5 LANE KEYS: MrBurpler
One of the very few heartfelt (as opposed to mocking) sentimental songs in Frank Zappa's repertoire, "Village of the Sun" preserves places and names from his teenage years. Near Palmdale, CA, Sun Village is (was?) a small place near the desert -- that's why the wind can "take the paint off your car/And wreck your windshield too": it carries tons of sand. Its medium tempo, catchy melody, harmless subject, and straightforward format would have made it a perfect hit single, but it was not released that way -- a shame.
"Echidna's Arf (Of You)," along with "The Black Page, No. 1" and "Inca Roads," is one of the best pieces from Frank Zappa's "complex music" period (1973-1976). This instrumental piece was only performed with the 1973-1974 band as part of a sequence made of "Village of the Sun," "Echidna's Arf (Of You)," and "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing." The piece calls for complex melodic lines, frequent changes in time signatures and tempos, and fast-paced action involving all musicians, often playing in unison. Yet, the whole thing adapts to an approximate 4/4 frame, making it easier to digest than the next piece in the sequence.
Unlike "Echidna's Arf (Of You)," which among all the complex madness follows a roughly straightforward 4/4 rhythm, this piece is filled with stop-and-go nonsense and ever-shifting tempos and time signatures. The main portion of the piece, the theme-and-variations section, lasts about four minutes. It closes with a blistering drum solo followed by a funky guitar solo.