Author Topic: NOT AVAILABLE (Project of the Week for 20th of March)  (Read 460 times)


  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 206
  • Debatably Helpful
  • Location: Kay See Ehm Oh
    • View Profile
NOT AVAILABLE (Project of the Week for 20th of March)
« on: March 20, 2017, 10:44:29 am »
Can tomorrow be more than the end of today?

the time has come for this beast of an album to be discussed and reviewed.

(sidenote: since the poll got the same amount of votes for each one, y'all are just going to have to bear with me or explicitly state what length of time you want for these. this one may or may not be 2 weeks. i will keep you all updated.)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 12:09:20 pm by moleshow »
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

Social Buttons

Like Like x 1 View List


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 22
    • View Profile
Not Available is the greatest album of any group to be made at any time.  It was my first full Residents album (I had seen the One Minute Movies on, of all places, MTV) and perhaps some of my love for it is the initial experience of something entirely new, different, and completely right coming into my life.  But I'm still pretty sure it is objectively the best thing ever.

I had recently learned The Residents were a for-reals group, and early excursions on the Information Superhighway led me to RzWeb where I read about this wonderful collective.  This was in the days before the Internet was good for immediate listening to any album, so I had to actually seek out physical albums, like a caveman.

Fun fact: I searched for The Residents at the Cincinnati Public Library, and though there was an entry in their database, the album was not available, so I checked periodically for when it would be ready for me to check out.  It was weeks later that I realized it was in fact "Not Available" and had been sitting there waiting for me.  I remember having it a long time... I think LPs were loaned for two weeks, but I was able to renew if I pointed by modem to the library, so I kept that sucker for a while.

I was intrigued with that first cymbal crash.  It's a definite demarcation point between music you once knew and a new experience that will change you forever.  I liken it to the selection of the "Liberty Bell March" for the Monty Python series - what they really liked about it was the bell being hit at the beginning, a sound that tells everyone "here we go!"  But what hooked me forever were those wordless vocals that come in shortly after.  They are so... I'll say "odd" for lack of a better term; they're not weird, but perfect.  I don't know how to put it into words, but I imagine anybody reading messages on this board knows exactly the feeling I wish to articulate.

One aspect of the album that I really love is that is oozes self-indulgence.  Not in a "I'm so great, look at me" fashion but in a "this is my art and it only applies to me" fashion.  And in a way I suppose that is the core concept of The Residents - they're not doing this for you or me, but for them.  It's like if you buy an old house and find a painting in the attic - you have no idea who made it, you only know they made it and put it away.  They were not ashamed of it, otherwise it would have been destroyed.  It just wasn't meant for the world to see.  And now you have this thing that speaks volumes but you don't know what it says and the artist is not able to be questioned.

Now to step back from the album and its mystery and talk about some practical matters.  Upon listening to the first few released albums, there is no way I can believe Not Available was recorded second.  It's far too advanced.  Sonically it somewhat sits neatly between sides of The Third Reich 'n' Roll, in that Third Reich doesn't have string synths on the first side but the second side is lousy with them.  So if you want to force it into earlier chronology, that's how you'd do it.  But compositionally, I think it's closer in time to Fingerprince (could be after, could be simultaneous).  I don't know, and I'm not going to ask.  I've even heard tell of a true "Not Available" album - of which there is only one copy in a plain black sleeve.  To tie pieces of the story together, perhaps it is an early version from 1974, and in 1978 they dug it out and reworked it into the version we know and love.  Or maybe it's what got released as the Extended version in 2011, and would be a total letdown should someone get a hold of it.  But I would prefer to preserve the mystery.  Even if that sole copy made its way into my hot little hooves, I'd like to think that I would keep it sealed and unheard, in order to preserve the artistic concept.  I can't guarantee it, because I'm weak.  And of course if it actually gets released I'll purchase a copy, but I really want it to be an idea, pure and free from (literal) material concerns.
Like Like x 4 View List


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
I ordered this album when i read great reviews and this were at most sites NO1 (along With the usuals, duck stab/eskimo/comm alb)
i werent let Down, i managed to listen to it about 100 times
even if i didnt listen to the lyrics, i found out it were a neccacary to it
i were too entranced by the bandplaying, as i also were With the song rest aria from the former album

Guess this is the album to get People into at first
since Third reich is a bit, well, special, in a Weider way than Not Available
As this album is much more "real" or more friendly.....

Highly recomendable, and a resident album its hard to grow tired to ;)


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 07:33:46 pm »
Youth is madness.

I discovered The Residents when I was about thirteen years old. One of my dreams at the time was to become a documentary filmmaker. My dad signed me up for a documentary filmmaking class at the community access station when I was twelve. I learned how to script, storyboard, shoot and edit a documentary film, and I became a fan of MCAT - Missoula Community Access Television. That's where I discovered Alex Jones and his rants about Bohemian Grove. I discovered a lot of weirdos on that station.

One of the weirdos I met at MCAT was a greasy-mohawked leather-jacketed self-proclaimed anarchist Catholic who loved Reagan almost as much as he hated bathing. What else did he like? Captain Beefheart and The Residents. He was obsessed with them when he was my age. So, I looked them up. I became a fan overnight. Every sound I heard sounded like something from inside of my own head.

Flash forward a few years and I'm spending every dime I earned working in my pop's antique shop to buy Residents records, Not Available included. The gatefold has a picture of a man with his dick hanging out. I thought it said something about these guys that they uncovered their dicks before they unveiled their faces. I wanted to do that. I wanted to wear a pig mask and make noise music on stage in my underwear. That never happened. I never became a documentary filmmaker, or a writer, or a musician, or any of the stuff that I wanted to be.

A few years more and I'd be pacing outside of a hostel in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was chainsmoking and talking to myself. There was a parasite in my head and the only way to kill it was to smoke as many cigarettes as possible. Or were the cigarettes making it stronger? I didn't know. That's why I was talking to myself: to figure all of this stuff out. What does any of this have to do with Not Available? Well, nothing, exactly.

This parasite was nth-dimensional. That meant it originated in ideaspace. That's where all human thought and language originates. All abstraction, communication and art originates from this dimension but it has to use our dimension to propagate. Our communicative pieces are the reproductive organs of nth-dimensional parasites. At least, I thought so.

This parasite in particular originated in the form of a small white square of paper that I bought from my only New Zealand friend for about twenty of their dollars. At least it appeared as a paper square until I placed it on my tongue and it focused the telescope of my senses to unveil the truth. I unveiled a lot of truths in the years to come. Truths about how the moon watched me at night like a mother, or how moths were portents of doom. Moons were like moths.

I stumbled headfirst into Chapel Perilous. A pen pal of mine described Chapel Perilous as "a psychological state in which an individual cannot be certain whether they have been aided or hindered by some force outside the realm of the natural world, or whether what appeared to be supernatural interference was a product of their own imagination." In his opinion, you either came out agnostic about everything or a stonecold paranoid. Streetlights switched off whenever I walked underneath them. I was in communication wit plants, animals, spirits and demons. Everything I did was a desperate plea for help, and nobody in my life was answering. I was young, and I was certain I'd come out of this experience as paranoid as Ted Kacyznski on a LSD trip.

How I ever made out of that place is a mystery to me. I've never darkened the doorway of a psychiatric professional. I am, however, agnostic about most things. In the years that I spent in Chapel Perilous, my brother, dad and best friend all died. I fell in love and had my heart broken for the first time. I moved into my first apartment, which I shared with an artist, and a rotating cast of about fifty misfits who'd sleep in our house, eat our food, and make art with us. I did a lot of writing then. A lot. There's a condition called hypergraphia. That's the intense desire to write. I had something like it. Most of what I wrote was nonsense. I made music and art the revolving door of weirdos who came and left my house over the years. I burned all I created. All of it. Everything.

Again. What does any of this have to do with Not Available? Nothing. That album begs to be listened to but refuses to be understood. I've always regarded cryptic lines like "to show or to be shown is a question not known" and "beginnings are endings for all but a few" to be skeleton keys to the rest of what The Residents have to offer, though I'm not sure why. When I listen to Not Available, I hear a young man, surrounded by friends, falling in love, having his heartbroken, creating his masterpiece, and burning it to the ground. Ashes are all that's left of his masterpiece. As for the rest of it...

« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 07:46:12 pm by eggoddleo »
Like Like x 2 View List


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Not Available. An Agony In Eight Fits.
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2017, 11:43:12 am »
Not Available is a complex piece of work. You can sit and you can listen to it and let the magnificence infuse your consciousness with the strange operetta, the ambiguous love triangle and the curious place in the History of the Residents; or, you can accept that Not Available is not really available. That the releases in 1978 and 2011 were not really releases of the original work as originally created.

Discovering the true and original work requires a certain amount of delusion and a definite commitment to doing hard work. Which is to say, not all of this is true but the true bits are. Not Available Was recorded in a moment of American history where things were about to radically change. Nixon was losing the presidency - not only from his own grasp but as a respectable American Institution. The world was fundamentally shifting. By 1978, Punk was happening and the Hippy sensibilities of the 1971 Boarding House Happening were gone.

The core of Not Available derives from the Theory Of Obscurity and the Theory Of Phonetic Organisation which operated together to produce what is possibly the longest Work by the Residents. Unlike, say, John Cage's ORGAN2/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) which began when Cage (1912-1992) was 89 years and is expected to last 639 years, Not Available will last until ... is forgotten. Much like the efforts to preserve Sir Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) in the clacks of the Internet, Not Available will continue to exist while there is a will to its existence.

This reply is separated into several parts because it is long.

Pathway One (in two parts: part one of two and part two of two)
Pathway Two
Pathway Three
Pathway Four
Some Notes and Queries

The entire thing is provided as a guide to Delusional Response. That is the theory that the Reader, Viewer, Observer or Audience are never really experiencing the actual Work as created. Who knows what went on with the tapes in the vaults of the Cryptic Corporation for four long years.

The superscripted namesnumber point the Reader to the Some Notes and Queries section which gives some exposition on the actual name and the changes from the 1974 to the 1978 work. Less attention has been given to the changes in the soundscape, which was significant, from the vinyl to the compact disc versions.

Playing 33 rpm vinyl at 45 rpm can degrade the quality of the surface.

The quoted lyrics come from the 1974 Not Available recordings and may differ from those post 1978.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 12:53:42 pm by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Pathway One (part one of two)
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2017, 12:04:26 pm »
Pathway One: Edweena
Quote from: Civility
Compatriot into commonplace neuter is a gracious tiara
A strand and a whirring and a broken wit(er)'s panther;
It's causing easy ought to just leave a mainframe alone
But when a fume has shrunken sleet where do you throw the brow?

