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Messages - Meisekimiu

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1
Renaldo and the Loaf - Songs for Swinging Larvae


Album Title: Songs for Swinging Larvae
Artist: Renaldo and the Loaf
Release Year: 1981

Purchase Links: Amazon MP3 | Klanggalerie Physical | Klanggalerie Bandcamp

Behold! The album that (apparently) made Penn Jillette snap and finally become a fan of Ralph Records! This is the first official album put out by Renaldo and the Loaf and it's definitely a wacky and surreal one to start off with! Let's question the donut-like qualities of guavas and more in this installment of Finest Flowers Album Club!


Do you have a recommendation for the next Fine Flower we should discuss? Private message me the album info as well as your own introduction to the album and maybe it'll be the next one we talk about?!

2
スネークフィンガー大先生!!!

I think Manual of Errors may be my favorite Snakefinger album, but Chewing Hides the Sound has so many great tracks! His cover of Kraftwerk's The Model is the song that actually made me a Snakefinger fan, outside of his guitar work on The Residents albums. I originally heard it in some bonus CD that had a live radio show recorded on it, and that was one of the songs they played. At that point I realized I really needed to check out Snakefinger's work.

I really love Here Comes The Bums. Part of it is just that I associate the song with The Residents' Shadowland tour, but it is a really good song. I love the vocal distortion... it is quite catchy and surreal at the same time. It has that kind of "Beatnik Party" vibe that Snakefinger seemed to really like. Also to note, I like reference to Henry Darger's The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion in the song The Vivian Girls. Well, I assume that's a reference anyway.

The only other track I really have anything to say about is Picnic in the Jungle. It is a really awesome track. It was probably the first song from a Snakefinger album I'd ever heard, although the Rz cover from the WoW show was what first helped me discover the song in the first place. I'd say it's probably my favorite song from the album, but The Model is pretty great too.

Overall, I love Chewing Hides The Sound! It's such a great album!

3
The North American tour is starting in just a few months! Let's get hyped! Who's going to see the shows? If you're going, which show(s) are you going to see? It'd be nice to see if any forum members are going to the show you're going to!

I'll be going to the Salt Lake City show, and it seems like that'll be the only one I'm gonna be going to unless they add a Phoenix show (which they should totally do btw). I'll also be bringing a special friend who isn't really a Rz fan at all but... well, they decided to go with me anyway.  ;D

4
Hello! Welcome to the first Finest Flowers Album Club post! These topics will be like Project of the Week, but will focus on albums not by The Residents. "Flowers" will run for about 2 weeks each, with one being posted on the first and one being posted on the fifteenth of each month. Please submit ideas for future albums to discuss as well, whether it be an album by a Ralph artist, an artist who's been known to be a big influence to The Residents, or just a random cool album you think people should check out!



Snakefinger - Chewing Hides The Sound


Album Title: Chewing Hides The Sound
Artist: Snakefinger
Release Year: 1979

Purchase Links: Klanggalerie

How could we not start with Snakefinger?! When I think "Ralph Artists who aren't The Residents", there are quite a few artists who pop into my head, but there are only a couple who really stand out to me in particular. One of those artists is Snakefinger, although honestly it's a bit inaccurate... to some degree he really was one of The Residents (By the way, we'll be getting to the duo who also stands out to me in particular eventually as well!). Songs on this album were written with The Residents, so really this could almost fit into standard Project of the Week territory!

Anyway, Chewing Hides the Sound is Snakefinger's debut album. It contains songs which pretty much any diehard Rz fan should recognize. What are your thoughts on it?


Do you have a recommendation for the next Fine Flower we should discuss? Private message me the album info as well as your own introduction to the album and maybe it'll be the next one we talk about?!

5
RZ General Board / Re: Rezhead Berserk Button?
« on: January 13, 2018, 03:35:29 pm »
Not only do I too hate the "were they on drugs?" comments, but I also hate that people assume the fans are on drugs while listening to the music. Like, come on, I'm way too pretentious for drugs!  ;)

6
Fan Words / Re: A Thread For Introductions
« on: January 13, 2018, 03:34:16 pm »
Welcome! Hope you enjoy the forum!

7
RZ Project Talk / Re: THE 12 DAY BRUMALIA EXTRAVAGANZA 2017-2018
« on: January 01, 2018, 12:16:18 pm »
I'm gonna be honest... I've never actually listened to Brumalia. I was waiting for the holiday season!

Anyway, Day 8 makes my suspicions that The Residents really love Jelly Jack as a song even stronger. Which is cool because I love it too.

