Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
1
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?
2
i think it sounds like it's not a Rz song because the vocalists are all seemingly unique to that song. the first portion sounds a bit like their cover of Satisfaction, but there isn't much else. the second section sounds like it could fit into the more recent Rz stuff if it were a bit more MIDI and a little clearer-sounding. but it's a weird one!
3
RZ General Board / Re: DOUBLE TROUBLE!
« Last post by marsellemusic on September 18, 2017, 10:36:07 pm »
We should pin that link and video
4
I gotta say Duck Stab was never my favorite record, since it seems very concerned with making "songs" and being accessible. I understand that's because I've always been very far gone though. Looking at it in the context and growth of the Residents discog, it's pretty remarkable. Two tracks always stuck out to me:

1) The Electrocutioner

Is this even a Rez song? By that I mean, what other song of theirs sounds like this? It's weird in the Rez context. Anybody know more about the background of this one. Either way I love it

2) Semolina

My personal favorite, and a song I point newcomers to because it's fun, stupid, and weird, without being scary.
5
i thought that, since we might as well head down a road of creepier and creepier albums/projects in the coming weeks, that it would be wise to go for this one. a Fan Favorite. so, voila! DUCK STAB! BUSTER AND GLEN!
6
RZ Project Talk / Re: PROJECT OF THE WEEK (11th of September): DEMONS DANCE ALONE
« Last post by moleshow on September 18, 2017, 01:36:08 am »
since DDA was my entry point into the RZ (around this time of year, 2 years ago), it is really, really special to me. it does this cool thing where it just makes me cry like a baby. the track that made it all start to click into place was The Car Thief. it was the live version- the slow sadness in Molly's movements with that mask grabbed me by the heart and threw me face first into the pavement. my entry track, though, was Baja. that one took 2 tries over 2 years and man... it weirded me out. red demon man (why is he red? and naked?), holding an eyeball with a top hat (why an eyeball? why the hat? why is it bleeding?), on a background of fists (???). but that confusion drew me right on in.

while i am not fully capable of understanding a pre-9/11 world (since i was mostly preoccupied with eating and sleeping at that time), the album still manages to strike a chord with me. the feeling of disconnected sorrow runs through every track, manifesting in a different form for Loss, Denial and The Three Metaphors.

Loss

all the tracks on this section are marked with a dreamy pessimism, a hazy sense of futility. which is fitting for loss as a concept.

Mr. Wonderful is all about "if"s. he does not actually think that there is any hope for his life to get any better, despite how little he expects. his life is at a dead end, but his disappointment is curbed by the fantasy of a life that would be, in his eyes, wonderful.

The Weatherman is more directly pessimistic, with a slow-ish beat, strange guitar, and violin that sounds almost as if it is crying. it sticks out to me as a sign to the listener that, no, none of the album will be directly about 9/11 itself, but about the feelings that came from it.  this track calls to mind Inner Space from Animal Lover which, considering the circumstances under which these albums were made, sort of makes sense. the lyrics here seem more helplessly tragic, though. the two share the common point of referencing specific imagery.

Quote
You're always calling me, but I'm never needed. I'm needy, I'm needy, I'm needing a new home.

Ghost Child strikes me as being a part of a 3-part story, told in reverse. it is the end of the tale told with it, Mickey Macaroni and Make Me Moo. the interpretation feels grim, but fitting, to see this track as being told by a child trying to navigate the afterlife, unable to move on. there is something that has happened to her that she cannot move on from. (the fact that the child is referred to as 'she' seems irrelevant to the 3-part story, since i am more focused on the position taken up, and that position is simply 'child'.) the child is in a purgatory of sorts, and since no harm can be done in it, no healing can occur either. it is purgatory, it is nothingness and the lived experience of it and its inescapable nature. it made me very sad when i realized that when the Singing RZ's voice is saying "She'd hold her breath for ever and ever", the child is saying "I'd hold my breath for ever and ever". that disconnection and helplessness is simply tragic. the observer and the victim are incapable of interacting- though i wonder who is who.