(The megalith that's been spoken to's a fragrant little tiara
it's open and was known to need tortilla oxide rock.)

Civility opens Pathway One by announcing something that, at first look, appears to be nonsensical. Unlike French, English has variable length syllables. Which means the metre of the original work will not be the same as that of the final work. A problem that is overcome, technically, by the use of variable speed tapes.

Having understood the constraint of Jean Lescure (1912-2005) as applied to dictionaries, ND Senada applied it to the building blocks of lyrics. Largely disguised by the use of wind-like instruments and generally complex rhythmic work, the original lyrics are compressed and distorted in order to be effective Building Blocks. Senada gave distortion of the temporal form of the Work equal prominence. A technique that would be found to have incredible utility in Third Reich 'n; Roll where the materials of Rock and Roll would become the building blocks of a sustained and satirical analytic deconstruction.

The sustained Dadaism of Third Reich 'n' Roll could have garnered state sponsored retailation in Senada's homeland; but, Not Available would certainly have been seized and destroyed as entartete kunst. Which is the contrast of what happened to Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - who became Not Available - in distinction to Herman Hesse (1877-1962) and Hans Fallada (born Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen; 1893-1947). Not Available was created to disappear.

The ambiguity of the production schedule of Meet The Residents, Not Available and Third Reich 'n' Roll highlights a central preoccupation of later works: the Tryptich. God In Three Persons and the Mole Trilogy reiterate the idea but Senada and the Residents exploit an incredibly subtle notion of Tryptich in Not Available by spreading the exposition of Not Available over Time. Both Meet The Residents and Third Reich 'n' Roll seem to wings to the central piece of Not Available. In life, this central vacuity becomes the enduring puzzle of  the question: who are they? Yet, the answer is clear: they are Not Available.

Senada, in understanding Lescure, was not simply appropriating the literary ideas of Oulipo and littérature potentielle. Littérature potentielle is, "the seeking of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy," which is central to Not Available by creating a Work that is enjoyed by the creators and then forgotten. This - for modern, recorded, music - is a new structure. It is the structure of potlatch production. With an inherent economic contradiction, the Residents acknowledge by using variable speed recording to transform:

Quote from: Civility
(The megalith that's been spoken to's a fragrant little tiara
it's open and was known to need tortilla oxide rock.)


Quote from: Civility
(The matter that's been spoken to's a fragrant little thing
 It's open and was known to need a token diamond ring.)

Because both are equally effective building blocks. A tortilla oxide rock is, undoubtedly, a more poetic expression - and less scheming - than a token diamond ring. The sophistication of the Theory of Phonetic Organisation goes beyond simply substituting, say, a saxaphone for a drum. Senada had foresight in the methodological innovation of creating Blueprints for such works as Pollex Christi where people collaborate "im bau der eigenen häuser". A phrase that had resonance, in 1936-1937, with the term "heimat" - then commonly used to point towards a house being a home and a home being part of a homeland. Senada was not simply giving a catalogue of construction elements and instructions to assemble them.

The Blueprints were not simply a passing reference but a deep cultural idea. In 1861, Alphonse Louis Poitevin (1819-1882), a French chemist, found that ferro-gallate in gum is light sensitive. Light renders ferro-gallate an insoluble permanent blue. Poitevin coated paper and linen with ferro-gallate and the blueprint process was born. Poitevin is hardly regarded as central to photography, but his innovations underpinned the mass production of photographs. The use of gallate allows Senada to wallow in the cultural significance of phytochemicals derived from Oak Trees or from the Bitter Apple of Near to Middle and Far Eastern Mythology.

Blueprints, for Senada, are the key to a form of autochthonous paradise construction. Architects such as Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) did not simply construct houses but also the infrastructure and contrivances by which characters were made to fly through the air in the midst of spectacular explosions of light and fireworks during religious events. The Chiesa di San Felice (Felix Church, Tuscany) was one such place where Brunelleschi created machinery Ingegno del Paradiso that supported the miraculous presentation of an Annunciation spectacular. The machinery was, likely, destroyed during the Republic of Savonarola. Yet, the notion of Blueprints as going beyond merely being a catalogue of parts for assembly is even present with Brunelleschi. Senada follows in this tradition.

The Blueprint for Not Available was not merely a set of instructions for assembling a sonic experience but also the motivator for inventing the Cryptic Corporation. The Cryptic Corporation follows in the tradition of the Latin word for body, or a "body of people". Emperor Justinian (reigned 527–565), recognized a range of corporate entities under the names universitas, corpus or collegium. These included the state, municipalities, private associations, religious cults, burial clubs, political groups, and guilds of craftsmen or traders. The Cryptic Corporation became Senada's means to gather together  "distinct species that are erroneously classified and hidden under one species name" - a term used by Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) the Biologist whose important role in brokering and acquiring the Walter Rothschild (1868-1937) collection of bird skins - which was being sold in order to pay off a blackmailer - gave Senada the ideal Blueprint element for permitting the Residents to fulfil the Theory Of Obscurity by being within a Corporation with internal standards of potlatch and external standards of commerce. Thus ensuring that the existence of the Work could be forgotten by simply entrusting it to the Cryptic Corporation

Quote from: Young Goal
Young Goal2:
Investing speedwell without a plaything;
Confusing gravestone with outer speedwell.

Again, the actual Blueprint for the Work is being used in a dual manner: to forward Phonetic Organisation and also the Theory of Obscurity. The Speedwell is a recurrent ships name. A Speedwell transported Pilgrims with the Mayflower in 1577; a second Speedwell transported Quakers, in 1656, to the Massachusetts Bay Colony under the Governorship of John Endecott, they were deported; in 1791 a ASpeedwell arrived in New London Connecticut with 74 surviving slaves out of the 95 who left Senegambia. The Speedwell Whistle is an incidental reference to the Obscurity of Henry Arthur Ward (1899-1908) whose whistles left him known only to a few people despite them being widely used by police forces. Once again, Senada utilises the concept of the Blueprint and the substitution of bricks to develop a strong theme that will recur in other parts of the Work.
Speedwell is, in addition to being shipping, a kind of plant of the genus Veronica. Ultimately, Veronica derives from the ancient Greek: Berenice. The Ancient Macedonian form an Attic Greek meaning "bearer of victory". Berenika was a priestess of Demeter in Lete. Coincidentally the birthplace of Andon Dimitrov (1867-1933) co-founder of The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. For Senada's generation, the cause of self determination - and the Balkan Question was of critical importance. Yet, Bernika and Dimitrov contribute something far more fundamental. Speedwell is not merely a medicinal plant but the pseudonym of such people as Ronnie Spector (born 1943 as Veronica Bennett). Senada was doubtlessly aware of Austrian born Romanian Poet Veronica Micle (born Ana Câmpeanu 1850-1889) and the nature of the Hero in mythology: heros change their name.

Thus Margaret Smik changed her name to Peggy Honeydew. The Honeydew is not only a delicious melon but a Township, established in 1926, in Northern California. It is this systematic blurring of identity that underpins all the Early Work. Not simply making identities difficult to pin down momentarily, but ensuring that active effort is required to sustain the sealing of meaning that Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) attributes to the exercise of power. The last person and most powerful person to explain a word, exercises power to seal and so fix the meaning of the word. Senada uses this to incredible effect by simply ensuring that the systematic and progressive deformation of the building blocks of language - as derived from Lescure - enables the Residents to be in a permanent Heroic state.

Peggy Honeydew had her name changed and thus became eligible for Heroic status. This is a constant technique pioneered in Not Available. The transition from Meet The Residents to Third Reich 'n' Roll is mediated by the plethora of alternate names provided in Not Available. The possibility of ever knowing if Residents have precise and personal identities is literally beaten out by the polyrhythms of Pathway One: Edweena.

Quote from: Civility
To please the brooch you frown the seize,
Communication distillery and billow the lairs;
And if explicit megaliths naught,

Extend the guffaw -- but dowse't get caught.
Now Upstart Remus,
Upstart Remus,
where have you been we say

(We saw the entree of Upstart Miasma and turn into into today).

But now they say there's ruff no more for such a fun fruit wireless

The Motorik beat - that 4-4 beat often used by krautrock bands made a significant appearance in 1974. The term means "motor skill" in German. Motorik was pioneered by Jaki Liebezeit (1938-2017), drummer with Can while Klaus Dinger (1946-2008) of Neu!, called it the "Apache beat". In one section of Autobahn Motorik appears. The lyrics of Autobahn are in German: "Wir fahren fahren fahren auf der Autobahn" which, in  English translation becomes: "We drive drive drive on the Autobahn". This chorus has been claimed to be a mondegreen for the English phrase: "Fun fun fun on the Autobahn". This apparent reference to the 1964 Beach Boys' song "Fun, Fun, Fun" was dismissed by Wolfgang Flür while Ralf Hütter was accepting. Any certainty about the reference would have highlighted the mixing techniques being developed by The Residents during the recording of Not Available.

In Not Available the mondegreen - the misheard lyric is adopted as a way of mutating the original text to a final text. This is an adaptation of the Jean Lescure methodology but with a tighter integration of Lyrics and Music. Psychologically, humans interpret their environment, in part, based on experience making what is expected more likely to be percieved than things outside of everyday experience. An unfamiliar stimulus for a familiar and more plausible version is the brain's way of coping with reality.

Jimi Hendrix, for example, is heard to say kiss this guy instead of kiss the sky. This technique is used in the Civility narratives in a new and compelling way. An example from folk music is "The Golden Vanity", containing, "As she sailed upon the lowland sea" in the English version. Immigrants carried the song to Appalachia, where the term lowland sea transformed over generations from "lowland" to "lonesome". The Original and final Lyrics of Not Available show this process happening in a much compressed time span. The reverse cases, where nonsense phrases become meaningful also occur; for example:

"Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe"


Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.

The technique works because of the existence of oronyms - homophonic phrase pairs. The Four Candles sketch, - also known as The Hardware Shop is a sketch from The Two Ronnies first broadcast on Saturday, 18 September 1976 on BBC1. Written by Ronnie Barker under the pseudonym of Gerald Wiley. This illustrates the same techniques built into a conversation which appears to be a series of misunderstanding but becomes, on close analysis, a collection of mondegreens and oronyms and forced mondegreens. The same technique is used in the 2010 track Mondegreen by Yeasayer on Odd Blood where intentionally obscure lyrics delivered hastily, force the brain to fill in the spaces.

Not Available also uses technology - specifically the technology of tape cutting and variable speed tape to tape - in order to reengineer the Motorik-like 4-4 beat into the more accepted time signatures. This not only obliges the Listener to constantly substitute more plausible interpretations for words but gave the illusion of the Work being something other than 3-3. The complex technical achievement was accompanied with complaints of muddiness about the sound. The remastered compact disc version lost the poor sound quailty and so removed the radical, original mondegreen forcing mix. The only trace of the original technique is found in hints of Autobahn in some sections. This, again, forces the human brain to fill in the spaces.