8
I really dig the original Santa Dog. It's just a quick bit of early Rz goodness. My favorite part is the "when everyone lives in the future, the present is au revoir" part. Something about the way everything sounds in that part just sort of sums up what I like in music. I don't actually listen to Santa Dog that much though... I try to keep at least Santa Dog '72 exclusively a Christmas track.

Random note. I actually just listened to Santa Dog the other day after waking up hungover from a fun Christmas party and... boy was it irritating in that state! Is that what Santa Dog sounds like to people who have "normal" taste in music?!

9
RZ Project Talk / SANTA DOG '72 (Project of the Week for 18th of December)
« on: December 18, 2017, 11:00:21 am »
Ho! Ho! Ho! In the beginning, there was... SANTA DOG! And perfection ends when life begins.

(Please keep discussion mainly to Santa Dog '72... we'll have plenty of time to discuss the other dogs later)

10
It seems like Nazis are popping up more and more in the news lately, so it seems like the perfect time to listen to some 60's music! Or something.

Hang on, I'm not moleshow, what is going on?!

11
RZ Project Talk / Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (20th of October): TALKING LIGHT
« on: November 07, 2017, 08:44:32 pm »
Ah, the Talking Light. I've mentioned before that the Talking Light version of The Old Woman is quite fantastic. In terms of other "covers", I particularly like the versions of Death in Barstow, Bury Me Not, and Die Stay Go. I should note that I'm only familiar with the setlist from the Bimbo's performance. I haven't even gotten a hold of Randy's Ghost Stories so clearly I'm not even qualified to talk about Talking Light! ...Just kidding, of course I'm still going to talk about it.

Anyway... Talking Light is definitely interesting. As I said before in the Shadowland thread, Talking Light is the most interesting part of the whole "Randy, Chuck, and Bob" trilogy, which makes sense if it really is done all in reverse. Beginnings are endings for all but a few, and The Residents are no exception. But it doesn't quite feel like an ending to a trilogy, it still feels like a beginning. There is that definite "early installment weirdness" regarding Randy's character before his blog appeared and In My Room/Randyland really solidified his character. But I guess that's really to be expected.

The ghost stories are all great. And spooky! My favorite from what I've heard is Perchance to Dream, but I have to admit I'm biased towards anything dream-related at all. I think The Unseen Sister is my favorite musically, and I'll listen to the instrumental version from Chuck's Ghost Music often. It is missing some Bob guitar in the beginning that is present during the Bimbo DVD performance, though!

I really like the stage design and overall vibe of this show. It is simply superb. The living room is generally inviting and all, but I find that it helps you get sucked into the show's narrative besides making you feel all cozy and stuff. While shows like the Mole Show and Cube-E were big and theatrical, this one's stage design felt less grand and more like... a high school play. Which isn't a bad thing, in this case! It sort of mirrors (heh... mirrors) the whole facade of The Residents' "cover band". It helped draw me in to the overarching narrative of the show. It overall stands out to me because it's such a unique stage design compared to The Residents' other live shows. I don't even think this paragraph made sense.

The Talking Light is quite confusing to me. I think there's some sort of commentary on TV and/or commercialism buried somewhere in this concept? That's what the Residents.com Historical seems to suggest, and even the Bimbo's DVD has an obsession with the television. I think that the "Talking Light" is not just the spooky spirit mentioned in the titular song, but can also be interpreted as a reference to the television itself. A TV is in a way a talking light.  But of course The Residents are pretty complicated so I'm not sure exactly what they're trying to say about this theme... or if that really was their intention at all. And if so, how do the ghost stories and the mirror people and even Randy, Chuck, and Bob fit into this theme? I have no idea. I suppose maybe one day I'll think about this hard enough to come up with a better answer, but for now, I'm still clueless.

12
Idea Words / IDEA: Non-Rz Album Discussion
« on: October 16, 2017, 03:00:11 pm »
Hello, I have an IDEA. I know there's the "Just Discussion" forum for all your off-topic needs, but I was thinking we should have a "Project of the Week" type thing for non-Rz albums. I know this is a Residents forum, but since we are all Rz fans we generally probably share some kind of musical taste together. I'm not suggesting that we add non-Rz albums to Project of the Week, but rather have something else devoted to these albums. Basically, I think it'd be nice if we had a "book club" style thing for non-Rz albums, where we can discuss and maybe even discover these things.

And by "non-Rz" I mean that there'd be a focus on artists still associated with The Residents (like Snakefinger or Renaldo and the Loaf) or artists who The Crypitcs have said The Residents have taken inspiration from (like Captain Beefheart or Moondog). But people could also suggest other weird/conceptual music for this to. I think also it wouldn't rotate weekly but instead every other week at least, to give people a chance to listen to the album for the first time if someone suggested something no one else has listened to before..

I dunno, just an idea.

