Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Residents – 13th Aniversary Show Live in Tokio Featuring Snakefinger {USA} [1987] @256 (Neo Dadaist Surreal and Brilliant Ultra Psych)

There’s no middle ground with The Residents. You love them or you hate them. Period.

They are weird, audacious, atonal at times, corrosive, academical, peculiar, funny, serious, scary, sad, enigmatic and mad. And maybe some other things too..

Formed in 1973 by a still unknown group of musicians that possibly migrated from North Louisiana to California, they claim to have been guided by a mysterious guru whose name seems to have been N. Senada. This (probably inexistent) prophet, lead The Residents into a kind of initiation process a lá Carlos Castaneda, that unleashed their creative potential. The whole ultra deep psychedelic process gave birth to “Meet The Residents” their first album, a very much insane and twisted parody of The Beatles.

Since then, The Residents became an occult studio band which didn’t tour until its 11th year of existence. A band which members have never been seen (not even after 33 years of activities). No one knows who they are. In concert and at photo studios they wore their distinctive Tuxedos and Eyeball masks, kind of a visual standard that they have never abandoned. There are rumours. Some claim they are deformed (or at least the leader is). Some other claim they were public figures and known classical music performers who decided to hide their rock inclinations. The craziest of all the claims is that they are Lovecraftian creatures, too atrocious to be seen by the human eye. (This one is based in the images of their first album)

Anyway, between 1973 and 1987, The Residents became a record making machine, producing 20 albums or so, including collaborations, pseudo radio shows, singles and jingle, limited cassette editions, possible bootlegs, etc, etc, etc. Besides this, they had multiple parallel projects: A film which took 4 years in the making (its shortest version has 14 hours of footage) and which was left unfinished (Vilness Fat). An image Company known alternatively Pore-Know-Graphics, Or PourNoGraphix or whatever name that sounds similar to that. Add to that the mysterious Cryptic Corporation which seems to have been created to manage All-Things-Residents and finally, and most important, Ralph Records, a label which not only edited The Residents albums but which also became one of the most important pivots of good 80s music by having been the home of bands like Chrome, Tuxedo Moon, MX-80 and Yello. All of them highly recommended.

We must also add to this story that since their begining The Residents had adopted the englishman Phillip Littman, aka Snakefinger, a guitar player of immense skills, that was well versed in the realms of jazz and blues. His unique way of playing the guitar and his tongue- in-cheek sense of humor became an essential aspect of The Residents aesthetics. He was never a full member of the band but a close collaborator. Thus he was the only one whose face we know. (And who had a short but brilliant solo career which we’ll post here soon).

In 1984 The Residents embarked themselves into their first tour called The Mole Show, based on The Moles Trilogy, a surreal fantasy of sorts which lied in the no mans’ land between theatre and music.

The Mole Show proved to be too ambitious and it was economically a disaster.

There were rumors of breaking-up and general turmoil at The Residents unknown headquarters, but fortunately they survived their own madness.

Two years later they had their 13th anniversary tour, one of the peaks of their career, documented in the homonimous album that I am proud to present for you today. A masterpiece in which they recreate their early music for stage. Snakefinger aided his friends by playing his guitar in a sublime way, showing us how great he was. The Residents themselves gave all they had. The songs are structured in the form of suites and the public sound it’s almost completely removed from the album. In a way that makes sense. The Residents play for the public, but not because of the public. They never try to please. They are there with a take it or leave it attitude.

That doesn’t mean they don’t care for their fans. Actually few bands are more communicative than them. Not directlyor using the interview as propaganda perhaps, but they keep connected thru CD-roms, websites, news services and any other way technology gives them.

Anyway the story of The Residents is too long for only one post.

And this is only the 13th year of a three decades career. I better stop talking and let you be horrorized, hallucinated, illuminated and amazed.

Behold a marvel.

Ladies and Gentlemen, general public, my friends, I give you, The Residents, Live in Tokio!

Keep listening…!!!

The Residents - Smelly Tongues...


Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for this great group, unfortunately I can't download the part 1 (it is impossible to find the server)

thanks in advance


Jaime Antonio Alvarez said...

For this marvelous Residents' album you need:

Part 1 -->
Part 2 -->

Jaime Antonio Alvarez said...


Anonymous said...

Neither of the links work. 'File not found' is what I get.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they don't work.

isabelbc said...

try here

Unknown said... This page doesn't exist anymore.

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