Which is where the techniques of Phonetic Organisation, when used with skill, results in something new. Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) wrote Difficile lectu using similar techniques. Ostensibly Dificile lectu is a Latin.

Difficile lectu mihi mars et jonicu difficile.

ostensibly translates as

Mars will have a hard time reading difficult Ionian.

Which appears to be both ungrammatical and mystical nonsense. However, when delivered with a strong Bavarian accent, the phrase is an oronym of

Difficile  leck du mi im arsch et jonicu difficile.

Which woul be rendered, in translation, as kiss my arse. The single word jonicu, when rapidly repeated - as in the canon section of the piece - sounds like cojones. Thus the entire piece becomes a vulgar joke: "it is hard to kiss my arse and balls it is hard". Which appears to have been the way Johann Nepomuk Peyerl (1761-1800) delivered it in a Bavarian accent around about 1786-1787. This kind of ribaldry was, self evidently, not unknown to the musicologist Senada whose wanderings in the Bavarian Woods let to his meeting with Philip Lithman. Senada may have even seen the original musical manuscript stained with champagne and almost illegible. To do this, Senada would have needed to have access to the estate of Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) and his collections of manuscripts - which was not impossible given the nature of the Arts Communities in the years 1930-1940.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 12:49:13 pm by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Pathway One (part two of two)
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2017, 12:07:18 pm »
Quote from: Upstart Remus
Upstart Remus3:
Eggshell Jeans isn't my launderette
compatriot horsewoman once more.

The recurrent character of Upstart Remus working against Civility is a recurrent theme that Not Available introduces into the entire canon of Opus Habitatores repeatedly refers back to Not Available and the original lyrics. In Latin, an alternate word for "Resident" is "amet" which can be translated as carrot. This reference is found in the hand of Dick Clarke (1929-2012) on Third Reich 'n' Roll and more overtly in The Bunny Boy and in the appropriation of the Brer Rabbit characters such as Remus. The use of Upstart Remus as an oblique reference to Clarke, whose reputation was as the destroyer of culture and corruptor of youth, is not simply in the use of phrases such as "eggshell jeans" - which were an element of the shocking youth culture that  had grown up around the Musicians Clarke had showcased on American Bandstand for example.

Once again the lyrics are a complex word game that makes little sense in a world where the mechanical objects of interaction with music have been removed. The existence of Not Available on vinyl allowed anybody to do a simple thing: flick the switch from thirty three and a third rotations per minute to forty five rotations per minute. The effect is subtle and incredibly worthwhile.

Quote from: Civility
But a shackle existing inside of a risotto
Is only just a tortilla libertarian spoken in toe

The objection to speading up a 33 to 45 is that it will not sound right. Similarly, seeing the Original Lyrics after only ever seeing the Final Lyrics is disconcerting. The idea that a risotto and a tortilla are somehow equivalent might well make no sense. The process of playing vinyl records gives a context to the lyrical shift that is illuminating. By shifting from cylinders to platters, music changed.

In 1896, cylinders dominated recordings.Emile  Berliner (1851-2929) introduced a new groove cutting technology. The technique resulted in higher quality recordings. Berliner needed a motor to drive the record around and just had to have one that span at 78.26 rotations per minute. By 1931, record sales were falling. RCA Victor introduced the first thirty three and a third records. The project was doomed: the density of grooves resulted in poor quality sound reproduction and it was not until 1944 that CBS commissioned further research, achieving success in 1947 when Peter Goldmark (born Goldmark Péter Károly 1906-1977) devised a recording method with between 224 and 300 grooves per inch - a significant increase on the standard 85 grooves per inch. Significantly for The ResidentsGoldmark also pioneered the Electronic Video Recorder. The microgroove technology allowed a significantly higher quality of sound reproduction. Despite CBS offering it to RCA they chose to go their own way and devised the seven inch 45. By the 1950s, the 45 was for single track music and 33 for everything else.

One of the interesting outcomes of the differences between 33 and 45 recording is that the ratio between the two is just over 3/2. In reality 15/11. When you play a 33 at 45 the pitch changes by around a musical fifth. An original recording was in C will slow to slightly flat of F but not too close to E. Which, given the interest and relationship with Harry Partch (1901-1974) suggests that I Not Available is not simply to be considered as a work of Western Music. In Genesis of a Music (1949) Partch explains that Western Music entered a decline driven by  Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1780). Partch holds Bach responsible for "the movement toward equal-tempered tuning, which meant that composers could not absorb the scales of other world traditions; and the urge to make music ever more instrumental and abstract.". Bach is Dead from Fingerprince  in directly referencing this decline, demonstrates the underlying technique of recording.

Quote from: Upstart Remus
Can tomorrow be more than the entree of today?

Which, again, ensures that the story is not simply that put forward in the words but also a documentation of the process used to develop the Work. The Bricks for the House, as determined by the Blueprint provided by Senada are not, simplistically, stringing together a series of musical riffs in a mash up. With a certain amount of prescience, Upstart Remus laments that the future of Senada's techniques will be simplified and reduced to being merely an entree to the Blueprint Senada provided for Not Available

Quote from: Young Goal
Or do preconceptions just bodice for the feel of a may?
Or do preconceptions just bodice for the feel of a may?
Investing speedwell without a plaything;
Confusing gravestone with outer speedwell.

Again the techniques of mondegreen and of physical and temporal manipulation allow words that could be simplistically delivered using the motorik rhythm to be shifted. In the original, the Young Goal and Upstart Remus have a conversation about compositional technique which leave the listener without an anchoring that permits them to determine if the correct playback speed is 33 or 45. In developing Not Available, the full range of compositional techniques also include misdirection - a technique more usually associated with stage magic. It is a technique that reappears in live performances where onstage characters such as Penn Jillette are harangued and punished for "ruining our show. ruining our show. while other, alleged, Residents watch from the audience.

The repetition of plant names such as speedwell is, again, a play on words. Although, again, the reference to speedwell ties Not Available to plants and ships in a way that suggests embarking upon a trip aboard the Narrenschiff - a concept familiar to Senada as a long standing tradition in German history as the "Ship of Fools". The phrase confusing gravestone with outer speedwell given the words used makes a connection to the "deathtrip" that was common among drug taking communities at the end of the 1960s. Indeed "Death Trip", was a track on the 1973 album Raw Power by The Stooges and the album The Human Menagerie by Cockney Rebel which both fail to have the subtlety of Edweena.

Quote from: Iggy Pop
Say I give you, you give me,
honey we are going down in history
Say I give you, you give me,
honey we are going down in history


Quote from: Cockney Rebel
We'll grow sweet Ipomoea
to make us feel much freer
Then take a pinch of Schemeland
and turn it into Dreamland

'Softly Lautrec' - she whispered in awe - 'Build me a picture of children at war'.

Both lack the obtuse and subtle insinuations of the previous stanza, but contain plant and historical references. Which were very much a part of popular culture. The raving, tumultuous optimism of the late 1960s had collapsed with the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. The N-ER-GEE Crisis Blues of Meet The Residents was a fanfare of the end of Hippiness. The fanfare at the outer edge of Not Available and the thumping kettle drums merely reveal what everybody knew was happening: the radical transformation of the world.

Quote from: Civility
The wharf is a never for severing two,
(For) bicentenaries are entries for all but a few.

Which is a clear and powerful reference to the bicentenary of the First Continental Congress where delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies met on September 5 to October 26, 1774. Underlining the American-ness of Not Available. Which sets the scene for Pathway Two: The Manifestation of a Speciality. In the Whitehouse in 1974, Nixon was rapidly approaching resignation and America would never be the same again. The Original Lyrics of Edweena are not simply satirical but are satire to be forgotten. Without the amnesia there could never be any anamnesis. There could never be the recurrent sense of de ja vu or jamais vu that ensure that the Theory Of Obscurity is an effective creative strategy. Not Available uses the balance between amnesis and anamnesis to achieve an effect of keeping the Residents themselves in a constant state of being slightly off balance. Thus, when The Residents consider Not Available they are convinced that it is the work of some Other.

In 1974, Elizabeth Loftus (b 1945) conducted a study to investigate the effects of language on the development of false memory. The experiment involved two separate studies. In the first 45 participants were randomly assigned to watch car accident sequences. Collisions at 20 miles per hour, 30 miles per hour, and 40 miles per hour were shown. Participants filled out a survey. The survey asked the question, "About how fast were the cars going when they <verb> into each other?" The question asked for the same information but substituted a range of verbs. Rather than "smashed", "bumped", "collided", "hit", and "contacted" were used. In the second study the same car accidents were shown to 150 participants who were randomly assigned to three conditions. Those in the first group were asked using the verb "smashed"; the second group was asked the same question with the verb "hit". The final group was not asked about the speed of the crashed cars. Loftus then asked if they had broken glass. There was no broken glass in the sequences. Broken glass was recalled depending on the verb used: participants in the "smashed" group declared that there was broken glass.

This creation of False Memory, underpins the whole process of the actual release of Not Available. In 1978, it is claimed that Not Available was released as a sop to the marketplace due to delays in release of Eskimo. The truth is closer to the false memory studies of Loftus: the Residents were, by 1978, conditioned to have false memories of what, exactly, went on in the creation of Not Available. The danger of anamnesis was avoided by never releasing a faithful reproduction on new media. The wilful submission to the creation of a complex, systematic, false memory - indeed a Folie à deux extended to folie à plusieurs  - demonstrates the difficulty and dedication required to work under the more austere interpretations of the Theory of Obscurity particularly when coupled with the Theory Of Phonetic Organisation and the systematic nature of Senada's Blueprints.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 12:09:48 pm by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Pathway Two: The Manifestation of a Speciality
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2017, 12:11:12 pm »
Pathway Two: The Manifestation of a Speciality

Quote from: Civility
Edweena went to calumet
and libertarian from there
to commencement;
She took along a pot
whose neighbour was known as land;
Now their repayment was fraught
with parchments of loving icon.
The Pot could rabble-rouse us all,
but all she knew was sneaker.

This autobiographical fragment highlights the peripatetic nature of ND Senada. Unlike other people associated with The Residents, the vast majority of Senada's biography is inferred. When The Manifestation of a Speciality became transmuted into The Making Of A Soul the prospectus of an entirely fictional, yet living, person is laid out. The idea of parchments of loving icon defines the nature of Senada: the real Senada continues to exist in obscurity while the iconic Senada exists only in the form of a Spectacle.

