Online and wondering about something while theoretically trying to do something else, I came across the liner notes to a cassette that Frank Zappa released in 1987 as a give-away with an issue of Guitar World.

They contained a very succinct definition of xenochrony. I had tried unsuccessfully to remember that word two or three weeks ago. Now I have found it again through a suitably random process, while not even looking for it.

This is one of the earliest examples of a technique I developed called Xenochrony (strange synchronizations). Other examples include “Rubber Shirt” on Sheik Yerbouti and every guitar solo on Joe’s Garage except “Watermelon In Easter Hay”. In this technique various tracks from unrelated sources are randomly synchronized with each other to make a final composition with rhythmic relationships unachievable by other means. In ordinary polyrhythmic terms we speak of 5 in the space of 4, or 7 in the space of 6. In Xenochrony we deal with larger units of time; a complete solo at one metronomic rate in the space of a track at another … sort of like Monday and Tuesday crammed into the space of Wednesday. The solo and drone bass was recorded on a 2-track Nagra, 15 ips, with a pair of Neumann U-87 microphones in a rather wet-sounding dressing room, warming up before a concert at Hofstra University on Long Island. This pair of tracks was later Xenochronized to a drum track out-take from “The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution”. The introductory orchestration was added next, and then the Hofner bass (recorded at half-speed), rhythmically splitting the difference between the two different track tempos.

These notes relate to the track Friendly Little Finger, originally released on the album Zoot Allures.

Posted on June 23, 2018