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The Residents - The Voice of Midnight CD (album) cover


The Residents



4.00 | 18 ratings

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4 stars Excellent radio play and adaptation of the story "Der Sandmann" by E.T.A. Hoffman. Major improvement from their album "The River Of Crime" which was also spoken word oriented in episode format.

I like to think "Voice Of Midnight" combines the best elements from their previous encounters with storytelling; the story is almost as good as "God In Three Persons" but the singing Resident narrator is ditched in favor of the "River Of Crime" format of radio play where characters play out the scenes, but the music isn't nearly as minimal as that of "God In Three Persons", with characters sometimes singing verse, a lot of room for instrumental themes that catch attention and are not just background for dialogues. Some of this music will get heavily reworked and made into "The Ughs" album in 2009, which would be an drastically altered soundtrack. I rated them similar but I do prefer "The Ughs" though, instrumental album has much more reason to replay for then the story one. No to mention that the "Eskimo" feel on "The Ughs" is a bit lost here since with all the talking and sounds it brings up more of an urban and industrial feeling. Basically if you're up for an horror/thriller story, get it.

It's fairly easy to follow the plot, as here are some points from the original story without any spoilers: Nathaniel as a child is exposed to death of his father who dabbled in experiments with alchemy, which might have been just an chemical accident or the fault of father's friend Coppelius who was with him at the time. Coppelius's identity is since then in Nathaniel's mind combined with the character Sandman from bedtime stories. The version of folk stories about Sandman that Nathaniel heard are quite different from ours though; Sandman pours sand in the eyes of children just so they could bleed out of their heads and be carried away to his children on the moon as food (which is the cover of the album, Sandman holding his beaked child with an eye in his hand). The story on the album begins in Nathaniel's college years when his Sandman obsessions, fears and illusions are triggered by an encounter with a man in a shop who looks very similar to Coppelius, which puts strains on his relationship, his studies and mind in general.

THE RESIDENTS updated a story with small details, changing some of the names, what use to be a written letter is now a one sided conversation or over the phone etc. The plot is still the same and it works. Definitely recommend it more than some of their too abstract story albums, like "Tweedles" for example.

historian9 | 4/5 |


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