(Copyright © 1999-2018 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Meet The Residents, 8.5/10
Not Available, 9/10
Duck Stab, 6/10
Third Reich And Roll, 6/10
Fingerprince, 7/10
Eskimo, 8/10
Commercial Album, 6/10
Mark Of The Mole, 7/10
Tunes Of The Two Cities, 6/10
Vileness Fats, 6/10
Census Taker, 7/10
Big Bubble, 7/10
God In Three Persons, 7/10
King And Eye, 5/10
Freakshow , 6/10
Our Finest Flowers , 5/10
Gingerbread Man , 5/10
Hunters: The World of Predators and Prey , 5/10
Have a Bad Day , 5/10
Wormwood, 5/10
Demons Dance Alone , 5/10
WB: RMX (2004), 4/10
Twelve Days of Brumalia (2004), 4/10
The Way We Were (2005), 4/10
Animal Lover (2005), 4/10
Tweedles (2006), 4/10
Night of the Hunters (2007), 5/10
Strange Culture (2007) , 4/10
The Voice of Midnight (2007) , 5/10
Coochie Brake (2012) , 4/10
The Ghost of Hope (2017) , 4/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Perhaps the quintessential independent musicians of the 1970s, the Residents (formed by composer Hardy Fox and vocalist Homer Flynn) performed in android costumes and never revealed their faces or identities.

Relocated from Louisiana to San Francisco in 1966, they debuted in 1972, during the dark age that followed the demise of the hippie movement and the collapse of acid-rock. They composed their most innovative works between 1974 and 1976, when the new wave wasn't even born yet, but their isolation from the music scene remained absolute until the new wave allowed them to emerge as new prophets of a way to make, perform and conceive music. "Obscure" and cryptic, their pieces were part of a multimedia show whose antics transposed the music-hall into the new wave and whose sound emphasized a collage-style approach to composition. Meet The Residents (1974) gave "devolution" a sound. Inspired by Dada, surrealism and Frank Zappa, the Residents assembled fragments and debris of junk culture (commercials, orchestral easy-listening, cartoon soundtracks, pop muzak, exotica, marching-band fanfares) and proceeded to sculpt a sonic montage that was deliberately amateurish but also provided a chilling documentary of the western civilization, albeit disguised as a grotesque parody of its consumerism. Where Zappa was actually a virtuoso of composition and direction, a heroic implementer of sloppy ideas, the Residents were sloppy implementers of heroic ideas. Glacial, distorted, monotonous voices soared over instruments that merged chamber and atonal pretenses with puerile rhythms and clumsy melodies. Not Available (1978), conceived too in 1974 but released several years later, one of the milestone recordings of the era, was their most sophisticated work of art. Its suites virtually coined a new form of avantgarde music out of symphonic primitivism and cacophonous world-music. Despite the gargantuan display of sounds, they offered a bleak and terrifying vision of humankind. That vision was expressed in a more programmatic format with the futuristic ballet Six Things To A Cycle (1976), and reached its poetic apex with Eskimo (1979 - Cryptic, 2004), which was basically an experiment of "musique concrete" set in the Arctic but also a touching tribute to ancestral humanity, to its epic struggle in hostile environments. This time the Residents looked to expressionism, and to theatre, for crafting a work that was less chaotic than their early collages as well as more "ambient" in Brian Eno's vein. Mark Of The Mole (1981), the first installment of a three-part sci-fi fantasy, and the fairy tales of Census Taker (1985) and God In Three Persons (1988), continued their ventures into a musical realm that no other band dared approach. Big Bubble (1985), the third part of the trilogy, was one of the most thrilling post-modernist experiments on the human voice of the time.

(Translated from my original Italian text by DommeDamian)

The Residents (mainly Hardy Fox and Homer Flynn) were one of the most important and influential groups in music history. Their multimedia show predated those of industrial music, and their avant-garde rock music inspired the new wave to transcend genres. Their method (parody and collage) was reminiscent of Frank Zappa's, and perhaps it represented the extreme jolt of that sonic civilization.

The main feature of their music is "obscure", a quality on which the band based their ideology. The sounds are obscure, the lyrics are obscure, the shows are obscure, and the musicians are obscure. That "obscurity" is nothing more than a hymn to the independence of the artist, to the creative fact detached from economic reasoning, to art as art.

The Residents were formed in San Francisco in the early 1970s by two immigrants from Louisiana (Shreveport): "Tychobrahe Samuelsson", a musicologist based in San Mateo, a small town near San Francisco, an attentive scholar of kitsch and everyday noises, and "Vanadium Zukofsky ", a self-taught multi-instrumentalist (real names: Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox). In support of the Residents' shows, the two also started the Cryptic Corporation.

