instrument. Nowadays, you can’t mention the Mini-Moog without thinking of Preston. Bob Moog himself said about his solo in “Waka/Jawaka”: “That’s impossible. You can’t do that on a Moog.” Filters, Oscillators & Envelopes features the other side, the hidden side of Don Preston: the composer of purely electronic music.