|FORGET MATRIX NUMBERS
||Yes, some "1995
CD" runs used the Au20 remaster, and the Zappa Patio tried to offer
advise on how to tell the old from the new by looking at - not
listening to - the discs.
The advice focused on "matrix numbers", the little
numbers around the rim of the hole in the disc (so known since the LP
But soon, people started mailing in exceptions to
every rule about these matrix numbers. It has now reached a point where
the only method we can recommend is listening to the discs, and so we
have removed all references to matrix numbers from the page.
the quad version
by the Duke of Prunes
(Below) Russian LP with Over-Nite
Sensation cover. Black back cover with track list & credits in
Russian & English.
What to Get: The 2012 CD
should suit most people.
Summary: There are three basic versions of
1) the original mix used on the original LP
2) a Quadraphonic version used on the Quadraphonic vinyl and tape
formats in the 1970s
3) a stereo reduction made from the above.
The original LP mix is used on the Au20 CD, some
copies of the 1995 Rykodisc CD, and the 2012 UMe reissue. The "stereo
reduction" is on all other CDs, while the original Quad mix has not, as
of 2012, been reissued in any form.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Tricky. Something
with the CD
remix (old CD, or original pressing of the 1995 CD),
plus something with the vinyl mix (the 2012 CD, an LP, an Au20 CD, or an
old-mix pressing of 1995 CD). However, the CD
remix comes in three distinct flavors; really crazy
completists may need more than one. If you're an
ultra-completist, you'll dream about a quadraphonic
(rare). [completist's guide]
Issues (by release)
- Original vinyl (DiscReet
DS2175 in the US (not MS2175?), DS2175 in Canada, K 59201 in the UK,
April 22 1974) - originally planned with a different cover,
which was never released
- Cassettes (DiscReet CDX-2175 in the
US; DiscReet M 5-D 2175 somewhere)
- 8-track (Warner/DiscReet no-cover-art issue)
- Quadraphonic vinyl (Warner Bros /
DiscReet DS4-2175 (CD4 format), 1974)
- Quadraphonic tape (DiscReet DIS
L9D-2175 (Q8 format))
- Quadraphonic reel-to-reel tape (?)
- French & German vinyl (DiscReet 59201 (?))
- Italian vinyls
(Discreet K 59201, 1974, & W 59201, 1975?)
- Spanish vinyl (Reprise HRES 291-61, 1974, distributed by
Hispavox; square Reprise logo on back cover)
- German vinyl (WEA DiscReet 59201-Z)
- Dutch vinyl (DiscReet DIS 59 201
Y, matrix number 31690)
- Swedish vinyl? (DiscReet DS
- Japanese vinyl (DiscReet
P-8467D, white-label promo also reported)
- Greek vinyl (Warner Brothers Greek label 59201, 1974)
- Russian vinyl (30271?)
- Russian vinyl with Over-Nite Sensation cover
(n93-00700 ATR 30272, early '90s)
- Taiwanese vinyl (possibly
unauthorised, with Chinese print on the back cover and labels)
- Argentine vinyl (MusicHall 50-14.113 - Warner Brothers WB
14113 white-label promos also issued)
- Uruguayan vinyl (Cave label (Warner Brothers WB 113035 also
- Brazilian vinyl
- Australian vinyl (DiscReet DS 2175, 1974)
- New Zealand vinyl (DiscReet RS 2175, 1974, black &
white back cover)
- US vinyl re-issue (DiscReet DSK 2289 (?), 1977, brown
- The Old Masters vinyl
(Barking Pumpkin BPR 9999-4, December 1987) (uses the remix?)
- Original CD, coupled with Over-Nite Sensation (Ryko RCD40025 in the US, September 1986; Zappa Records CDZAP18 in the UK, March
1990; VACK 5034 in Japan; Ryko D31036 in Australia, 1990; JPCD 9707412
DORA in Russia.) (uses the remix)
- Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA18) (uses the remix)
- Minidisc, coupled with Over-Nite Sensation (Ryko
RMD40025) (uses the remix)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10519, April 18
1995; VACK 5108 in Japan,
renumbered 5243 in 1998; also in a BMG
Record Club version (1086362))
- 1995 cassette (Ryko RAC 10519, April 18 1995; also in a BMG Record Club version (1086362)) (uses
- Audiophile Au20 gold CD (Ryko RCD
80519, July 2 1996; VACK 5285 in Japan)
- "1998 CD" (Ryko RCD 10519, 1998?)