The band immediately distinguished itself with an anti-star image like few others: protective of their identities, they rarely performed live, and in any case wearing masks and costumes, in order not to be recognized. An aura of mystery was created around them, which lasted until the end.

Warning - Uninc - Live and Experimental Recordings 1971-1972 documents their early days.

The first record release was the double 45 rpm Santa Dog(1972). When British guitarist Philip Lithnam (renamed Snakefinger) joined their entourage, their independent label Ralph Records was born. The group ruled the San Francisco underground during the dark years following the demise of the hippie and acid-rock movement and before the advent of the new wave. Isolated by the indifference of both the media and their own peers, the Residents lived in obscurity until 1978. Indeed, when Ralph Records began to circulate in a USA awakened by the "new wave", the Residents' top inspiration had already been largely exhausted.
The authentic masterpieces of this most occult rock ensemble date from 1974/76, but at that time their records were released in a limited number of copies.

The philosophy of the Residents presents itself as a parody of consumer music ("the hit-parade is the graveyard of the ears", from a verse of their Quran), indeed a parody based on the "theory of obscurity", credited to the elusive German guru Nicolas Senada, according to whom the most important part of the human brain has been atrophied by consumerism, advertising and the media; according to which the brain is nothing more than a particular electrical circuit which is why it works better the lower the temperature. (Persistent rumors had it that Senada would be none other than Captain Beefheart in one of his finest disguises.)

Faithful to the sermons of that funny prophet, the Residents therefore were reluctant to perform on stage in front of large crowds. They only appeared on television and disguised themselves as refrigerators, as if to evoke (with a sort of ritual frost dance) the creative state par excellence. With the ingenuity and imagination of the poor, the Residents were masters of making up for the scarcity of means. Thus, they made the cover song one of their favorite means of expression.

Beyond the legends, the music of the Residents is sociological and anthropological in the sense that it deals with the customs of mass civilization. It is revolutionary music when it rejects the traditional methods of composition and performance. All the Residents records are characterized by a rough recording, which over time has become part of their sound; a dirty sound that reflects a lot of craftsmanship; this white noise is superimposed on an extremely degraded copy of the original source captured on tape, never reproduced as it was but instead subjected to a process that is the exact opposite of purification.

Given the massive mixing work, it can be said that the recording studio was the band's main instrument: each piece is a sound montage of fragments and a superimposition of different layers. The Residents thus became the first group for which technical sloppiness is irrelevant.

The complex composition / performance procedure of their work, which would seem to prefer rational mechanical or computer techniques, was conducted under the banner of the most whimsical nonsense. The obvious reference is the early Frank Zappa, repeated terrorist of commercial music, ante-literam theorist of collage and inventor of total music. The Residents, however, differ from the master of Cucamonga due to a more scientific and more metaphysical approach, less goliardic and less parodistic.

Within the new wave, the Residents can be related to the prophets of the apocalypse Devo and Pere Ubu and to the new psychedelic bands, at least for the visionary and disjointed account they give of humanity.

The synthesis obtained by the Residents (of classical elements, independent production practices and avant-garde music) imposes several cliches on their sound: the psychotic vocal timbre (nasal, alienated, distorted, glacial, monotonous) which is associated with the "devolution"; chamber instrumentation; the atonal, arrhythmic, amelodic structure of the compositions; the marginal use of electronics; the centrality of sound editing; the tragic register; the parody of popular genres; and that general atmosphere of approximate and amateurish.

