— Frank Zappa, Interview by Bob Marshall, October 22, 1988
Conceptual continuity is both easy to understand and elusive. As Zappa conceived it, it simply meant that he had a certain attitude towards everything: composing; arranging; band leading; the music business. But it also meant that themes kept reappearing in different guises throughout his career. And that there is a recognisable genre that is – not rock, not jazz, not classical – but Zappa music.
As the Great Frank might have said: Conceptual Continuity isn’t dead it just needs shaking up a little. It is alive and well in the work of Chris Meade, who under some bewildering aliases –Jamie J, C J Overleaf – and on websites and blogs is creating linked stories and songs under the banner of Nearlyology:
“Nearlyologists call on all people to share freely and openly one with another whom they really and nearly are
In the analogue age we led linear lives with beginnings, middles and ends;
in digital times we can be nearly many in various virtual spaces”
All a songwriter needs is the creative ambience that allows the words and music to tumble out. Nearlyology has created just such a fertile environment.
The Nearly Songs aren’t nearly songs at all, they’re really songs.
Declaration of interest: I play on the tracks but that’s because I thought they were pretty good songs even before I got to mess about with them.
The Nearly Songs