The Residents — The 12 Days of Brumalia
(Ralph RA17, 2004, CD)
The Residents — WB:RMX
(Ralph CD 033, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01
If you need a Christmas album to scare your family and friends, look no further. The 12 Days of Brumalia was released as a downloadable album on the Residents web site in December of 2004, and is now available as a limited edition CD (unless it’s sold out already). As such, it might not be regarded as a proper Residents album, but what the heck, here it is, and I’m going to tell you about it. To a certain extent, it could be regarded as second-rate Residents. Bits of traditional holiday tunes are warped into this mostly electronic stew, along with other memory joggers (I swear I heard some Partridge Family in there, as well as previous Residents tunes). Electric keyboards and drum machines are given the obligatory Residents treatment, with a combination of reverb, echoes, and phasing applied to most of the sounds. You also get the typical bizarre narration and odd singing. The Residents are sounding more and more like a one person project with occasional guests. Brumalia is probably only of interest to hard-core Residents fans, who probably already have it.
WB:RMX is a different animal. It has long been part of this band’s story that they made a tape in 1971 and sent it to Warner Brothers Records. The label rejected the tape and returned it addressed to “Resident” thus giving the band their name. After all these years, that demo tape has been released... sort of. Today’s Residents have “remixed” the original Residents recordings, turning them into something very similar to Brumalia: keyboards and drum machines with samples of other stuff added. The curiosity fans have had for years remains unsatisfied, as there’s no way to tell from this release what the demos may have sounded like. From their days as the wild-card of American avant-garde, the Residents have become a slightly experimental electronic outfit with a warped sense of humor, a change that is not likely to maintain the dedication of their fans, or gain them new ones, for that matter.
Related artist(s): The Residents
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more