The remarkable man who put the avuncular into avant-garde, keyboardist Don Preston remains among the most beloved of the original Mothers Of Invention. Zappaphiles cherish his infamous recitation of Louie Louie on the Albert Hall’s pipe organ, while his scenery-devouring “vile foamy liquids” cameo in the film of 200 Motels is a mentalist masterclass.
Filters, Oscillators & Envelopes consists of material recorded by Preston between 1967 and ’82. The rough and pioneering Electronic Music, recorded at the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village during the Mothers’ 1967 Pigs & Repugnant residency, thrillingly proves that Preston was the band’s very own resident Stockhausen. Its brooding Echoplex spirals, homemade synth fidgets, skeletal fingers of Fender Rhodes and subterranean electro snuffles are manna for retro-futurists. Analog Heaven, from 1975, is a group of seven modular Moog-based pieces which variously call to mind the Mothers’ Nasal Retentive Calliope Music – itself rooted in Edgard Varese and Henri Posseur imperatives – and, frankly, the Ipcress noise. Lastly, Fred & Me (from 1982) is an unsettlingly tense and barely audible 20-minute sepulchre: the kind of thing an estate agent could use to underscore a viewing of Henry’s room in Eraserhead. Dimly-perceived percussive knocks are performed using “14 railroad cleats and 12 leaf springs”.