13
RZ Project Talk / Re: SHADOWLAND (Project of The Week for 9th of October)
« on: October 16, 2017, 02:32:55 pm »
SHEEEEE-ADOWLAAAAND

Shadowland is currently the closest I've come to seeing The Residents live-- more on that later. I first experienced Shadowland for the first time this year. I stayed away from watching it until I watched Theory of Obscurity, and I delayed that for a while since I wanted to wait until I was READY to watch that. So, to be clear, I've only really experienced the webcast version "Live @ Etrange Festival" and listened to the live album put out later.

Anyway... Shadowland is... kind of weird. I mean, the whole RCB Trilogy is weird, but Shadowland is weird as a conclusion to the trilogy. Talking Light had completely original songs and video content written for it. The Wonder of Weird had Randy's whole crisis dominating the narrative with no videos. And Shadowland returns to the video format but offers no original songs and a good percentage of the videos are based on existing songs. This is quite weird... the trilogy gets less interesting as it goes on, with TL being the most groundbreaking. But of course there's the whole "Life in Reverse" theme going on, which means that the shows are getting more interesting over the course of the narrative. Which is a much better way to look at it.

I really like the song selection for Shadowland. I'm happy to see Is He Really Bringing Roses? performed live. And I think the Shadowland performance of Constantinople is pretty great. And Hard & Tenderly being performed live is just really special. One of my favorite songs from what I've experienced of Shadowland is the version of "My Second Wife". Is it being mashed up with another song or did The Residents just add lyrics to the song? I'm pretty curious, I really like this version.


Anywho... way back in 2016 was the US Shadowland tour and I was hyped. But there was a problem. I was going to a much more expensive concert in California the day The Residents were playing in my city (Phoenix, AZ). I had VIP tickets to some Japanese "idol" concert and was going to be spending the weekend in California... but The Residents were going to be performing their last show in California that same weekend! So, I bought tickets for the Solana Beach show, excited to finally see The Residents.

And so there I was. In some beachside town at around sunset, outside a venue to see The Residents for the very first time. And there were other Residents fans there too! It was surreal. I've talked to a few Residents fans face-to-face before, but I've never been in the company of that many fans before... heck, I've never been in the presence of more than one at a time before. I talked to one woman who mentioned something about seeing the Talking Light shows or something. I remember she said to me, "You're really going to enjoy this show, all their shows are always so crazy". I was so excited.

But in the back of my mind, I knew there was a problem. Most Rz shows are in venues which serve alcohol and I was just under the age of 21 at that time. That fact was actually why my friends, who I was staying with and who drove me all the way to Solana Beach, were with me in line to get into the venue. There was uncertainty as to if I'd actually get into the venue. If I wasn't allowed in, we'd all go to this famous Korean Barbecue place relatively nearby. But soon it was time to start letting people in, even if The Residents and crew were apparently running late. And they were doing ID checks. As they got to me in line, I just asked for clarification that it was a 21+  show (which I already knew it was) and just told them I didn't have my ID on me and walked away.

My friends urged me to get back in line anyway and show them my ID, just in case they did let me in and just wanted my ID to clarify that I'm under 21. I told them that probably wasn't the case but they told me it wouldn't hurt to try. I went back in line and the ID check guy immediately confronted me. "You said you didn't have your ID but I saw you talk to your friends over there. I know you have a fake ID," he said to me. "What? No this is my ID. I'm under 21 but they wanted me to show you my ID anyway." "Well then why did you say you didn't have your ID then? Huh?" "Well I knew I wasn't getting in anyway so I didn't want to get out my ID!" "I saw you talking to your friends, man, I know all the tricks people use to get into bars" "I'm not trying to trick you, my friends just thought that I should show my ID anyway!" And with that he said he'd get security if I persisted any more. Which is weird because I thought he was security but whatever.

Anyway, I turned back to my friends, feeling very much disappointed. I think I might have had tears in my eyes. As I walked back, I remember seeing a car pass by the venue. I'm not a car person but it looked like a pretty nice car. There was another car closely behind it, and I recall seeing some kind of big marching band bass drum in the back seat. And there was this person in the first car. Maybe I was just feeling really emotional at that moment, or maybe the tears were blurring my vision but that person looked so familiar somehow... but maybe it was only in my mind.

We're taking you... to the Shadowland...