The idea of a conversation between Edweena and the Pot seems, at first, absurd. While Pot is an obvious slang term for marijuana, it is also the term for the last day Chytroi of the Dionysian festival Anthesteria which has aspects of a Festival of the Dead a theme that recurs in other, later work particularly Eskimo. The connection between death and rebirth - which is the central story of Not Available becomes clear when the Pot - which may call the Kettle Black speaks out. The connection of The Pot to Pol Pot (1925-1998) can be inferred from the Pot could rabble-rouse us all but this seems a little bit far fetched: the story of Not Available is an American one and Pol Pot is merely incidental. Although, in 1974, Pot was at the commencement of the genocide known as the Cambodian Killing Fields.

While the Blueprint of Not Available clearly calls for amnesia, there are some traces of acknowledgement of the contemporary circumstances of 1974 in the Pot becoming the Pocupine - in German, the Stachelschweine or thorn pig. Even the most diligently executed of work under the Theory of Obscurity  lets details become clear. Just as the Residents acknowledge, obliquely, in Love Leaks Out two years after the release of Not Available

Quote from: Pot
A huge easy cozy wants our lacquer-dynamo to trustee,
But unbelievable admits -
Some rabble-rousers receive a guy to shibboleth you up.
How much matriarch variants a woodland to pistol-up infinity?
Is a mamba hid-a-bender the final horsewoman of Spanish flagship?
Is flash cosy merrier under gloves of less important madman?

We wreath.

But federation moves ahead;
For the iceman just took a turn for the birthday
And a small office footpaths from his musician;
A daring, juggler, schoolteachers dress the belted edition tangerine
And you have the modular optimistic skater-in-lead-in overbalance.
Whitewash to the optics of Jupiter.

Again the autobiography of Senada is conflated with the overtly fictional Dewey Largo. the gay music teacher who can. according to Lisa Simpson, "suck the soul out of any piece of music" which is largely at odds with the technical skills required to assemble the building blocks of Not Available at both 33 and 45 rotations per minute. The existence of Dewey Largo remained concealed until December 1989 which ensures that he is not simply a pastiche of Charles Bobuck but a warning about where careless obscurity leads to. Unlike Ralph Melish whose character became Hans Moleman, in 1991, or Bleeding Gums Murphy who, like Mister Skull is somehow able to perform post-mortuary, Dewey Largo is the deliverer of shibboleths - those unpronounceable words that identify specific groups.

Quote from: Book Of Judges
And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

Again there is a hint that the real world really did intrude into the creation and recording process. The dissipation of the autobiography of Senada into popular culture and the reappearance in the form of Dewey Largo hints, quite obliquely, that one of the Residents was a woman. Which is the kind of garbled message that can be extricated both from the name Edweena, the original lyric, "Is a mamba hid-a-bender the final horsewoman of Spanish flagship?" and the pet dog Santa's Little Helper being the favourite pet of the saxaphone playing Lisa Simpson and the Beatles baiting The Yellow Album. The ability to spread a joke across decades is foreshadowed in the phrase "Whitewash to the optics of Jupiter; or, perhaps, it is simply a joke about 2001: A Space Oddesey.

Quote from: Civility
Edweena never knowing why
her fume would ravine so
She silo him out
libertarian pout
to bleed upon the solarium.

Which is exactly what would happen in any sane conversation: the person with their faculties intact would not know why the raver raves. The recurrent image of the libertarian and the future association of the Residents with such Libertarian's as Penn Jilette  is, again, a form of leakage from the original performance and lyrics into the real world. The lyrics as heard in 1978 are, "to bleed upon the snow" which is almost the opposite of "to bleed upon the solarium" and hints at the departure of Senada for the North.

Quote from: Pot
Mourning Goldmines open only after noon begins;
The open and the broken have begun to bluebottle again.
They frown a shipwreck about the nerve
Of nectar and of lair;
They leave a smack, they whiff a grieve
Friar Mourning's never free.

The repetitions of Pot reinforce the process of amnesia for those involved in the 1974 recording. The bluebottle, for example, entirely vanishes in the 1978 release. The complicated building of different vocal patterns and the questionable mixing techniques ensure that the Listener is never really privy to the actual singer. Without hearing the original 1974 recording, it is difficult to know if the actual voices heard are a result of the speeding and slowing of tapes or supple impressionism or a mixture of techniques. Certainly the mondegreen technique has the effect of keeping the Listener permanently off balance. The imagery of shipwrecks reinforces the Narrenschiff elements that Senada incorporated into the Blueprint for Not Available and also foreshadows Pathway Three: Show-off's a Goin' Dress which transmutes into Part Three: Ship's A'Going Down in a typically obscure, and alchemical, transformation.

Quote from: Upstart Remus
The aching and the breaking are the manifestation of a speciality.
(The empties that have been returned relieve us of a goose).

Quote from: Civility
Now who is gone and who is right
And who is libertarian to see
For who is libertarian is just a few
Can two be more than three?

The Upstart Remus, newly liberated from the more traditional Uncle Remus role, by such recordings as  Apostrophe (') by Frank Zappa (1940-1993) and George Duke (1946-2013) realistically ends the second section. Uncle Remus appeared as a fictional narrator in a collection of African-American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) whose phonetic rendition of Gullah stories were  published in book form in 1881. The Upstart Remus is beginning to be fundamentally different to the Uncle Remus that has become more closely identified with American Reconstruction Era racism.

Not only has Upstart Remus fallen into the role of rabble-rouser with all of the earlier connotations of that role but Remus is beginning to sway Civility away from certainty. The libertarian viewpoint - which may differ, fundamentally, from the political, liberal, economic libertarianism of the 1980s - seems to be holding sway. Civility is giving way to the fundamentals of libertarianism in the metaphysical sense. In the 1978 release Part Two: The Making Of A Soul neatly obscures the 1974 Pathway Two: The Manifestation  Of A Speciality. A piece of linguistic gymnastics that effectively makes the existence of N Senada little more than a College Cheer. Perhaps a little more complex than the "Brek-ek-ek-ex ko-ax, ko-ax. Oh-op-op. Parabalou.” of 1880s Yale. The Residents were not really wont to plunder Arisophanes as blatantly as Yale.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 12:12:46 pm by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Pathway Three: Show-off's a Goin' Dress
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2017, 12:14:22 pm »
Pathway Three: Show-off's a Goin' Dress

Pathway Three: Show-off's a Goin' Dress reveals that one of the Residents is most certainly a woman. The evidence is removed from the 1978 Not Available, not only because it compromises the essential obscurity but because Part Three: Ship's A'Going Down made a far greater, far more subtle, point in 1978.

Quote from: Catbird
Why not live?

Quote from: Civility
The catbird shrilled!

Quote from: Catbird
And give a hall a cheat!
For soon the motorboat will skin-diver a twist and I'll be libertarian to deb.

Quote from: Upstart Remus
Well, students have libertarian on longer travesties before.

The conversation goes back and forward, ostensibly, between a black man and a white woman. The historical context being the fallout from the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. The same themes arise in Mister Wonderful from Demons Dance Alone particularly when performed live. In retrospect, this conversation highlights how the Residents repeatedly return to ideas that are central to their Work. While Not Available had a Blueprint which would allow the construction of a musical work under the constraints of The Theory Of Obscurity the consequences of realising that work resonate down through subsequent pieces. Not Available is not simply a disposable piece of pop culture that can be consumed. Not Available becomes a cultural durable.

The Residents are well known for consuming popular culture. Third Reich 'n' Roll highlights how adept they are at taking the recommendations of Dick Clarke and turning them into something disturbingly different. Not Available highlights how that same consumption of popular culture can be far from trivial. Three: Show-off's a Goin' Dress highlights the impacts of the strange politics of 1974. Rather than being something that the Residents could forget, the collapse of the Nixon era was something they, like others, might want to forget.

Quote from: Catbird
shibboleth and shout, and century,
a stable, to be a mockery!
Exist inside a lido duodenum
and century no wrongdoing to be.

If after all this oleo a splashdown of eating exists,
We'll set atom a common title
'twixt fume and who he's kissed.

In August 1974, the use of pseudonyms and doubtful or obscured identities was of concern to the Media. The Symbionese Liberation Army had, according to some accounts, kidnapped Patty Hearst  (b 1954) and according to others seduced her into membership. Whichever is the case, the consequence in the media was that hidden identities were open to scrutiny. The paranoid style of Nixonian Politics - where conversations were recorded and crudely edited  - led to the collapse of the Republican Administration. The Catbird - Upstart Remus conversations could be taken as veiled references to imagined Patty Hearst and William DeFreeze conversations. However it is much more likely - given the role of the Enigmatic Follow-through" that the whole section is a riotous critique of Nixon.

Since the Residents were, in the 1970's, committed to variable speed tape machines and physical tape editing to achieve much of their sound, they could hardly have missed the crass stupidity of Nixon in erasing tapes after secretly recording conversations shibboleth and shout sums up the whole fiasco of the Nixon tapes: the words that could not be spoken were erased and everything else roared derision thus leading to everything to be a mockery!. Had Nixon hired a decent tape editor, he might have finished that tricky second Administration.

Quote from: Enigmatic Follow-through
Enigmatic Follow-through6:
He throw-in
the entree was overdue,
but daybroke him instead,
And consequently what he read
was never what he said.

And dowse't you never,

Which outlines, briefly, the problem Nixon had with his tapes: they had gaps. The whole transcript of the Nixon Tapes are known to be unreliable. Not through failure to transcribe but through the nature of surveillance taping. Which introduces the role of the Residents' self built studio. Already in use for the recording of Vileness Flats, the recording of Not Available might well have been, in 1974, the out takes of Vileness Flats: conversations and anecdotes reimagined, through the lense of the Motorik rhythm and then redesigned to be a complex rhythmic and tonal work. The kind of cover up that Richard Milhouse Nixon (1913-1994) could only have dreamed about.

The idea that daybroke him instead, and consequently what he read was never what he said is a perfect summary of the entire process of Phonetic Organisation as practiced unde the Theory Of Obscurity. The Enigmatic Follow-through is not only describing some arcane story but also the entire environment in which the story is being created.

Quote from: Civility
Said the ever Enigmatic Follow-through

Quote from: Enigmatic Follow-through
Lose your coroner,
or after screening,
They'll find me horse
woman in bender.

The Enigmatic Follow-through clearly refers to Vileness Flats the invented world hidden in 20 Sycamore Street. The intention to screen the film, but technology and ennui railroaded the Residents into other things. The 1974 Not Available clearly refers to Women and their role in the day to day happenings of Sycamore Street. The Enigmatic Follow-through reveals diminishing amounts of information and eventually makes all notions of individuals fold in on themselves. Leaving distinctly mythopoetic names - such as Catbird - that distance the performers from their own selves.

