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The Residents - Video Voodoo Volume I CD (album) cover


The Residents



4.00 | 3 ratings

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4 stars And now for something completely strange.

Really, the best way to experience the Residents is audio/visually, and what better place to start than videos that are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York? This was the first Residents music in my collection. My first Residential audio encounter was with Hello Skinny on a Rykodisc sampler CD, although I didn't get this VHS because of that particular track, more because I'd heard good word of mouth about them.

The compilation was released in 1987 and contained all of the video material they had made during the 1972-1986 period, with the exception of The Mole Show and Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? which were excerpted. Some of the videos are now available on the DVD Icky Flix. Sadly, This Is A Man's Man's Man's World and Earth VS Flying Saucers, which happen to be two of my favorite pieces in this set weren't included.

This Is A Man's Man's Man's World is a mildly deconstructed cover of a James Brown song. It's sung by some psycho guy head with a bunch of tubes coming out of his head accompanied by many crude but cool animations, kind of reminiscent of what Zappa did with the claymation in Baby Snakes.

Earth VS Flying Saucers is an a sample from a planned computer graphics video that never got off the ground that was going to be called Science Fiction's Greatest Hits and uses images from the 1950's film of the same name. Damn shame that never got off the ground.

One Minute Movies are also available on the Commercial Album and DVD. We have Moisture, which I'm pretty sure has Fred Frith doing the guitar solo, though I don't think he's the character you see playing the guitar in the video. "No knows exactly who she was or how she died, but when they opened up her purse they found a snail inside." The Act of Being Polite, well if it isn't the ole eyeball head dude in the tux and top hat "just exhausted from the act of being polite" (he "didn't mean to hurt her when he fell asleep last night"). Perfect Love, "There's something I must tell you, there's something I must say, the only really perfect love is one who get's away." A weird old dude watching tux and top hat wearing eyeball headed Muppets on TV floats off his mattress up to ceiling. Why? Don't ask. The Simple Song, the eyeball headed tux and top hatted actual Residents dance around some weird and unsimple flaming candle centerpiece.

Hello Skinny was just an interesting song to begin with and no wonder it sucked me in to the Residents, really spooky song with really cool muted sax lines. The video is really too bizarre to put into words.

The excerpt from the Mole Show is nice. I actually have the entire Mole Show on VHS which includes Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? (Not reviewed yet). It's a live performance with more of those crude and trippy-zappa-clamation animations mixed in. The music here is some of their more accessible material from a progressive standpoint.

Vilness Fats is another uncompleted video project. You may be glad there's only an excerpt here and that the project was abandoned.

The Third Reich 'N Roll is a black and white video to go with the black and white music album of the same name. Many hits of the '60's were harmed in the making of that album but here the guys have abandoned their eyeball heads for some KKK style hoods and capes and cavort around. Really like the dude with the sun glasses. Reminds me sort of a twisted version of the Banana Splits ("one banana, two banana, three banana, four.") combined with David Lynch's Eraserhead, which coincidentally came out the same year as this video - 1977.

Songs For Swinging Larvae is apparently a Residents' video but the music is by someone or something called Renaldo and the Loaf. Based on a real child abduction case. Hmmm. No children were harmed in making of this video, but a little boy is kidnapped and forced to wear a sailor's outfit by a freaky old hippy looking dude, hey it's the guy from the mattress.

Slartibartfast | 4/5 |


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