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD
(Ryko/VACK 1218, October 24 2001 - lyric sheet insert) (uses the remix)
- 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3851
August 28, 2012)
Issues (by version)
- Original Vinyl Mix: All LP versions, except
(perhaps...we're not sure) for the Old Masters LP. All cassettes prior
to TZappa18. Ryko Au20 CD, and mispressed versions of the Ryko 1995 CD.
- Quadraphonic mix: Quadraphonic Tape and LP.
- Remix derived from Quadraphonic mix: Old Masters LP
(maybe...can someone confirm?), Ryko two-fer CD, Zappa Records two-fer
CD, and Ryko 1995 CD; also, all cassettes since TZappa18.
And on the weird side, parts of this album seem to have been
issued in Poland as a set
of flexi-disc postcards.
DIFFERENT FROM: the original CD and
most runs of the 1995 CD
IDENTICAL TO: the Au20 gold CD and specific runs
of the 1995
CD ("1998 CD")
From Anzoh Hay:
Only this evening, after owning Apostrophe (') for
21 years, I discovered that on the label of the record it's spelled "A'POS!
TRO'PHE(!)". On the Ryko '95 reissue it's
not there anymore.
(Also, the "Produced, arranged and struggled with" credit from
the vinyl is only in the booklet of the 1995 CD
package, not on the back cover which only has "Produced". The vinyl,
however, does of course not have the credit "Credit, humorous, circa
1974" which was added for the Old Masters re-release and kept
From Juha Sarkkinen:
Some of the original US LPs included a biography as an
VADIM RYBAKOV: I have A'pos! tro'phe(!)'s
first USA edition with DiscReet numbers, but Reprise label. The number
label and on the sleeve cover is DSK (2234? - maybe I'm wrong, because
the record with me today), but around the label there is an MS2175
it is striked out. A DSK number is around the label too.
MIKAEL AGARDSSON: According to Torchum #4, there are Brazilian,
Spanish, New Zealandic and Sweden issues with the Reprise label, but it
doesn't mention an American issue with Reprise label. Personally, I
think it's a re-issue, not an original.
GOOD KING ZOG: Both Apostrophe (') & Overnite
Sensation were re-issued in 1977 on the brown-coloured Reprise
label. I have
the re-issue of Overnite Sensation,
is the same as the original pressing in all respects, except for the
label & different catalogue number of DSK 2288. I don't have the
article (where these are mentioned) handy, but you'd think that Apostrophe
(') bore the catalogue of DSK 2289 (?) ...
(The front cover started out slightly different, but that
version wasn't released. Read all about it in
There are at least two different vinyl issues of Apostrophe
1) Discreet K 59201, 1974: The label is headlined
"A'POS ! TRO'PHE (!)" and has "MADE IN ITALY BY DISCHI RICORDI S.p.A."
The stamped matrix number has (beside the catalogue number) "28/2/74".
The back cover has "DISTRIBUZIONE DISCHI RICORDI S.p.A. MADE IN ITALY".
Lyric sheet included.
2) Discreet W 59201, 1974 (1975 ?): The label is
headlined "APOSTROPHE'" and has "MADE IN ITALY BY WEA ITALIANA". The
stamped matrix number has (beside the catalogue number) "12/7/75". The
back cover has "Made and distributed in Italy by Wea Italiana S.p.A.
Milano". The cover is printed by La Grafica Cremonese, Italy. There is
no lyric sheet included (with my copy, but I bought it used).
The labels of both issues say (P) 1974, but I think that the
matrix number "rules".
From Harry de Swart:
My LPs of Apostrophe (') and The
Grand Wazoo have a German sleeve (made in Germany by Kinney
Music), but have a Dutch label (made in Holland by NV
Negram-Haarlem), and that's the way I bought them.
From Peter Íberg:
I have an odd vinyl issue of Apostrophe ('), with a
brown Reprise label and lyrics on the inner sleeve. The cover says
"manufactured in US. DS 2175" but also "SIB tryck Tumba", so at least
the cover is printed in Sweden. But the weird thing is that this Apostrophe
(') has a Reprise label - all other editions I've seen
have the yellow DiscReet label. So this was on DiscReet but probably
distributed by Reprise.