14
Like moleshow said, the 13th Anniversary show is quite a mystery (maybe because it has all kinds of assorted secrets or something). It's an important part of Residents history as well. It laid a foundation for future shows but it's also unique in its own way. The famous red eyeball theft happened during this tour. And lots of other crazy stuff! Grandpa Gio described this show as "relaxed" compared to the Mole Show, and while the Mole Show is a very tense show... I still think the 13th Anniversary show isn't one you'd call relaxed. Something about the whole quality of the music still has this "high tension" feel to it which I can't really describe. I think that the footage of them performing Cry for the Fire is some of the most powerful live footage I've seen from them. I mean, Cry for the Fire is a tense song to begin with, but something about the footage and the way it's performed is just... I don't know. It's insane to me. Also: Snakefinger performing with The Residents is always great.

Anywho, back to the actual history of this show. Besides the things I listed, I'm pretty sure most people are aware of the history of this show. It wasn't supposed to happen until they were invited to perform in Japan by WAVE records... who would also cover all the costs of the performance. And so the 13th Anniversary Tour began in Japan (...much like the current In Between Dreams tour!). Since I am sort of known for dumping all this "Residents in Japan" stuff onto the forum, I guess I should talk about that now. Get ready for a special Project of the Week edition of... THE RESIDENTS IN JAPAN!


The Residents performed the 13th Anniversary Show (or the "Eyeball Show" as it was called) in two venues: One unspecified venue in Kyoto and in the Parco Space Part 3 theater in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. I'm really curious about this Kyoto show since there is no information on it at all. But the other venue is much easier to find information on. The building they performed at in Shibuya was actually part of a Department Store... Parco Part 3 was one of a series of Parco Department Store buildings in Shibuya (which is currently being completely renovated). On the eigth floor was a theater named Parco Space / Parco Theater and originally named "Seibu Theater". Seibu Theater was named after Parco's parent company, Seibu Department Stores, Ltd. What's really interesting is that Seibu/Parco also owned another subsidiary... a music distributor called "WAVE".

But who was WAVE? Well, WAVE was managed by Masanori Akashi, who appears under the credits for one of the 13th Anniversary Show CDs put out. There are other folks in there too, but I can't really find any information on them. Anyway, WAVE specialized in New Wave (of course) and Jazz music and mostly focused on foreign artists for a more "global" sound. They put out John Zorn, Tuxedomoon, and even some Thelonious Monk! WAVE even put out a Japan exclusive Residents compilation album, Memorial Hits, to increase hype for their live shows. This compilation album also includes a transcribed lyrics sheet written by WAVE employees, much like their release of The Big Bubble. I would love to get my hands on a copy of this album... or at least a scan of those lyrics sheets!


A promotional ad for WAVE's first store in Roppongi

While we're talking about WAVE, I found an interview with The Residents and Homer Flynn by WAVE out on Youtube. I haven't watched it all since it's pretty long, but here's the first part: LINK! It's pretty charming. I can't read all the Japanese because it's very fuzzy, but the little name cards say "レジデンツ" (Residents) for the members of The Residents and "スポークスマン" ("Spokesman") for Homer Flynn. I find the moment at 01:36 quite funny, where Homer describes the Theory of Obscurity and the interviewer basically goes "WTF did he say? You're translating that!" to the translator. The translator himself seems to go "mmhm" a lot which seems kind of annoying, but in Japanese culture this kind of "listening indicator" is pretty common. ...Though it is more annoying with the Americanized "mmhm" rather than a typical "hai" or "sou desu" responses. They also use the term "Strategy of Obscurity" in english a bit which is the direct translation of their translation of "Theory of Obscurity": 秘密の戦略 ("Himitsu no Senryaku"). I find that particularly fascinating since the localized version of the Theory of Obscurity movie was named "めだまろん" which is much catchier but loses some of the connection to the original title (めだまろん translates to something like "Theory of Eyeballs" which is still pretty good).

Anyway, I think that's pretty much all the weird rambling about Japanese stuff related to the 13th Anniversary Shows I can find. According to one of the Blue Note staff, the show was written about in a Japanese magazine after it had happened. A big part of why the 13th Anniversary Tour is a mystery to me is because of this link to Japan, where a lot of specifics can just get mixed up and lost. I mean, the most likely reason why we don't know what venue they performed at in Kyoto is because The Residents can't read Japanese... they don't know what venue they performed at! That mystery just ties in further to my appreciation of this show and its tour. Also because Snakefinger singing in a southern accent is very cute.



(By the way, the idea of The Residents and Snakefinger and their managers and everyone eating sushi or something together in Japan is an idea that fills me with joy.)

15
The very first bit of Residents music I ever heard was from Duck Stab. That's right... it's finally time to talk about my "origin story" as a Rz fan!

It was only about five or six years ago. I was browsing a website called "TV Tropes" which is a Wiki style website that catalogues various conventions and themes from media works. It's a highly addictive site at times, so some days I'd just spend hours browsing the site. Reading examples is entertaining and I would often use the site to find new works based on themes or tropes I liked. During this time I discovered many shows and other forms of media, especially catering to my ever-increasing love of the weird and surreal.