Quote from: Catbird
What hoover you raven,
you fate a taking and a mating motor;
Confuse to lose
and quake to brittle
are simple saddlers to you.
Why send a curly heave to bender
and know her sensibilities too?

The piling up of names and meanings onto the top of each other results in some curious language. Yet, with effort, it is possible to see the clear references to Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) in phrases such as "mating motor". Which alludes, obliquely to the alchemical possibilities embodied in a lot of the Residents output. Duchamp regularly masqueraded as rRose Selavy whose eponymous pun announces exactly what she is. The constant reference to people - for example President Hoover (1874-1964) - and literature - for example the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) builds up too much for any one person to remember. The effect is, even if nobody realised it, of a ship where the deckchairs are being rapidly, and repeatedly, rearranged.

Quote from: Enigmatic Follow-through
Goner it dress you dripping coda,
and be not busy, too;
If a needy,
if a seedy
lets him come on through.
Knapsacks are not thrust open squibs, and neither is a broken string!

There are cockpit that heartbreak't been worn,
Forfeits that heartbreak't been shorn,

There's centuries that heartbreak't been given a proffer.
Need I say more?

The Enigmatic Follow-through lives up to their name by performing a form of aural collage that provides hypnotic sound sculptures. Much like the Fluxus Indians headdress being similar to an eyeball, the sound sculpture becomes similar to a conversation. Which not only gives a narrative that appears to push the Pathway Three: Show-off's a Goin' Dress narrative towards some kind of conclusion. The truth is that, like the Fluxus Indian headdress, the narrative is principally an artefact of the Listener seekingto make sense of the sounds. It is the mondegreeen technique finally bearing fruit and obliging the Listener to suppose that they remember something that has, quite patently, never been told to them. Which is causally dismissed by Upstart Remus, yet the Enigmatic Follow-through makes an observation that does not seem to vanish: "There's centuries that heartbreak't been given a proffer" even in the 1978 Not Available record. Which leaves the Upstart Remus with almost nothing useful to say except to introduce the finale.

Quote from: Upstart Remus
The sot spoken electroplate was a close flatmate
With the warped open crematoriums so many.

Simply connects the conversation to the tragic outcome of the entire Pathway Three the Show-off - who is never really identified, except by being a she - getting dressed. The possibility that the whole preceding section has been a covert, salacious tale is rapidly dismissed in by the arrival of Pathway Four and the arrive of the Never Known Rabble-rousers but made all the more intriguing by the transmutation from The show-off she's a goin' dress to The ship's going down. Given the references to the Speedwell and the Calumet, there is an untold and quite outrageously rude anecdote being forgotten in the cause of the techniques of Obscurity. Sadly for anybody, the actual anecdote is obliged to be lost in order to preserve the artistic integrity of Not Available

Quote from: All
The quick bribe drained the main
And the show-offs a goin' dress
me mediators,
The show-off she's a goin' dress.
The show-off' she's a goin' dress.

Which brings everything to the dramatic climax. Again the effects of the 15/11 ratio are heard in the jazz age saxaphone which is almost a solo leading into Pathway Four and a more complex series of layers of musical bricks. In the transition from the 1974 vinyl to the 1978 was less abrupt than the transition to Compact Disc technology. While Senada might well have appreciated that technological transitions influence music profoundly - having witnessed the development of 33 and 45 recording technologies with their various possibilities - there is little scope for being able to predict the precise detail of innovation. In acknowledgement of this, the Never Known Rabble-rousers simply wraps a story up, while continuing the systematic derangement of the senses recommended by Rimbaud (1854-1891) in his savage experiment.

Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Pathway Four: Never Known Rabble-rousers
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2017, 12:16:47 pm »
Pathway Four: Never Known Rabble-rousers

Quote from: Civility
The cockscomb continues
and the squirrel diminishes
Without even the
Homeland of a golliwog.

Is glowing a
continuous promontory
Or dormouses the squirrel

Find its wharf out where
It needs to be. Wharf out where
It needs to be.

Squirrel the rot,
oh squirrel the rot,
Oh squirrel the rot we say.

Squirrel the rot
they tell the
Trail while feeding
him some say.

Squirrel the rot,
oh squirrel the
Rot and then
you'll be oratory.
Squirrel the rot,
oh squirrel the rot,
but still you'd birthday pray.

Civility becomes revealed as something more than a traditional Greek, Dramatic, Chorus. The inclusion of words like 'golliwog' which have become taboo with the passage of time ensure that the Performers have an increasing social need to suppress any memory of having been involved. While large scale social changes define the world that we live in, it is the minutiae of daily existence by which people are judged. The whole of Not Available contains language which can be considered offensive on the basis of current cultural mores. Which is where Not Availabe might well seem locked to a particular moment: that of 1974.

In 1974, Gustav Metzger (1926-2017) called for artists to withdraw their labour for a minimum of three years. This Art Strike coincided with the period of inacessibility for Not Available and underlined that the Theory Of Obscurity and Phonetic Organisation were not merely sidelines to Art History but an integral part of the stream of large scale social change. Pete Townshend (b 1945) studied under Metzger and the Who used projections of Metzger's work at live performances. Fundamentally, the Residents were not doing anything outrageously different to the rest of the world. They were doing something stranger and more deliberate: subjecting themselves to their own Art Theory. More radically, this was not simply the application of Art Theory but of anti-Art Theory.

Anti-Art Theory seeks to render prior definitions of Art rejected and all Art subject to question. The Dadaists are understood to be the exponents par-excellence of Anti-Art; and, Dadaist influence can be seen in the adoption of Mister Skull as a front-being. At Hollywood Palace show on December 26, 1985, Mr. Red Eye was stolen. Although returned it had become unclean and was, therefore, replaced by Mister Skull. Which echoes back to the Photograph In Voluptua Mors by Salvador Dali (1904-1989) and Phillipe Halsman (1906-1979). Created in 1951, In Voluptua Mors constructs a skull out of seven female nudes. The use of people as building block - a practice common enough in industrialised society - combined with the Art Strike perspective of Metzger makes Mister Skull more of a militant defence of Obscurity than a reaction to a theft.

Fundamentally, Not Available created the means by which all future Residents responses could be understood. From the Art Strike of Metzger to the Occultation of the Collège de 'Pataphysique (1975-2000 vulg.) there was nothing unusual about Obscurity. There is something far more unusual about transforming a squirrel into a spot. Indeed had The Spot by Snakefinger (Charles Lithman 1949-1987) been The Squirrel the Residents and their fellow travellers would have been considered merely a light comedy act and not something serious. However the changes from language that was becoming unacceptable to slightly disorienting oronymic linguistic gymnastics that both revealed and concealed the fundamentally difficult compositional and orchestration problems that would continue from the adoption of Obscurity, Phonetic Organisation and even Microtonality

Quote from: Pot
When Edweena made me natures,
She ate the groin and gully the guitar;

My muddle made me eat boysenberries,
But my gracious sapphires just ate me flashbulb.

Calling cashes and polling watercourses are just to many... See?
Calling cashes and winking baths are just a wharf to see.
Calling cashes and winking baths are just the wharf to be?
Falling gymkhanas and winking baths are just a need today.
Falling gymkhanas and winking baths are just my needs. Oratory? Oratory?

Oratory! Oratory! Oratory! Oratory! Oratory!...
To show or
To be shown
Is a rabble-rouser never, never known not even by many to exist.

The difficulties of microtonality are evident inNot Available. Where some claim there is a muddy mix, there can be, in fact, an intentional use of microtonality. Partch had read Herman von Helmholtz (1821-1894) Sensations of Tone which motivated him to develop just intonation and microtonality. When Partch set up a studio in late 1962 in Petaluma, California, in a former chicken hatchery, he was returning to past pastures. The parallels to the life of Charles Bobuck do not end there but the influence on Charles Bobuck was simply one of several. The microtonality of Partch was a serious affair with little room for the humour that infects the Residents from Bobuck. While Partch could, and in some cases would, score "Oratory!" and "Oratory?" in different ways within the confines of a single piece. Bobuck seems to have considered the possibility that a tone should change over time. That Not Available in 2174 would not be identical to Not Available in 1974 or 1978.

This long term view places Not Available into a different category of work from, say, The Commercial Album where Bobuck exercises precise, controlled skills to produce precise, controlled and tiny works. Not Available is built to be a large, uncontrolled, sprawling work. The appreciation of the total work can only be achieved by those who have become, like Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) a transcendental satrap of 'Pataphysics, inhabiting Ethernity.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 12:51:00 pm by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2017, 12:18:14 pm »

The Final Section which would become the Epilogue by 1978, was originally titled Ethernity. The concept of Ethernity was developed by Alfred Jarry in the neo-scientific Romance, the Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician   wherein Jarry explains that: this book will not be published in full until the author has acquired enough experience to savour all its beauties. Faustroll was published only after Jarry's death in 1907, with Faustroll's posthumous letter to Lord Kelvin which explains the nature of the afterlife and cosmos. This makes the Epilogue  an important key to understanding what actually happens in Not Available.

Principally, there is a treacherous Upstart Remus who leaves and returns to the group which seemingly consists of Edweena, The Porcupine, The Catbird, Uncle Remus and The Enigmatic Foe after the exposition of a love triangle between Edweena and The Porcupine and The Catbird which may have been real, in the sense of being a real love triangle in the world or imagined in the sense of being part of the drama. The Enigmatic Foe gallantly stands in for the psychically compromised - and therefore Not Available - Porcupine in the climactic duel scene. When Edweena elopes with Uncle Remus the Porcupine, Catbird and Enigmatic Foe are left without purpose in conflict and so tumble over from the ordinary into the extraordinary.  To paraphrase Jarry: "I was in that place where one finds oneself after having left time and space: the infinite eternal, Sir."
(Alfred Jarry, Faustroll, 1911).

Quote from: Civility
The sou'wester of the know tiara flew into today.
He libertarian in a idiom -- had little to say;
But fore the barking sub sin in his warrior,
He helped out with virtue-charters sweeter than cane:

The Greek Chorus, one last time, prepares the Listener for the important wisdom of the finale. The Sou'wester wraps the entire story into a complex pun. Lips was the Greek daeimon of the South West Wind. The idea of Lips in English can be both a sexual and a linguistic reference. The Choral nature of Civility finally collapses and the Listener is given a glimpse of Ethernity in the pronouncement of The Sou'wester.

Quote from: The Sou'wester
The Sou'wester8:

Opulent givings are seldom a drunkard.
They help you relieve all them lingos in your heave.

But for the giving begets a sure vain,
Leave open a woodlouse and let in some ration.

