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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

The 12 Days of Brumalia Cover artWB:RMX Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2004 releases, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): The Residents

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