Caring is moody, but OH SO CATCHY. it, like The Weatherman, calls to mind a track from AL, Mother No More. the story in this one is really... i dunno, weird. this shows up in other tracks on the album, where the story is sort of unclear but the feeling is definitely there. this is a song about betrayal and preoccupation. the narrator tells that story, and tells us that those two aspects lead to an inevitable withdrawal into nothing. things became "too much", maybe.

Honey Bear, in all its forms (specifically the WoW version), is heartwrenching. right from the start.

Quote
Tell... me... why... I... am... so... scared?

AAAAAUGH. that one just stings. it's like they cranked up the dismal outlook of Mr. Wonderful to 11. the need to be loved, to be worth something again is powerful on this track. the narrator- he was someone, and he has experienced Loss with such clarity that it seems to have wrecked him. everything around him needs to be fixed or rebuilt in some way, but his fear of staying where he is and never being someone who is loved withholds him from moving on. he will take anything he can get.

Quote
Now I wait for you to gag and grease me. Now I hope you'll hold me by the hair.

The Car Thief. where do i even begin on this one. the narrator (who, at this point, i will just call Ms. Wonderful), has experienced Loss in her own way. it seems that she has escaped a physically abusive relationship and experienced the loss of that individual who had hoped to render her passive and weak, but through her anger seems to have found relief from this in destruction. the burning car being compared to a shooting star is a particularly interesting image. setting it aflame contained her wish. she is refusing to carry the burden of her pain any longer. she may be bitter, but she knows she is not in the wrong.

Neediness brings us the first mention of the Demon, though it is present throughout the whole album. Mr. Wonderful, here, had made the strange choice to attempt to embrace and befriend the complicated being that is the Demon. staying in the cycle of grief and all it entails is not a good thing, but he believes that the Demon can be brought to the light and change, while never having to leave! for its own good, at that. in reality, he is begging the issue that got him in his current position to help him to not have to leave it. the cycle has become so familiar that he cannot imagine leaving it. he triggers his own Loss- by convincing himself that the Demon (which he believes can be known and can feel, act, and think as a person would) is leaving him.

i hear the singing at the end in two ways- "We need someone who needs someone," and "It's all gone wrong and it's all gone". the latter is probably correct, but it makes for interesting interpretations.

Quote
We all need someone who needs us.

that phrase, after the pained yelling of Mr. Wonderful sums up the issues in Loss pretty nicely. for some, that someone is a specific person. for others, it's anyone. or, it could be the world as a whole.

Denial

the track that opens this section, Thundering Skies captures the idea of this section really nicely: let's ignore the fact that we have crossed the rubicon- the present and past are a confusing mess of events that we cannot help but look away from! nothing could possibly get worse, no.

Mickey Macaroni is the 2nd part of the story of the Child. at this point, the Child is clearly unaware of the severity of their situation. soon, the Child will go home and learn all that was unknown before. the Child expresses an angry innocence- Denial- about anything going on around them. they want whatever will call to mind a sense of familiarity and safety before they have to go "home".

Betty's Body is weirdly voyeuristic. Mr. Wonderful clearly longs for Betty, but Loss haunts him. he longs more deeply for Mother. his experience of Denial is that he does not face the fact that he misses her deeply, and he denies himself the possibility of Betty reciprocating his feelings- he cannot even imagine such a thing. he is more than shy, he's lonely. Betty reminds him of these feelings. so, he could never be her lover, or so he thinks.

My Brother Paul is, in my eyes, one of the most mainstream-sounding RZ tracks. ever. it has that vague storyline aspect that Caring has. they both seem to detail an experience of betrayal, but through different lenses. in this case, Mr. Wonderful experiences Denial by refusing to acknowledge the fact that, as far as i can tell, his brother was killed by someone he trusted, for that person's (possibly financial) gain. and he is being forced to accept that he has been betrayed.

Baja is silly skeleton island music and it threw me for a loop when i first heard it because i couldn't tap my foot to it. 10/10


The Three Metaphors

one would logically wonder where Anger, Bargaining and Depression lie in this album? well, here, i assume. they're all out of order and they all contain traces of each other.

The Beekeeper's Daughter would appear to have the withdrawn appearance of Depression. Ms. Wonderful focuses on the event that has made her so, so upset- a situation that she seemed to have been powerless in. the background has a chorus singing "Run, Daddy, run"- this sounds to me like her internal monologue as she reflects on it and possibly even relives it to no end. she experiences Anger here by trying to shut out others and bargaining by telling of how her father escaped his situation with a song- not something that seems realistic.