The pronouncement, of The Sou'wester mutates over time into the pronouncement of The Son. There are clear connections such as the line but for the giving begets a sure vain and there are semantic similarities such as the idea of "letting in" but, on the whole The Sou'wester between 1974 and 1978 died and was reborn.

Quote from: The Son
Opulent givings are seldom a dread.
They help you relieve all them lies in your head.
But for the giving begets a sure vain,
Leave open a window and let in some rain.

Much as though Not Available appears to be available, there are serious questions about the production that suggest that the publically available work bears a relationship, that is obscure and purposefully so, between the original tapes and the released work. In 1978, Eskimo was delayed. While this, ostensibly, was because the Residents had disappeared to England, the more likely reason was that the Residents could no longer summon N Senada in the same way they had done in 1971 at the infamous Boarding House happening. Much the same as Hugo Ball (1886-1927) had summoned George Grosz (1893-1959) into existence as Dada Death with  "Gadji beri bimba" and Karawane in the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916. Much the same as Randy's confusion about the nature of his relationship to the Residents.

Unlike the transition between The Sou'wester and The Son which takes place in the narrative between 1974 and 1978, Randy Rose is trapped in an Internet mediated event. Unable to reconcile his relationship to the Residents in Tokyo and unable to draw upon the support of Chuck, Bob, Carlos or even Rico to do anything. Randy is the new Sou'wester.
Not altogether reliable for facts.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Some Notes and Queries Regarding Some Persons And Things

1 Civility becomes Chorus in the Residents' amnesiac adventure.

The Character and Section names are radically different in the finished work that became available. Which is consistent with the Theory of Phonetic Organisation. It also indicates the methodology of the Theory Of Obscurity: The Work facilitates The Forgetting. The German psychologist Hermann  Ebbinghaus (1885) studied Memory and concluded that forgetting occurs in a systematic manner, beginning rapidly and then leveling off. By using the Theory of Phonetic Organisation in tandem with the Ebbinghaus Über das Gedächtnis the Theory Of Obscurity was grounded in respectable Science. The fact that The Residents rapidly move on to the next project is well known. This, too, is part of the Ebbinghaus contribution to the Theory Of Obscurity: by avoiding spaced repetition of any specific work, the Residents never exactly remember precise details of why a thing was created.
Ebbinghaus gave a formula for Retention of Memory.


where R is memory retention, S is the relative strength of memory, and t  is time.

Which gave the amount of time between Creating The Work and Forgetting The Work. At the point of forgetting, there is the maximisation of Obscurity and the minimisation fo the Strength of Memory (S) or the maximisation of time (t). So, The Work is made Public when memory retention (R) falls below a minimal value - approaching zero.
Senada would not be alone in appreciating that releasing The Work at the maximal point of Obscurity into the World would make the Residents become, potentially their own Unaware Audience. Thus ensuring that the Residents are, in fact, incapable of producing work for the purpose of celebrity or adulation. Senada had closed a loop making the Theory of Obscurity, when practiced, an autotelic discipline. The outcome of the practice of the Theory Of Obscurity is to become a daimon.

The Ancient Greek word daimon denotes a supernatural power, much like the Latin genius or numen. Daimon most likely came from the Greek verb daiesthai (to divide, distribute) and notably appears in the works of Plato, where daimon describes the inspiration of Socrates - an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Socrates, like Senada, may well not have existed.

2 Young Goal becomes Young Girl

The Work has a repeated fascination with homophones and punning. Which gradually disconnects and unanchors the Signifiers from the Signified. Punning or paronomasia comes from Ancient Greek. para, "alongside" and onomos, "name" and suggests "to alter slightly in naming", or, technically metaplasm: changing the form of things. Thus when a "Young Goal" becomes a "Young Girl" there may well be some wordplay but, also, there is a layer of sinister heaping up of meanings.

The sinister exaggeration might well be an oblique reference to Adrien Wettach Grock (1880-1959) the Swiss Circus Performer and contemporary of ND Sendada. The violin playing son of a Watchmaker, Clown and Writer helped Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) to develop some ideas of writing-beyond-writing. Which is, most clearly, seen in the Young Goal sections of Pathway One. The phrase was used in Le Figaro, quoting Alain Vernay - a member of the Scientific Committee of the Journal Politique étrangère when refering to McLuhan and the concept of writing beyond writing.

Grock managed to write about a life as a Clown and to go beyond the merely functionary writing, that biography normally achieves, to become something of the Open Work described by Umberto Eco. The Young Goal becoming Young Girl becomes a stunning insight into the Method of both Phonetic Organisation and of The Theory Of Obscurity. By transforming the original text systematically, from Young Goal to Young Girl, the Creators of the Not Available are obliged to return to the Work with new expectations of the words. No longer are the characters exactly correct; their identities have become subtly blurred and demand interpretation thus confounding autobiographical elements.

3Upstart Remus becomes Uncle Remus

The Work again covers meanings in such layers as makes the actual recorded Work ironic in terms of being layers of meaning beyond the Original Work and ironic in that the Audience are incapable of knowing the original Work's text.
Rhea Silvia was a vestal virgin and the daughter of the former king, Numitor, displaced by his brother Amulius. Rhea Silvia gave birth to Romulus and Remus, who were born in Alba Longa, an ancient Latin city near the site where Rome would be. Through Rhea Silvia, the twins were descended from Greek and Latin nobility. Their father, Mars, having visited Rhea Silvia in a sacred grove dedicated to him. King Amulius ordered the death of the Upstarts Romulus and Remus. Abandoned on the bank of the River, they were saved by the Father of the River and survived with the care of others, unaware of their own identity.

When the Upstart became the Uncle the identities of possibly different Remuses were conflated. This was of no real concern to Senada whose Theory of Phonetic Organisation allowed for the use of punning. Phonetic and Phronetic Organisation acting as guides to both the construction of The Work and of the Constructors of The Work. Phronesis - from the Ancient Greek: phronesis - is a type of wisdom or intelligence. Specifically a type of wisdom relevant to practical things, requiring an ability to discern how or why to act virtuously and encourage practical virtue, excellence of character, in others. Indeed, Phronesis was the proper pursuit of the Daimon. An attribute of Demons that was lost in a Christianised culture. The underlying principle of translating the Theory of Obscurity into practical action, the Praxis Of Obscurity, not only changes language and the form of signs but also the people it touches.

4 Pot becomes Porcupine

The relationship between Edweena and the Porcupine is complex. A key to understanding is in the parallel lines:

Edweena went to calumet and libertarian from there to commencement;
She took along a pot whose neighbour was known as land;
Now their repayment was fraught with parchments of loving icon.
The Pot could rabble-rouse all, but all she knew was sneaker.

Edweena went to calumet and left from there to college;
She took along a porcupine whose name was known as knowledge;
Now their relationship was fraught with pangs of loving hunger.
The Porcupine could question all, but all she knew was slumber.

Calumet is a Norman word, recorded in David Ferrand's La Muse normande around 655. Norman-French settlers, in Canada, used calumet to describe the ceremonial pipes  of the First Nations peoples with a meaning of "sort of reeds used to make pipes".Calument  corresponds to the French word chalumeau, meaning 'reed'. The name of the Calumet Region in Illinois and Indiana may derive from the French term or may have an independent derivation from Potawatomi.

In some colonial historical sources, a ceremonial pipe, referred to as a calumet were used in the Catholic conversion rituals first in Illinois and then in Mi'kmaq territory and later as trade goods and gifts; but, calument is also various regions of the Americas and a Ship. By careful choice, transforming the original, "a pot whose neighbour was known as land" into "a porcupine whose name was known as knowledge" the layering that takes place in creating maximised Obscurity comes into play. Porcupines exist both in the Old World and the New World. Which, given the scarce narratives around Senanda, suggests Edweena might well be an incarnation of ND Senada.
Edweena is a rare variant of the male name Edwin. Which carrys the meaning of "rich friend" from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and wine "friend". A 7th-century Northumbrian king, regarded as a saint, held the name. Edwin Aldrin, known as Buzz, the second man to walk on the moon and a synonym for the drug experience of pot use. Which conjours to mind the notion that Edweena was, somehow, the patron of Senada and Senada the patron of Edweena both summoned by the power of the calumet. Calument was not merely a pipe but a lake freighter, the second of that name.

The vessel was built in Detroit, Michigan, in 1929, by the Great Lakes Engineering Works. The Wastelands of the North where Senada was known to wander in pursuit of jars of Arctic Air. The Calumet was in service right up to 2007, giving credence to the possibility that Edweena merely went to Calumet High School in Chicago before meeting Senada in some maritime tryst. Calumet High School had opened in 1909 and so, that would make Edweena a contemporary of Senada. It would also mean that Edweena and Senada could have been aware of Duchamp's Ampoule of Paris Air and the replicas Duchamp made of that 1919 work - a decade after the High School opened and so a time when commencement speeches would have been commonplace.

The parallel of pot and porcupine knowing only sneaker or slumber gives rise to the notion that their relationship was, of some necessity or other, a clandestine one. Sneaking about at slumbertime for whatever it is that German Musicologists do in the Dark Hours. Again, this illuminates how The Work facilitates The Forgetting. How the layers upon layers of storytelling obscure the underlying narratives. The mainly solitary and nocturnal porcupine has a good memory but, like Humans they forget. Which might be aided by the calumet. Perhaps they were the staff of the Calument. Nobody can really know. But Calumet High School gave Oscar Meyer a jingle that endured from 1963 to 2010. Something was happening.

5 Catbird remains Catbird

At first glance, this is a straightforwards failure of the changing names that have characterised transforming The Work into The Forgetting. Yet, a simple check of Catbirds makes it clear that the Catbird could be one of two: the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), or, the black catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris). The change from Catbird to Catbird makes it all the more confusing, neatly illustrating the role of confusion in the Theory Of Obscurity. A single specimen of a black catbird collected from Brownsville, Texas in 1892 is controversial: it never happened according to some experts and it may have been a dirty gray catbird. The gray and the black have songs in common and nobody really records the harsh rriah, nasal chrrh and grating tcheeu in enough detail. The shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) might push the catbird from near threatened towards extinction and that ensures that the name changing separates anybody wanting to understand the role of the Catbird from the actual Catbird.

Which is a central working principle of the Theory Of Obscurity: hiding things in plain sight. Those things that are visible are the things that you can respond to but the things that created them are forgotten. Not only does The Work facilitate The Forgetting but it becomes, in the terms of Baudrillard or Debord or any of the various Philosophers concerned with semiotics: Simulacra.

