The Residents — Mush-Room
(MVD 6074A, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-04-01This productive unit of avant-gardists has been plying their trade for over 40 years now, and still, nobody outside their inner circle knows their true identity or how even many members there are. They still manage to come up with some surprisingly original material, although my own interest in them surged during their mid-to-late 70s heyday and pretty much ebbed after the mid-80s. But I still can’t resist dropping in every few years to find out what the heck they are up to. This time I was pleasantly surprised – not that I didn’t expect to be. Mush-Room is a mostly instrumental outing, the musical backing for a dance and theater performance by Grace Ellen Barkey & Needcompany that incorporates a fairly wide array of influences, most prominently east and southeast Asian ideas mixed in with future primitive percussion, classical explorations, and studio manipulations, all emblazoned with that trademark Residents weirdness – music that’s seemingly related to no existing genre other than the one of their own creation. There are just short of a dozen cuts, each of which stands strong on its own, and conveys an other-worldliness that defies comparisons. The vocals are sparse and essentially wordless, and never get in the way of the overall concept, which is never too ambitious and forced (as some of their work has been). The long and the short of it: this is a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
Related artist(s): The Residents
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more