One day, I was browsing the Surreal Horror page which described... well, exactly what it sounds like. Nightmarish surrealism. Listed are things like David Lynch's movies, that one tunnel scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and my favorite anime series, Serial Experiments Lain. Anyway, on this particular day, I stumbled upon this entry in the "Music" section of the page:

Quote from: TV Tropes
The Residents. An avant-garde music group formed in the 1960's who have managed to stay anonymous throughout their whole career. Here's a taste. Besides the music itself, the music videos, video game and other creative output all serve to emphasize this.

Curious, I clicked on the link, ready to see how creepy and surreal these anonymous "Residents" guys really were. And there I was in my seat, watching this video, petrified in fear. What was I watching?! Who were these people?! That video was very scary and surreal and weird and did I mention SCARY? I closed the Youtube tab and continued exploring TV Tropes some more... that video was way too much for me. ...But something drew me back to that page. After a few days, or maybe it was a few weeks, I found myself going back to that page to discover that anonymous band again. I felt I was ready to explore more of their music. And so I began to explore and listened to the album that "Constantinople" song came from, one of their most popular albums, Duck Stab / Buster and Glen. I don't remember when I actually fell in love with The Residents... but here I am now.


Anywho, I really like this Duck Stab/Buster and Glen. Like a lot of The Residents' overall weirdness, the sound has kind of normalized so I don't really think these two sound creepy at all anymore... though I admit they don't sound "normal" by any means. Still, this is much more like "Residents pop music" than a big overarching multi-album story. So, I often use the songs from these two EPs to introduce people to The Residents... although they don't usually react in a positive way. I still remember the faces of discomfort people had as I played Constantinople as part of a class presentation on "avant-garde music". And as one of my friends responded to me once: "Birthday Boy: This song freaks me out. Never again. Never." Really? I mean... okay, that one is a little weird but most of these sound normal... right?!

Anywho, I'm not really going to talk about the meanings of the songs here since I think things like "Constantinople === Heaven?!?!" and "Krafty Cheese is a reference to Kraftwerk" and "Hello Skinny is about DRUGZ!" have been discussed to death. (Although I did hear the theory that Duck Stab/Buster and Glen is The Residents' way of "digesting" various musical artists which is pretty interesting... but I already said I wouldn't talk about the meanings!) So instead I'm going to just talk about how much I like these songs.


Constantinople will always have a soft spot in my heart for being the first Rz song I ever heard. Well... it's pretty great on its own merit too. I think Constantinople is one of the most "crazy" sounding songs of these two EPs (although other songs get close).

I really like the rhymes and tonal shift of Blue Rosebuds. I always wondered if the inclusion of the word "Eskimo" in the lyrics was related to the production of Eskimo in some way, whether it sparked the idea in the first place or it was slipped into the lyrics as they were researching all kinds of 100% true Eskimo facts. Interestingly enough, the Our Finest Flowers version doesn't have this line with it. Maybe they just couldn't fit another line of verse into the song though, I don't know for sure.

I just especially dig the very percussive nature of the lyrics in Elvis and His Boss. Not much to say here besides that I also wonder if it eventually led to Cube-E/King and Eye...

Birthday Boy... that one is definitely interesting. When listening to this album I sometimes skip it so this song sounds more special when I listen to it on my birthday. Also The Residents were quite ahead of their time, singing the "Birthday Song" before it was proven to be in the public domain! (They were clearly a bit more careful about this in The Voice of Midnight :P)

I love Krafty Cheese very much and I do not why in particular. I just love it very much and needed to comment about it.

The Electrocutioner may be my favorite song from this album. It is just fantastic. I think I'm just a sucker for songs that have a really intense moment before a calm fade out, like "Death Harvest" from The Ghost of Hope. I love the outro to this song. The lyrics are great and it just sounds amazing.

Alright, those are my very short comments on the songs of Duck Stab/Buster and Glen. Now I didn't comment on every song, but I really do love all of the songs on the album... I just had something specific I wanted to say about certain songs. :P While I have yet to successfully hook anyone into The Residents with this album, I'll surely be successful some time... right?

16
RZ General Board / Re: DOUBLE TROUBLE!
« on: September 17, 2017, 02:49:53 pm »
TRAILER!
NEW TRAILER!


I have to admit, I'm surprised. I wasn't expecting a trailer like this to come out so soon! Even when the video said "trailer", I wasn't really expecting an actual... trailer. I'm really impressed and I'm excited to see the movie!