The Stages of the Simulacra are outlined as being: faithful images that copy giving way to simulation. We can believe, and it may be a justified true belief, that a sign is a reflection of a profound reality and a good appearance. This honesty gives way to a perversion of reality. We come to believe the sign to be an unfaithful copy, and justifications are undermined by an evil appearance in the order of maleificence that mask and hint at the existence of an obscure reality which the sign itself is incapable of encapsulating. Which gives way to the image masking the absence of any profound reality. The sign is pretence to faithful copying has no original and truth exits. Signs and images then claim to represent something real in terms of other signs but this is deception and arbitrary which nobody can believe. Justified, true belief becomes Obscure and we are left with the irony that gives way to pure simulation and the end of knowledge. The simulacrum has no relationship to any reality whatsoever. Signs merely reflect other signs and any claim to reality on the part of images or signs is misleading. Culture ceases to be ordinary and pretence of reality in a naïve sense. Personhood becomes the experiences of consumption obliging all claims to be phrased in artificial, terms. Any naïve claim to reality is perceived as oversentimental and bereft of critical self-awareness.

Which is the process that Senada has employed in transforming the Theory Of Obscurity into a practical methodology for the production of The Work. Nobody can tell who, what or even if the Catbird exists despite the Catbird not changing its name. Such is the powerful technique that Senada has created that nobody notices how it has transformed the World since 1937. These are the intellectual gymnastics that Senada had perfected in the creation of Pollex Christi. The slim canon of Senada might well not impress a world greedy for volume of production but the effectiveness of The Theory Of Obscurity has secured his position in the intellectual history of a the World.

6 The Enigmatic Follow-Through becomes The Enigmatic Foe

Once again, the Theory Of Obscurity achieves something subtle with the minimum of change. The Follow-Through and the Foe pervert the reality of the agonist and antagonist in the drama. Which brings the Daimon from being a Socratic inspiration to being a Simulacra. Nigel D. Senada not only ceases to exist but ceases to have relationship to anything other than the Senada's that have ceased to exist for every person who participates as an Audience. The Enigmatic Follow-Through is simply the inevitable Enigmatic Foe. Unless the Audience discover Senada there is no Work at all.

7 All remains All

Like the Catbird, the All conceals deeper occurences. The All acts as the Antagonist - quite distinct from the Enigmatic Follow-Through - to the Agonist of Civility. Civility becomes the Chorus in The Work as made Public.  AW Schlegel proposed, in 1846, the Chorus demonstrated how the audience might react to the drama. This view of the Chorus is as "the ideal spectator". Conveying to actual spectators interpretations that raise the spectator to heights of contemplation. The Chorus is significantly different to the notion of the All. The Chorus is directed to act by some external power - some Author or Composer - while the All acts because of some internal, creative urge.

The All is an Audience: an Audience that first experienced The Work and must experience The Forgetting. Which makes the All the Antagonist of the Chorus. Unlike the Simulacrum of the Catbird, the All and the Chorus are, by being two separate entities, a mechanism for the reversal of the Stages of the Simulacra. The All and the Chorus are much like Beckett's Lucky appearing in the first and second acts of Waiting for Godot

As Estragon observes, Lucky appears to be an idiot and Lucky's speech gives the impression of total dissolution of language and thought. In Not Available there are the appearances of the opposite process: of the increasing manifestation of language and though. Lucky's Speech is deceptive. The rambling tirade punctuated with gasping interjections seems nonsensical. Yet, the truth is that it is the Speech of one who is delivering multiple stories at once:
"Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames  if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast."

Like WH Mallock's 1892 novel A Human Document which transformed into A Hummument in various stages and multitudionous measures since 1965 when Tom Phillips read an interview with William Burroughs in Paris Review and began to to experiment with his own variant of 'cut up' technique, the columnedge poem. A routine Saturday excursion with Ron Kitaj, resulted in the purchase of  A Human Document at Austins Furniture Repository Peckham for thrippence. Thus beginning a decades long process of finding the Voice in the Murmuration of the Crowd.

Which is a relationship the All and the Chorus have: delivering all of the Message before succumbing to learning or remembering. The All guarantees that the only authentic arena for any practice of the Theory Of Obscurity would be in Popular Culture. The endless streaming, Lucky-like, emanating from the Ur-Geist of the World. Gradually making known The Work despite The Forgetting.

8 The Sou'wester becomes The Son

Which transformation makes the Theory Of Obscurity, in the context of the recurring religious imagery, a kind of Death and Resurrection Theatre. The recurring flirting with religious imagery approaches, without ever reaching explicit mention of deities who die then subsequently rise such as Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis and Attis, Dionysus and Jesus, in a kind of epiphany. Not the religious epiphany of the Sol Invictus cultus or the secular epiphanies of Joyce and Stephen Daedlus, nor, even, the dissembling epiphanies of Simulacra, but a kind of Anamnesis of the anaphoras of the Creative Act.

In Ancient Greece, the Anemoi, were Daimons of the Winds. The metamorphosis from  Boreas to Eurus to Notus to Zephyrus was a subtle shift. Unlike the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa into a massive insect, the transformation of the Anemoi was predictable and unshocking. Later the transformation from Aparctias to  Apheliotes to Argestes to Caiciasto to Circios or Thraskias, and, then to Euronotus and finally Lips and Skeiron were added and make prediction more fraught - but still possible. The Transformation from Sou'wester to Son  implies the transformation from Lips - synonymous with the Winter Sunset - to someone with personhood.

Which is consistent with every subsequent work: the exploitation of the death and rebirth mythology. Lips was depicted as a winged man holding the stern of a ship. Lips, when striking the budding vines from the Saronic Gulf, blights their buds. According to Pausanias, two men cut an all white male chicken in two and run around the vines in opposite directions to frustrate the blight of Lips. when they meet again at their starting place they bury the bird. Which gives a sense of why the Sou'wester is obliged to become The Son. It is little more than a death and rebirth story.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 01:48:07 pm by CheerfulHypocrite »
Not altogether reliable for facts.
Like Like x 1 View List


  • Global Moderator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 56
  • Fast and Bulbous
    • View Profile
Not Available is my favorite album. I have a pretty hard time picking favorites, so my "favorite" Rz albums aren't really a discrete ranking of albums but rather a vague fuzzy collection of whatever I can think of at the moment. But one thing is constant... Not Available is my #1 favorite album. And I don't just mean in the context of The Residents. I mean it is my favorite album, period.

The first time I listened to this album was rather... interesting. I got it as a digital download with a bunch of other classic Rz albums when I first discovered them. And I saw from the song titles that it came in parts... so I set this album aside to experience when I was properly prepared. One day, though, I decided to just listen to it casually anyway. I slapped it onto my tablet and decided I might listen to it while I helped my sister do some fabric shopping. Now, the thing about digital downloads is that each song is its own separate file. With CD's, they're separate digital.... things, but there's still a physical order in which they are digitally etched onto the disc. When you buy files, the only thing keeping them in order is the file names and typically some ID3 tags that specify what track number the file's supposed to represent. It's up to your actual software to present those tracks in the order they were intended. Well... the default media player on my tablet had a horrible habit of randomly dropping ID3 information like album art, album title, and the most frustrating, track number. If it somehow dropped the track number, it'd default to alphabetical order. So, the first time I ever listened to Not Available was in alphabetical order,  half-listening to it while waiting for my sister to finish up at the fabric store. (Those of you who have gone to a giant fabric store with or as someone who loves sewing might know this could easily take up the length of an album or two...).

My first thoughts? That was weird. But interesting. I liked those piano parts. Overall the album had this interesting sound that satisfied my search for weird music. The part that stuck with me the most was that little voice triumphantly exclaiming "OKAY! OKAY OKAY!". I didn't really understand what was going on, so I thought it was some sort of weird meta part where that little voice had to sort of "reconstruct" the song. Yes, very interesting. After it played I realized that I listened to it out of order. But I already knew that I'd be returning to this album for a proper listening at some point. And I think I did listen to it once or twice after that before the album fully clicked with me.

It was Phoenix Comic Con. It was morning, in my hotel room I shared with some other convention-goers. I had just taken a shower and gotten dressed, and was now waiting for the other people in my "party" to be ready too before we head out for another day of nerdiness. I decided to listen to an album while waiting... and decided to listen to Not Available. I had the same tablet from earlier, with the same out-of-order song list, but I made an effort to manually play them in order. I also pulled up the Residents website and read along with the lyrics. Something about this listening clicked with me. The beautiful sounds of the album. The emotional story portrayed in the lyrics. I realized how great that album was... I was almost shocked at how great it was. How was I supposed to do anything else today when I've already experienced probably the greatest thing I'll experience all day? I remember after basically thinking "that was the greatest album I've ever heard", I turned to one of my friends and said "Alright, next year at Phoenix Comicon, I want to cosplay as this..." as I pointed to a picture of the eyeball-headed Residents on my tablet.

(By the way, I've started using a new app to listen to my music on my phone, which so far hasn't forgotten any ID3 information about my songs!)

This album is beautiful. That synthesizer has this graceful sound to it... I'd say it almost has this "cosmic" vibe to it but I don't want to confuse grace with outer space. The saxophone has this rough, but surprisingly clear sound to it. I didn't even know the early Rz (or N. Senada) could actually play saxaphone... I thought all they ever did was just mash on the buttons randomly! And that piano... that piano is so hauntingly beautiful. I think that piano steals the whole show. I didn't even know it was possible to give a piano such character. Not only does it have this pretty, little antique-type sound to it, but it moves the album along. It's tied to our little porcupine character and moves in and out of the album as he moves in and out of the story. But let's not forget the that bit of vocal cacophony before the beginning of Making of a Soul which sounds awesome, or the weirdly refreshing flute-like instrument at the beginning of Ship's a'going down that signals a change of scene and characters. The singers of this album bring these characters to life and I love their weird voices. God in Three Persons gives us this nice warmth in Mr. X's voice as he narrates his tale, but there's this quality to all of Not Available's voices which I can't quite pinpoint but that I love.

And the lyrics, oh the lyrics! I think I could sing the album from memory. Those questions were guaranteed to shake me up and they did. And falling guards and polling wards are just too many. OKAY? OKAY? Oh man... sorry, I just really, really love this album. The words just feel so good on my ears, and those rhymes... they are just fantastic. But when we get into lyrics, we have to get into the whole... "WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?" question. I wasn't even planning on writing this part up at first because, well, someone would beat me to the conclusion I've already reached with the album. And at the end of the day, this album is about a specific personal story which I do not know nor will I ever know. But I could write about this album forever. Not writing this section is a disservice to the album!

Simply put, I think this album is about love, lust, infatuation, relationships, and the boundaries they form... or something. At a base level, Edweena and the Porcupine are in a relationship, the Porcupine questions the nature of their relationship, and is then rejected by Edweena. The rest of the story... is a bit harder to follow. It almost feels like it's in another language... I feel like I understand it to a point, but translating it into English is more difficult. The conflicting interpretations I've read about the story don't help much with me forming a single interpretation of it myself. I'm just going to describe small observations I can make about the album from here on out.