From Mikael Agardsson:
The special thing about this issue is the lyric sheet, which
is unique. OK, mine is a promo edition, but the regular version would
have to have the lyric sheet too? All the illustrations were made by
This lyric sheet is shock-full of really weird illustrations.
Each song is illustrated
with a big drawing or in comic-strip form.
From Graham Halliday:
It has a paper & plastic cover, colour front, black
& white back, no
spine, blue & silver label credited to FRAN ZAPPA [sic], the sound
is great, about the same as the original, I have the I think
one. It also has no mention of DiscReet except the carvings of
where it is exactly hte same just with the new # on it, so it appears
to be the
exact same pressing, it does skip a bit every once in a while, slightly
also about 1 cm smaller the normal one.
Also, the front cover is slightly different - the picture is
in" a little bit more.
From Michael J Popil:
[DiscReet CDX-2175] Pu***ased in Vancouver
approximately 1980 ... The cassette version has no guitar solo
in "Stinkfoot". Sides 1 and 2 follow album sequence.
Quadraphonic sound was a four-channel sound system which never
caught on and was soon
abandoned. As of July 2000, we have a great article by the Duke of Prunes on the quad
versions of both Apostrophe (') and
Over-Nite Sensation which
most of the question marks around. For a brief summary, the Duke says
- there are no substantive musical differences between the
quad version and the 1995 CD, but
- the vinyl and Au20/1998 CDs have a different edit, which
could be called substantively different (the Duke is just being
- the 1995 CD is probably a stereo mixdown of the quad
- Zappa used quad sparingly to subtle effect, except in a few
obvious places; and
- the mixes are definitely true quad mixes. [full article - recommended reading!]
And from Daevid:
I had 8-tracks of both [albums]. Listening to the rear
channels only, you could hear some of the music, but mostly backing
vocals isolated to one or two singers. I guess those were the Ikettes.
I couldn't hear rear vocals on the front channels. So, rather than
saying the rear channels were ambience only, I say they held a lot of
unique pieces of the music.
Remix (derived from the Quadraphonic mix)
Since at least the Rykodisc two-fer reissue in 1986,
the primary version of Apostrophe on CD has been a remix,
likely derived from the quadraphonic mix. This remix has shown up on three
different CDs (and maybe the Old Masters vinyl), as well as on
associated cassettes. While originally thought to be an easy,
cut-and-dried case, it turns out that all three versions of the
remix sound very different.
First, the major differences of the remix:
- In general, the CD mix has an "airier" feel … Zappa's
vocals have some reverb on them. This can be heard in "Cosmik Debris",
"Nanook Rubs It", and a few other places. [Edit: This reverb varies
depending on the release]
- As stated elsewhere, there is an extra measure in the CD
mix of "Yellow Snow" … 'sides that, the mixes on that and "Nanook
Rubs It" seem to be quite similar.
- Also as stated elsewhere, "Excentrifugal Forz" is mixed a
bit differently on the CD. This is most obvious during the instrumental
introduction, which features a less prominent violin and a more
prominent guitar melody.
- "Uncle Remus" is mixed very oddly on the LP. The remix
spaces the elements out a bit, and also snips a portion out of the
ending guitar solo.
Biffy the Elephant Shrew discusses "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"
... in "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", Zappa sings "Dreamed I
was an Eskimo", then there is one measure (in 7/8 time) of guitar
spewage, followed by the two-bar instrumental riff alone, followed by a
repeat of the riff with the "doop-doop-do-do-do" vocal over it, then
the next lyric line. The stereo LP (and
the gold CD, which uses the original LP master) does not include the
instrumental riff between the spewage and the "doop-doop" (so it's
actually two bars we're talking about, unless you count the song in
[Those extra bars in "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" appeared as
early as on the
4-channel Quadraphonic version in the 1970s.]
The last lyric line [in "Uncle Remus"] ("Down in de dew")
occurs in bar 46. On the original version on the Apostrophe (')
LP, Zappa solos for approximately 11 further bars ("approximately"
because it fades out in the middle of a bar). The version on both the
Ryko twofer CD and the 1995 reissue CD deletes
bars 49 and 50 and also segues into "Stinkfoot" more quickly
Three different CDs utilize this mix: the original Ryko
two-fer CD, the Zappa Records 1990 two-fer CD, and the Ryko 1995
reissue CD. All have slightly different variations on the remix, and
sound quite different. Details are given below.
