Music ReviewsRock

CD Review: Not Available by The Residents

[review]

The mysterious Residents (they never revealed their identities) debuted in San Francisco in 1972 at the end of the hippie movement and acid-rock and anticipated the late ‘70s New Wave and its experimentations and the expressionist collage technique. Even if their name is unfamiliar in mainstream industry, they are one of the most influential, important and innovative bands in music history. Their genius and tricks remind of Frank Zappa, but their ideas and research relate to the avant-garde music of John Cage and Brion Gysin. They composed NOT AVAILABLE in 1974, but released the album only in 1978 in compliance with their theory of “obscurity”. It’s an experiment involving “primitive” and modern music, from the Middle Ages to contemporary world, as well as different geographical areas from Africa to Europe. The opening track, Edweena, is a perfect example of the collage: the alien chorus, the tribal music and the meaningless children’s rhymes guide the listener through supernatural and mystical territories, often pervaded by awe of the Universe. The Making Of A Soul is the second track of the elaborate work: the sax trumpets among croaky voices and industrial strokes, during the “making of a soul” into a primeval soup. In addition, Ship’s A’ Going Down is a masterpiece of the absurd, dissolved into an elaborate blending of voices, sax and piano. The Residents’ purpose is to derail the listeners from the tired conventions of contemporary music and show them the new possibilities offered by the “other” (a research going on with the astonishing ESKIMO in 1979 and other works like the “mole trilogy”, 1982-1985).

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Alessandro Capuano

My name is Alessandro Capuano and I live in London. My education includes a Master of Arts in Cultures and Literatures in English and Postcolonial Studies and a qualification in Film Directing, with the production of screenplays and short-films. I also love writing. In 1999 I published a horror novel, “De Profundis”, and since 2004 I have my own website, “alexvertigoworld.tripod.com”, wich includes my music and film reviews. My passion number one is Music, especially ‘70s Rock. My favourite groups are The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Can, and Neu!, and my favourite pop-rock icon is David Bowie. In 2005 American and English Postpunk became my major area of interest, so I love Public Image Ltd, Pere Ubu, The Residents and many others.

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