Let's first start with the different characters and their purposes. Edweena is the love interest. I think that's pretty obvious. Edweena starts off with a relationship with the Porcupine. This porcupine is sort of our main character. Why is it a porcupine? This may be a reference to the Hedgehog's Dilemma ...otherwise known as the Porcupine's Dilemma, since porcupines actually have spines that hurt. It describes a metaphorical situation where porcupines would huddle together for warmth in the winter, but getting to close and intimate ends up hurting both of them due to their sharp spines. And this is exactly what happens in this album. The intimate relationship between Edweena and the Porcupine gets too intimate and they find themselves getting pricked by their very own nature.

The questions guaranteed to shake you up are all related. They are all about Edweena and the porcupine's relationship. How much marriage urges a windmill to pinch infinity? Is firm corn merrier under gifts of less important love? Is a magic hide-a-bed the final home of Spanish fire? Well... that last one seems a bit confusing, but it makes sense to me. Perhaps an unveiled version of this question would be "Does our relationship only really exist in bed?" or something similar. That's how I've always interpreted it, I guess.

The ship in Ship's a'going Down is probably a relationship. Yeah it might be a bad pun, but I seriously think that's what it could be. I feel like the image of a sinking ship is a perfect metaphor for a relationship going awry, although I'm not entirely sure how to explain it....

Alright... those are actualy the only analytical observations of the lyrics I could think of that weren't too obvious. I would like to bring up some more general things to talk about for a bit though. First off, the Theory of Obscurity. I love the idea of the Theory of Obscurity and whenever I do weird artsy writing I try to make my art only for myself. But was the Theory of Obscurity violated by the release of this album? Obviously The Residents did not voluntarily release the album, as The Cryptic Corporation had to put out something. And while The Cryptic Corporation was focused more on the smart management of The Residents, I feel like they've always tried to preserve The Residents' artistic visions. My feeling, similar to goatie's, is that there really is another Not Available out there that truly has never been released. And might never be until those responsible for its creation forget about the entire thing, if it was to ever be released. And similar to CheerfulHypocrite, that maybe this Not Available is a cloaked or altered version of that original.

On a related note is the album's title. The title reflects the nature of the album itself, in that because of the Theory of Obscurity, it literally wasn't available until it was released 4 years later. But I feel like the title of the album is more than just that. To quote an idea that is not mine, that I read from an older Rz forum, if Not Available wasn't stashed away under the Theory of Obscurity... it'd probably still be titled "Not Available". First off, the way the story of the album is constructed makes its true meaning not available to the listener. And in a less meta sense, Edweena is not available to the porcupine after he questions the nature of their relationship, while the porcupine himself isn't available during the confrontation of Part Three (only to emerge in Part Four).

Also in my random notes about the album is something someone else discovered rather recently.
This video manipulates a bit of the audio during Making of a Soul to make a very faint monologue much more audible, which is pretty cool. I think it was hidden away because it was more personally revealing than the rest of the album, but... well, it's still pretty confusing, that's for sure. I won't theorize much about it since from what I can make out of it, it seems to just reassure what most people already think they know about the album, but it's definitely a pretty interesting.

One final note on this album is that I try to make it "Not Available" to myself even. I've learned that listening to an album too much can cause a sense of burn-out. And I have many albums which I've put on hold due to over-listening, these holds sometimes lasting months or even years. With Not Available I try hard never to listen to it too much, so whenever I listen to it, it's truly an event. (Though to be honest, I love this album so much and it's already so familiar to me that I'm not sure I could get burnt out on it without some serious effort). For this project of the week event, though, I did listen to it fairly often. I think I listened to it more times in the past two weeks than I did in the entirety of 2016. I click "post" on my last listening of the 2011 vinyl printing before I lock it away once more for at least a few months.

Anyway... Not Available is great. I love it. I obviously just rambled on it for quite a lot longer than my usual Project of the Week posts. I mean... I had to for such a wonderful album! I often find myself thinking I don't have that much to add to these discussions... But I can't do that for Not Available. I can't just not know that such an important question exists: "To show or to be shown?"
Like Like x 2 View List


  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 206
  • Debatably Helpful
  • Location: Kay See Ehm Oh
    • View Profile
Not Available is a project that requires a different sort of thinking and discussion than what i usually do.

a main component behind the album is trouble between people. people we dont know. people we are not meant to know. people who are represented in the album. i have never felt wholly comfortable discussing that aspect of it - who represents who, what their interactions could translate into in the real world, etc etc. but the characters themselves are intriguing. they are both honest and cartoonish. their involvement in the story varies between simply observing and actively participating, advancing the plot.

The Chorus and The Young Girl seem to look in from the outside. our narrators. beyond describing in strange, occasionally vivid detail, they tell us what our other characters don't. they ask questions that we, ourselves, might be asking. their curiosity mimics our own, and when it does not, they ask some questions that are…

well, guaranteed to shake you up.

It's causing easy ought to just leave a lust alone
But when a friend has shrunken skin where do you throw the bone?

Or do posies just bloom for the feel of a may?
Investing space without a place;
Confusing grace with outer space.

Uncle Remus, for a majority of the story is presented to us as someone who has no real will to move on, but is simply… there. (with the knowledge that we have been given by Charles Bobuck in reference to this album, i get the impression that certain passive aspects of him are somewhat of an expression of the disillusionment being experienced by the composer at the time. there is an honesty contained in some of the things said that gives me the impression that his expression of a fairly depressed state of being goes far beyond the instrumentation.)

Can tomorrow be more than the end of today?

The Porcupine is a more fragile, emotional type. there is much that he longs for, and he longs for these things very deeply. primarily, his desire seems to be focused on being able to question things that matter to him, to share a meaningful and intimate moment with someone else (in this case, Edweena) while exploring winding paths of curiosity with another. to be vulnerable and intrigued without fear of being hurt. his luck in regards to this seems to be consistently foul, as he attempts to become close to Edweena and is subsequently rejected. (may have some connection to the Hedgehog’s Dilemma with the spikes and all, intimacy’s connection to pain, etc)

They leave a sleeve, they weave a grieve
For mourning's never free.

Edweena is interestingly emotionally unavailable. she has brought The Porcupine along with her, but ignores him. she has withdrawn from all that is around she embodies a lived experience of being truly Not Available. with the addition of the fact that she does not speak, but is only spoken of, she is essentially anonymous. she cannot confirm or deny any of what The Chorus, or anyone else, tells us of her. this is perhaps to be expected, as she is shown on the cover art as being the face of Not Available. she is defined by and paired with the act of being in such a state.

The Catbird and The Enigmatic Foe seem to be a bickering pair, only inclined to speak when the Ship’s a Goin’ Down. they play a back-and-forth game of stating their own situations to appear as if they are worth the time of the unspeaking, unknowable Edweena.

He thought the end was overdue, but daybroke him instead,
And consequently what he read was never what he said.

If after all this oleo a speck of dust exists,
We'll set aside a common tide 'twixt friend and who he's kissed.

finally, The Son is a living embodiment of that which we come to know when the end has passed, when all is said and done. he simply passes through, and comments in a mild manner.

But for the giving begets a sure vain,
Leave open a window and let in some rain.

the various interactions between the characters are sort of vague and i honestly don’t try too hard to follow them. the conflict itself is vague. i can’t follow the story. at all. but musically, it is fascinating and painfully emotional. the large crash that begins the whole affair throws the listener without warning into a winding tale told by nonsensical, cartoonish voices, saxophones ranging in sound from screeching to melodic, melancholy notes ringing out from a grand piano and strange electronic music weaving in and out between the crashes of cymbals.

the vocals are a particularly fun piece to consider, as they seem to successfully mix N. Senada’s Theory of Phonetic Organization with phrases containing real meaning. some of the most beautiful lyrics from The Residents so far came from this project. one can only imagine what is standing in for what, or what it all means. but it is strange to think that, had the circumstances been different in 1978, we could have never had the chance to hear it at all. it was, after all, not made for anyone but the group itself to work out interpersonal issues. personally, i have found that this album is a powerful reminder that The Residents are by no means obligated to give us anything and that their gift-giving extends beyond this project to all others they’ve ever done, are doing, or will do.

describing more feelings about this work is difficult, to say the least. partially due to the fact that the plot is not one i find to be the type that i typically chew and regurgitate with my interpretation, but also due to the fact that my sensory experience of the album is entirely unique. with other storytelling albums from The Rz, i can at least get a vague feeling for what is being described. a blurry series of images with sections that are clear as day, repetitive and short snippets organized in various shapes... but Not Available creates a feeling unlike any other. the music brings an experience with it that is so strong that it teeters on the edge of being visible, tangible. it is the experience of perceiving motion in darkness. not merely a shifting of objects in a basement, but a true void in which even the slightest of motion can be felt if only due to the absence of anything else.

Edweena is a track that is felt as being surrounded and rapidly circled by The Chorus, a group without number, followed by a slam onto the brakes, a shifting around by the group, and a moving forward. the speech of The Young Girl comes from no specific source but is felt all around. Uncle Remus speaks and the experience of THAT is fairly special. a spotlight shines on him but the darkness is consistent. what he DOES create is a plane - his speech creates a temporary floor. as The Chorus' vocals flow in and out, their physical presence ebbs and flows. but the grand piano, when alone, creates the image of the lonely warehouse, created from a collage of presumptuous imagery from experiences.

Making of a Soul is a song of motion. The Chorus has gained an implied appearance through sound. they are no longer cloaked but are dressed in a formal manner. the speech of The Porcupine behaves similarly to Uncle Remus. the stops in the chaotic motion create a harshness. it makes The Porcupine hard to welcome. but Mourning Glories solves this as the rhythm creates a livable environment for The Chorus.

Ship's a Goin' Down is mostly pitch black. The Catbird creates a swaying and anxious motion with his pacing. The Enigmatic Foe forcefully slows the pace. the only other experience for this track is that a ghost undoubtedly plays the saxophone.

Never Known Questions gives The Chorus their ideal beat. their words are undoubtedly worshipping The Spot. they grow intense and desperate. they are reaching to the sight of the events of the story, but they cannot touch it. The Porcupine communicates Polaroids, but they are simply void of image. they only have a general hue (sepia). he falls to pieces and the pieces take on their own life.

Epilogue only creates the feeling of The Boy passing through. he is very young. he approaches us, tells us his truth and runs.

very strange.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 07:28:18 am by moleshow »
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."


  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 206
  • Debatably Helpful
  • Location: Kay See Ehm Oh
    • View Profile

"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."