[For those who are audiologically inclined,
quick MP3 sample of three
different versions of the remix. The first clip is the Ryko two-fer,
the second is the Zappa Records two-fer, and the third is the standard
The original Rykodisc CD version of Apostrophe ('),
released in the US in 1986, was coupled with Over-Nite Sensation - two albums
on one CD. This was the remixed version of Apostrophe
('). Some artwork from the vinyl was apparently also missing, but
this was restored on the 1995 re-issue.
As with the other 1986 Rykodisc Zappa releases, Apostrophe
(')/Over-Nite Sensation was mastered very quietly, and takes
advantage of about half of the possible dynamic range. James Lee
Is it just me or is the sound quality of the Apostrophe
(') / Over-Nite Sensation
disc substandard? Is is just because it is mastered at a lower volume
than other discs (for example Make a Jazz
Noise Here)? I noticed this through having my disc changer shuffle
a 6-pack of Zappa, and this disc suffered noticably. Anyone else bugged
by this? How does the LP version sound? Any other re-releases with the
From Vladimir Sovetov:
Yes, the sound volume of my Apostrophe (') /Over-Nite Sensation Ryko disc is
also noticeably lower than volume of my other CDs. Freak Out!, Chunga,
Zoot Allures etc. The sound
volume of the ' LP (I still have one) seems to be as good as of
my One Size Fits All and Weasels Ripped My Flesh LPs.
In 1990, a Zappa Records version of the two-albums-on-one-CD
package debuted in Europe. It sports a few differences in artwork (in
particular, the front cover announces a "U.M.R.K Digital Remix," as do
some other CDs in this Zappa Records series) and is not the same
as the Ryko disc. There is less reverb on this version, much
different EQ, and the overall presentation is louder; listen
to the mp3 sample above for a comparison between the three versions
of the remix.
The lack of reverb on this disc would normally make it the
"preferred" version of the remix on CD. Unfortunately, the Zappa
Records version also introduces the "bad-batch" glitches,
including a wavering stereo image and an inconsistent right channel,
and some odd digital clipping. Some tracks are worse than others (e.g.
Cosmik Debriz). Tread lightly.
only Zappa albums that ever came out on the minidisc format were
coupled with Apostrophe
(') (on one disc), and it's just like the original
but in minidisc quality, which is worse, because the disc is so small
that the audio data
has to be compressed to fit on it, with a lossy compression scheme.
Presumably, this uses the 1986 Ryko digital master.
Ryko 1995 CD Reissue
Ryko's 1995 CD reissue uses the remix of Apostrophe;
it also restores some artwork. Sound-wise, it's closer to the original Ryko CD than to the Zappa Records CD. There is one major
difference: thanks either to the EQ used on this disc or some extra
processing, it sounds like there's even more digital reverb on
this disc. Check the
MP3 link above to hear the difference.
AT SOME POINT, the master used to create the standard
1995 CD was briefly swapped with the master used to create the
Au20 gold disc, which uses to the vinyl mix. We used to have a whole
guide here about how to tell the difference between issues, but
there were so many exceptions (mostly involving matrix numbers) that
we've dropped the discussion. See below for a write-up on the Au20 disc.
(The people who discovered that there were two different
versions of the 1995 CD were
David G., Biffy the Elephant Shrew and Bill Harper. Respect! Other
people involved were Ryan Davenport and Dan Watkins. Charlies Ulrich
told me it
had reverted back to the remix.)
PS: In May 2000, Cal Schenkel had been in touch with Ryko, I
think, and had this
Nobody seems to know anything about the Au20 swap, SO
DON'T EVER MENTION
Audiophile Au20 Gold CD
IDENTICAL TO: the vinyl and some
runs of the 1995 CD
DIFFERENT FROM: the original CD and early
runs of the 1995 CD
Ryko issued Apostrophe (') and One
Size Fits All,
in "limited" (numbered) editions, as expensive audiophile gold
CDs - the
discs used gold instead of aluminum. You may want to argue that gold
itself would not
make a compact disc sound that much better, but both discs were made
from improved master
tapes and sound much better (on good equipment). The gold may
be mostly a
gimmick to warrant the higher price necessitated by the major time and
effort spent to
prepare an extremely good master. The master used for this CD was of
vinyl mix, not the remix that was on the original
CD, the Zappa Records CD, and the
most runs of the 1995 CD. Some time after this
CD came out, Ryko switched to using this same master for new runs of
their 1995 CD.