Quote
Leave me alone, I'm on the phone. I wish you'd only leave me alone.

she is not looking to work through what has happened. she wants only to be left alone to experience it in her mind in the hopes that she would be able to relieve herself of her sorrow.

Wolverines is a little bit more vague in nature, but still seems like it could be Anger. the description of children having their fingers bitten by seemingly harmless wolverine puppies evokes images of Anger, for sure. the adult animals trying to protect their young and failing due to those vulnerable members crying out invokes psychological imagery of attempts to protect the wounded self. but the wounded self, too, is not powerless or harmless. But to cause harm to either of those is not justified. through Anger, it may seem so. thus, Mr. Wonderful begs for forgiveness- placing the blame on something or someone else- the feeling, and by association- the Demon. and he experiences Bargaining through this. the experience of Depression is sung by the chorus:

Quote
No one succeeds if they scatter their seeds where the wind and the weeds are pleased.

there is no hope, apparently, for the wolverines. they have done just that- but so have the out of towners with their children.

Make Me Moo- here lies the beginning of the story of the Child, for us. something has occurred and the Child is now trying to find a way out of the hurt. that attempt, through wanting to be a cow, is the Child's experience of Bargaining.  the Anger and Depression are harder to trace on this track- though the former could hypothetically be found in the demanding tone of the chorus of the track and the latter can be found here:

Quote
My heart was broken, broken. Cows are so open, open.

it seems as if things only get worse from here on out for the Child.

Tongue

of course i would not neglect to mention Tongue. the story has a cyclical nature- similar to the cycle of grief. the same wound continues to be opened, allowed to heal, and reopened again. Tongue attracts people that, in the end, seem to be destroyed by his presence. despite this, he falls in love over and over, to the point where he does not know what to do. he is powerless in the face of the Demon- both his ability to attract and the inevitable death of those who he draws in.


Demons Dance Alone

this final track fits comfortably as an end to Neediness- the perception of the Demon as harmless, kind, almost sweet causing a painful, humiliating downfall. grief does not just leave if you play nice and treat it as a momentary experience- it seeps into every nook and cranny. and through isolation and confusion, it overstays its welcome. Mr. Wonderful tells of the hopelessness of his situation. in ignoring the truth of who and what the Demon is, it laid claim to his life. and so he dances alone.

7
RZ General Board / Re: DOUBLE TROUBLE!
« Last post by moleshow on September 17, 2017, 09:33:12 pm »
i feel as if i have the holy spirit in me as i watch this. that Dustin fellow there also played the Butcher for the Shadow Stories.

i get the sense that he MAY also be the fellow in e.17 of Randyland, though they could just be similar-looking. i just doubt that his name is Bucky, y'know?

also, this really has a very wonderful feeling to it- as if the Rz seeped into the world and were the undercurrent for all happenings.
8
Quote from: Robert Graves Goodbye To All That
"Since 1916, the fear of gas obsessed me: any unusual smell, even a sudden strong smell of flowers in a garden, was enough to send me trembling. And I could not face the sound of heavy shelling now. The noise of a car backfiring would send me flat on my face, or running for cover."


Nobody is genuinely honest about their life. Autobiography is the most polite lie. This is not an attempt to deprive Graves of a legitimate acknowledgement of his experiences in The Great War. Graves knew it as The Great War, since the Second World War had not happened and reformulated his life in service of History. Graves created an extensive mythographic body of work. In the final decade of his life, his memory was dissipating:


He spoke confidently and with conviction about his experiences with increasingly vast gaps in what he could say. Graves approached silence from tragedy over a lifetime by simply going on living. It was an aphasia of living.

Graves saw that War as being the change in Wars. In Good Bye To All That he began to speak of War as the accumulation of atrocities. He was not the last. For many people, of a certain age and a certain place of birth the stammering of Derek Jacobi delivering the words of Claudius were an introduction to Graves. It was a production that was rumoured to be cursed with multiple deaths in the real world. Graves was, it seems, stalked by an unsatisfied Death.