17
RZ General Board / Re: The Residents in Japan
« on: June 10, 2017, 07:41:06 pm »
Those who go to めだまろん in the theater in Japan get a free Theory of Obscurity clear file (basically a plastic folder with a picture on it) with their ticket. I have to admit, I really want one. :P Clear files are a pretty Japanese piece of merchandise, but the fact that it's branded with the Theory of Obscurity poster and not the localized めだまろん poster is a bit puzzling. Were these ever released to western audiences as well?



Image from the medamaron official twitter.

18
RZ General Board / Re: The Residents in Japan
« on: May 31, 2017, 02:12:46 pm »
Update on some things! First off, めだまろん aka the Japanese Theory of Obscurity will be premiering at Theatre Image Forum in Shibuya, Tokyo on July 1st and Osaka's Cine Libre theater on July 8th! Here's a trailer, although I think all of us have watched the Theory of Obscurity by now so there's nothing really that interesting in here:

video

Anyway, the Blue Note Tokyo also put out an additional little interview from Homer Flynn about the In Between Dreams shows. As always, I've added my not-that-good-but-slightly-better-than-Google-translate translation. This ドナルド・トランプ guy seems to pop up a lot in talks about this show.

Quote
Interview - Offstage: The Residents

"It's the dark ages, so our theme is 'Dreams'."

This March, there was a different kind of performance for the Blue Note Tokyo.  It was the first performance in Japan in 32 years for American avant-garde band The Residents. Fans from all over Japan gathered for six exciting performances over three days.

For three nights in the middle of March, the Blue Note Tokyo, a jazz club approaching it's 30th year, had a different atmosphere from usual. It was The Residents' performance in Japan. With a rock-style band organization, psychedelic production, and cow and bird masks and costumes. The vocalist sang eccentrically with a voice that seemed to reverberate from the depths of hell.

"At first our ears doubted an offer from a Jazz Club with 300 seats, because it was an environment that until now they had never done before. But we thought back on it and thought it might be interesting. Because if the stage and audience seats are close, it'd be possible to experience this sense of unity."

That's what the manager of The Residents said. He is not only the band's business partner, but completely shares the band's thoughts, feelings, intentions, and so on. It is said he symbolizes the band.

"The cattle mask is a bull and a cow too. The bull is a symbol of power. The cow is a symbol of life. I'd like to think that The Residents represent both of those things. The bird masks are being used as motifs from when they were used as medical masks in Europe during the time of the bubonic plague (black death). In the past, doctors who were engaged in curing the black plague wore these masks so they wouldn't get infected. It seems that there were two reasons as to why they looked like a bird. First, for good luck. Additionally, herbs were stuffed into the beaks and accomplished the role of a filter to defend against infection."

In the first place, why now are there costumes of power, life, and black plague prevention?

"Because the present is a dark age like the time of the black plague. The US Presidential Election that happened not long ago, it should have been reported in Japan, the outcome of that election was disappointing. The Residents are beyond the feelings of sadness and are shocked. The people over there who live in the center of the US who voted for Donald Trump are ignorant. And furthermore, us ignorant people are proud of it. I feel like I'll be ignorant in the future. It's an unbelievable state-of-affairs. Devastating. So this time it was a live with those feelings as well."

Up on the stage was a huge spherical object. There they projected digital videos that resembled Mother Teresa and John Wayne among others talking about dreams.

"The theme of this live was 'Dreams'. Even in these dark times, they put a message in these digital films that you should never forget to hold onto your dreams. The video of John Wayne talks on and on about the dream of becoming a ballerina. Isn't it charming? John Wayne and Ballerinas, they thought that gap would be fun. The Residents' lives have high tension and are extreme. The audience and the band too should sustain this tension. So we thought to take a breath or establish an interval two times in the middle of the show and talk about Mother Teresa and John Wayne. And after resting we return back to the world of high tension."

19
The Ghost of Hope is a great album. Although the collection of my "favorite" Residents albums is just a fuzzy and ever-changing idea, (with the exception of Not Available being my favorite) this one is definitely up there. I already said my initial impressions, and for the most part I still agree with them. I will say that I think this album is a bit more complex than it appears at first. Even on my first listening, I knew certain things seemed... rather strange. Let's go over each track (heh... "track"... trains... heh) individually. I'm going to be noting some interesting things I've noticed, and also trying to look into the historical accuracy of each story.