From Pieter van Vollenhoven:
The Au20 CD was mastered from the original dolby A master
tapes. Playback was through a specially enhanced Ampex ATR-102 using
audio cards by J. Musgrave and courtesy of the Complex [?]
recording studios. No equalization, compression, limiting or any other
"enhancement" of any kind was added during the transfer.
The analog-to-digital conversion was done through a dB
technologies AD122 converter in the 20-bit mode, directly to the hard
disk of the Sonic Solutions digital mastering workstation.
Once edited in the final form the program was transferred
through the Sony super-bitmapping process integrated into the sonic
system. This noise-shaping process allows the music to be captured in
16 bits while maintaining the optional signal to noise equivalent of 20
bits. This superbitmapped master was then used in the production of the
From Michael Nickel:
Has anybody noticed that the cover of the two Au20 gold
versions have exact the same booklets as the regular Ryko versions?
(Take a look at the booklet numbers)
glitch on gold CD
DAN WATKINS: I was listening to my Au20 CD of
Apostrophe (yeah, screw anyone who bought the regular CD after the Au20
switch) and noticed something weird right at the beginning of "Cosmik
Debris". Right before the 00:01 mark, there's a weird tape warp or
something. I compared this to the '95 CD, and it
isn't there. Anyone else notice this? I'm sure that this isn't
something that just happened on my CD.
ZOMBY WOOF: Please detail the symptom ... is it like
a "this tape has been eaten" sound?
DAN WATKINS: Yeah, it's like the speed changes for a
quick nanosecond. I've never noticed this on any other copy of the
album. I went back and checked the LP,
and I don't hear it there either. Maybe it's just the way that guitar
note is played, and the clarity of the Au20 CD is letting me hear it
for the first time? I don't know. It just sounds kind of funny.
BIFFY THE ELEPHANT SHREW: I finally got around to
checking this. Yep, it's there.
LEWIS SAUL: I don't hear it. What are you talking
about? I hear George laughing at the end of "O'Blivion" and then
"Cosmik" kicks in - I don't hear any tape warp.
LEWIS SAUL (A LITTLE LATER): Never mind. I hear it
now. Weird. [Ed: This has
been fixed on the 2012 CD]
Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)
Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000
copies each) of Zappa CDs in
paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this
series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and
"bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold
covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on
the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a
different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had
"proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold"
cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.
We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US
Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors
items, not new remastered editions.
Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the
mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you
know if this happens.
Paul Christie writes:
I can report that the Japanese paper sleeve edition of
not the AU20 mix - I have both, and there are
between the mixes, including the different track lengths etc. The
Japanese version is the same as the widely available current Ryko
2012 UMe CD
Mastered from the original analog master by Doug Sax with Robert Hadley
& Sangwook "Sunny" Nam at The Mastering Lab, Inc., 2012. Reviews
are positive so far, and the new transfer fixes the one big glitch from
the Au20 CD. From Pittylabelle:
In the case of
"Apostrophe (') the better
sounding Au20 CD has a weird tape warp or something right at the
beginning of "Cosmik Debris", right before the 00:01 mark - but this is
not on previous CDs like the
1995 Ryko CD.
Myourself identifies two oddities in the packaging:
The good news: This tape warp is
NOT present on the new UMe 2012 CD.
FATHER O'BLIVION is missing the apostrophe (now making it FATHER
OBLIVION) two times in the packaging. in gz's 'note' the (') is
included. Also, the Ryko version of Apostrophe (') had the lyrics
printed, the new version does not.
- Any points to make about the Old Masters version?
- Any details on the Russian CD?
- Was there an MS2175 vinyl?
- Can someone confirm that all "modern-era" cassettes use the
- Biffy the Elephant Shrew
- Victor Dubiler
- Steve Jones
- Christof Ha▀linger
- Patrick Neve, Dave P Jones (Russian LP)
- Douglas Miller, Australia