Graves had been declared dead. His lung and thigh and head injured from ordnance. His family had been told of his demise and it was only later they read in the Press that he was alive. Death was left unsatisfied by this, it seems, and stalked him until his dying day. He spent his days writing. Influencing the course of Modernism and generally not being given a Nobel Prize because Ezra Pound was alive. Of the sixteen War Poets commemorated on a slate stone on 11th November 1985, Graves was the only one living. On 7th December 1985, there were no War Poets left. Just a plaque which reads: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."

As a biography of Graves, Demons Dance Alone is thoroughly unreliable. While there are marvellously accurate references to Cows in Make Me Moo, for example, there seems little reference to real or metaphoric terror. Then, perhaps, all the songs unfold into the half formed cries of Demons, all dancing. Which, in Classical and Ancient Greece, was always a moment where the Deities would do something that compromised the mortal.

In Norse Mythology, Authumbla was a primeval cow:

Quote from: Snorri Sturluson Prose Edda
Then said Gangleri: "Where dwelt Ymir, or wherein did he find sustenance?"

Hárr answered: "Straightway after the rime dripped, there sprang from it the cow called Authumbla; four streams of milk ran from her udders, and she nourished Ymir."

Then asked Gangleri: "Wherewithal was the cow nourished?"

Harr made answer:
"She licked the ice-blocks, which were salty;
and the first day that she licked the blocks, there came forth from the blocks in the evening a man's hair;
the second day, a man's head;
the third day the whole man was there.
He is named Búri.

Demons Dance Alone is a parade of demons, all howling without really saying why. They are supernatural beings and owe nobody an explanation. Why would they: when explanations are given there is nothing but discord. Why would the Residents ask more of a demon than a dance. The danger, in summoning demons, is that you ask too much and they do deliver. They are the Cows of Pandemonium.

Like Robert Graves who seemed to be stalked by Death bearing a grudge - and unable to collect on the deal - until almost fifty wars later. The world becoming more and more capable of delivering corpses to Death as a mass production. Death, it seems has lost the nerve to simply swing the scythe:

Quote from: Ghost Child
She was neglected
But no one expected
She'd hold her breath for
Ever and ever

But not able to cull a single poet. Which is where the world changed - some time between the glorious wars of "History" and the vile atrocities of the present day. Which returns to a theme of Pandora's Box that recurs in the work of the Residents: the horrors are released and Hope is always, somehow, imprisoned. Perhaps to dance alone. Imagine a world in which Hope is not the cause of seeking a future which is desirable but simply opium tea to allow the amnesiac passage from Wartime to Poets' Corner without too much trouble. That World might find more in the dancing of demons than in the platitudes of words.

Which is where Demons Dance Alone invariably leaves me: contemplating why the howling emotions of one set of people is heard while that of another is silence. As though sound, itself, had become a Pandora's Box into which we lock the hopes of everyone but ourselves. It is not some kind of diatribe against America but against all those who would not listen to someone else. Who reduce the entire world to watching the demon dance.

Quote from: Make Me Moo
Why can't I
be a cow
Anyhow

Cows
never
cry

Which is where I always seem to end up with Demons Dance Alone. It is not there attempting to tell you what to think about the world. It is telling you to feel. Which could be, if feelings are genuine, far more difficult. Stoppering Pandora's vessel could be far harder and far more devastating when the Box is filled with emotions. The only emotion captured might not be related to Hope at all. It might be a demon.
9
RZ General Board / Re: DOUBLE TROUBLE!
« Last post by Meisekimiu 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!
10
RZ General Board / Ralph Records Vintage Video
« Last post by eskimo on September 13, 2017, 08:58:00 am »
Hi,

In 1999 Tec Tones released Vintage Video Volume One. It was packaged in A Ralph Video Volume 1 box with some added stickers with Vintage and some additional info on it. It contains video snippets from all Ralph Records releases up till 1999. Someone (Tom Timony?) holding up an item and saying what it is.
The background music is what I'm interested in. A sticker says its from Edgar Varese, Ennio Morricone and Walter (Wendy) Carlos.
Does anyone have more specific info on this background music? Titles etc?

Hope someone has answers!!
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10