Horrors of the Night
The first thing I noticed about this song was that the lyrics didn't rhyme. Now, The Residents aren't exactly pop stars so it isn't that weird to hear them not rhyme, but rhyming is just such a key part of their sound that it's definitely noticable when there aren't rhymes. It does give the song a less story-like vibe though, as if The Residents are simply quoting what happened. And it seems like this did indeed happen! This was the only bit of information I could find on the wreck, but maybe I didn't look hard enough. Anyway, the term "Horror of the Night" is used in this newspaper excerpt, which is pretty cool. From my research, though, it doesn't seem like The Residents are quoting anything directly, besides the phrase "Horror of the Night". While the names seem to be real, I can't find the quoted passage at the end of the song anywhere, although it does say that all the survivors were interviewed. I do think the ending to this song does sound a bit too much like a story from the Talking Light... or a Shadow Story. I'm just saying... that writing style sounds rather familiar...

The Crash at Crush
Yay! 3/4 time! This song is a lot more songy than the previous one. It rhymes! In fact, I'd say it's almost folksy in nature. While the previous song just starts describing the action from the start (as the sleeping passengers on board would have experienced the crash), this one builds up tension before the crash. This feeling of doom just creeps around the track (I guess it's the ghost of hope), and I really like it! There are many different resources on this incident. While it isn't the best resource for serious research, the existence of a Wikipedia article just proves how "notable" this incident was (also there are cool pictures!). This song got stuck in my head after listening to the album a 2nd time.

Death Harvest
I think this is my favorite song from the album. The gentle nature of the first part, followed by the sheer ferocity of Rushing Like a Banshee, only to become calm once again... I love it. I simply love it. Peter Whitehead does an amazing job on the vocals... ahhh this song is so great. Now then... I can't seem to find any information on this incident at all. Obviously smaller incidents involving just automobiles with no vicious train derailments or anything of that nature won't be getting their own Wikipedia articles... but I just can't find any information on this incident at all. Although the places and the weird secret society mentioned in the liner notes are real, I can't find anything on the people or the train accident itself. Weird, since you don't often find someone's head stuck in the ground with their feet in the air. Anyway, the rhyme scheme gets switched up again, with the first part not rhyming at all until Rushing Like a Banshee takes over, where the rest of the song rhymes from there.

Shroud of Flames
I really dig this song. It's sounds quite nice... almost too upbeat for the chaos being described. I mean, I could dance to this song about people burning up in an oil fire. I also like the alternating vocalists here... while I'm not entirely sure if there's a purpose to it other than sounding cool and weird. Again, I can't find any information on this incident. However, this one doesn't seem to be too out of the ordinary like the previous two stories, so maybe it's just harder to find information about it in the first place? One final thing to note is the final lyric before the monologue at the end: "Conductor Townsend said / Peering through a mask / Revealing nothing but / His eyeballs as he rasped,". Maybe it's just a coincidence that we have "eyeballs" and "mask" in there. Although I think it's a bit odd... I mean, I feel like "eyes" would be more natural to say than "eyeballs" in that situation, but hey, I guess they have to keep up with the meter of the song.

The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918
I think this track is the weakest musically (it sounds the least like an "actual song", not that that's important when we're talking about The Residents), but it more for makes up with that with its emotional impact. The very moment I heard that "RACE! SKIN! IGNORANCE TO THE END!" sample, I knew something was up with this album. I still don't fully get the inclusion of that sample. Maybe it's just a joke, or maybe it just sounded cool. This incident also has a lot of information on it, including a book even called "The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918: Tragedy on the Indiana Lakeshore". Even the names seems to be real, although from my resources (that book), it seems like there was a Emil Schwyer, not an Emil Schwem.

Train vs. Elephant
I think this track speaks for itself for the most part (I mean... it better, that's the whole point of it!). I do really like this track though. It's a nice break from lyrics while still having a good atmosphere and story behind it. I did research this incident and found a blog post from a man who stumbled upon the sign and asked locals about the event. I think it was the exact post The Residents used as inspiration for the track. Neato!

Killed at a Crossing
This one just immediately hits you with this mysterious, sinister tone. It isn't my favorite track on the album, but I think it's just a perfect way to end somehow... I don't know why though. The rhyme scheme is gone (for the most part) again, although unlike in Horrors of the Night, I can't find any information on this incident. And I think it's time to stop beating around the bush a bit and talk a bit more directly. I believe that certain stories in The Ghost of Hope are entirely fictional. The Residents are playing with truth and fiction with this album, so by the end you may not entirely be sure what is "Real?" and what isn't. And The Residents use a variety of techniques throughout the album to confuse the truth and fiction.

Horrors of the Night makes no use of rhyme so it sounds less like a story and more like an actual recount of what happened. This departure from The Residents' "usual" sound starts the album out by loudly proclaiming that this song was based on real, actual events... something which The Residents aren't that well known for. I mean, yes, they've reported lots of "true" or "historical" things before, but the actual presentation is usually warped while keeping the underlying and more universal truth intact. The song cleverly builds up a suspension of disbelief. Of course these events are real, otherwise The Residents would have made it rhyme and the events would be much stranger. The Crash at Crush sounds more like a folk song but yet it too is based on a true event. And now we have two contrasting ways of telling the truth: literal reports of what happened and more story like songs. At this point it doesn't matter what any further songs are like, their sound alone will say nothing about how based in reality they really are.

Death Harvest is the first fictional story of the album, and it starts without a rhyme scheme. It sounds just like a literal report of what happened, including various specific details that would be strange to make up. A rhyme scheme does eventually pop up, though, maybe to combine the two styles presented in the album so far as to confuse the listener. Shroud of Flames presents its fictional incident in a straight-up song with a beat but uses specific names and an ending monologue like Horrors of the Night to make it sound like a true event. The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918 finally brings us back to reality, although changes a small detail here or there, like Emil Schwyer's name so it isn't 100% true. Train vs Elephant is based on first-hand accounts. While there is proof that this incident happened, specific details are a bit muddier.

And that brings us to the conclusion of the album once more... Killed at a Crossing. It has this sinister, mysterious, and well... important tone to it. It sounds like this song is the "concluding paragraph" to the essay on truth and fiction The Residents have presented upon us. And this fictional story is about truth itself, with the main character of the story immediately presented as not entirely trustworthy. The song lacks rhyme scheme so it sounds like another report of actual events. And it liberally sprinkles in specific details to make the story believable... in fact, let's compare the lyrics of this song to one of a similar style, Horrors of the Night:

Quote from: Killed at a Crossing
When the Wogglebug
A Pennsylvania train,
Ran into a Ford,
Mrs Robert Folwell
And Wilson Parker Page
Perished instantly

Quote from: Horrors of the Night
Five cars broke off and sped
Down the incline followed
By two more coal cars,
As all aboard appeared
Oblivious to the fate
Laying in wait
For them on the incline

In the stanza from Killed at a Crossing, every single line introduces a specific detail, where as Horrors of the Night connects its lines a bit more naturally. Although the other stanzas in Killed at a Crossing aren't quite like this, they are still very dense with specific details when compared to any of the other songs. But as the song concludes, the final stanza does rhyme as one final little "twist" to the song. As the train departs, you find yourself confused as to what the truth really is...


I have to admit it'll still take time for me to truly understand this album. Maybe in a few months or a year from now I'll get what this album is really trying to say, but until then I do think its trying to say something about the nature of truth in addition to its commentary on society and technlogy. A song like Killed at a Crossing, although certainly about a train accident, doesn't completely match the "man not being able to fully understand and control growing technology" theme... but hey, maybe I'm just crazy. As for The Real? Residents, I think it's an extension of this theme and is meant to clue us into the "Real?"-ness of the stories in this album. I just hope Randy is okay.

20
RZ General Board / Re: The Residents in Japan
« on: April 03, 2017, 11:32:13 am »
Well, the Japanese shows have concluded... but I still have a few more things to cover before this thread becomes uncovering old random bits of information once more!

First off, the copies of the Ghost of Hope CD sold at the Japanese shows seem to have a special obi you can kind of make out in this picture. The obi itself doesn't seem that interesting... it just says レジデンツ / ゴースト・オフ・ホープ and maybe some translated track titles. Now, what is interesting is that this obi seems to have been exclusively made for the In Between Dreams merch sales, as I can confirm that copies of The Ghost of Hope for sale in Japanese record stores are not any different from the US versions. To my knowledge, other than these special versions made for the Blue Note shows, there is no special Japanese release of The Ghost of Hope.

Anyway, another intereseting thing which I've been slacking on posting about is that Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents is being localized in Japan! The website for it, as bare as it is, is located here! The film is called めだまろん / ザ・レジデンツ・ムービー (Medama Ron: Za Rejidentsu Muubii) which can be translated as Theory of Eyeballs: The Residents Movie. Notice how the movie logo does the same thing that the Medama no Gakkou event's logo does: It uses the Residents eyeballs as the dakuten on the in the logo. I love that kind of stuff. Also I don't want to do a whole visual teardown of this logo, but the text formatting does a good job of portraying definite word boundaries without the usage of kanji... anyway...

The text below the logo says: "In early summer 2017, it's been decided the movie will premiere at Theater Image Forum!!". Said theater is a theater in Shibuya, Tokyo, not too far away from the Blue Note Tokyo. Neato! You can follow the movie on Twitter, here: @medamaron2017 (similar to The Theory of Obscurity's @ResidentsMovie acount). It could definitely use some love. I'll be trying to translate some of the descriptions Image Forum has put up about the movie, but for now it's looking like pretty standard stuff not too different from the Theory of Obscurity descriptions.

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