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The first album, Meet The Residents (Ralph, 1974 - East Side Digital, 1988 - Cryptic, 2004), controversially dedicated to the Beatles, was released in 1974, transferring some home recordings to vinyl; in 1976 it was remixed and the following year reissued in stereo version. The first side includes nine pieces, organized in four suites, while the second is composed of only three entirely instrumental pieces.
In the first suite, from Boots to Smelly Tongues, a mechanical and polyphonic declamation, a ballet for oriental percussion, harpsichord and pianola, a funereal brass fanfare, a nasal chant a la Holy Modal Rounders, an Arabic clarinet solo, a female choir that intones an anemic refrain on a chaos of metallic percussion, a mini-concert for presses, puffs and pneumatic keyboards, a filtered song that obsessively scans an arcane formula.
Rest Aria has the appearance of a classical composition, a bewildered hybrid of romantic pianism and diaphanous orientalisms performed with an equally unusual ensemble, featuring a shrill vibraphone, a sour trumpet, trombones, clarinets and a jungle of exotic percussion. The movement unfolds in crescendo with the air of a ceremonial fanfare, making all the instruments repeat the melody in forever changing combinations.
In Spotted Pinto Bean a solemn piano opens for a Japanese / Beethoven / country choir of sopranos and basses which is replaced by a chaotic big band, with the piano unleashed in a manically swinging solo and concludes as a symphonic concert (with lots of sections of winds and angelic vocalizations by the soprano). Seasoned Greetings upsets orchestral easy-listening pieces with a fast-paced sequence punctuated by the high notes of a neurotic sax. The Infant Tango is sung with murderous shouts by the vocalist; followed by a spasmodic Latin-jazz guitar solo with a vertigo of strings and funky wind stacchetti in the background; then a duet from the rhythm section opens the dull swing dance of an African percussion orchestra.
Crisis Blues begins as an alienated chant of the Brechtian cabaret in the martial turmoil of the piano and the bass drum, but then it unleashes in a garage-rock jam that is massacred by the tapes; after a Chinese march for vibraphone, sax, bass drum and flute, everything goes out in a tap, an equatorial tom-tom and a nasal voice that aseptically repeats another obscure message.
The catalog of the gimmicks is practically infinite. All the pieces are experiments in tonal poems.

Not Available (Ralph, 1978 - Torso, 1988) was recorded in 1974 but, in accordance with the theory of obscurity, was not published until 1978. Presented as an experiment in the phonetic organization of sound, it is in fact a masterpiece of the manipulation of multiple sound sources, pervaded by an overwhelming sense of impending tragedy.
Exemplary in this sense is the oppressive melody for keyboards and winds that opens Edweena on a dense tribal carpet. The atmosphere is dark, the percussions whirl hypnotically and deformed, sick voices come out of the filters. A wall of minimal keyboards melts for a moment in a heavenly synth melody, before the raving of the plague returns; and in the alternation of celestial songs, of Wagnerian catastrophes, of sub-human hordes and senseless nursery rhymes, one seems to witness the continuous turning of a living nebula, which swallows animal, human and supernatural matter.
On The Making Of A Soul, the sax beats an equatorial swamp rhythm; the usual sentimental plane spreads its romantic melody and the usual, melancholic croaking voice, wrapped in the veil of synthesizers, babbles on its stream of consciousness; advertising stacchetti, a danceable rhythm for toy instruments; a drunken song is pulverized in total chaos; an elegant baritone and a sub-human chorus sing sinister spells.
Ship's Agoing Down is an excited radiogram of the absurd, recited by bewildered actors in the sideshow of the fair, a macabre shouting of wretches adrift, greeted by an apocalyptic atmosphere of synthesized melodies and saxophone nonsense squiggles, a dramatic masterpiece of the voices. Never Known Question double the catchy tune of the keyboards with a mechanical chorus; the typical croaking voice tells its own pathetic story in a crescendo that leads to an epic symphony of historical dimension. The music overflows, and amoebically spreads in all directions of time (primitivism, troubled, renaissance, romanticism, modernism) and space (Africa, Far East, Arabia, India, Latin America, Slavic countries). By each trick the approximation of their grim and nihilistic view of the human condition gets better.
The treatment of speech, nocturnal and confidential pianism, the melancholy grandiloquence of electronic keyboards and the aseptic interventions of the saxophone give the sound a chilling sense of loneliness; loneliness that comes from the double confrontation with the cosmos (the celestial atmospheres) and with that frightening multitude that is struggling in the background. "Dark" music is a music of despair, pain, helplessness; the dramatic allusion to a horrendous fate that hangs over humanity.
On a more direct level, however, the Residents aim to create a cartoon mythology and to stage it according to the codes of medieval morality play. The imaginary universe that is represented there ends up being valid as a reflection on the real world.

In 1978 three albums of the Residents were released, containing mostly old restored material. However, there is a turning point: the abandonment of the modules of the stream of consciousness, of the exhausting hypnotic tangle of sounds, in favor of a musical structure closer to the song of the New Wave. This is how the short pieces of Duck Stab (Ralph, 1978), originally an EP but later extended to albums, and Fingerprince (Ralph, 1976 - Torso, 1988), the first album on which the synthesizer appears (destined to become one of their favorite tools).

The futurist ballet Six Things To A Cycle (on Fingerprince ) tells the mutation undergone by man to adapt to the environment he created. The first picture is described by primitive rhythms, which evoke forests, swamps and ceremonials: it is a gargantuan festival of percussion. Then the machines come, and the percussions become metallic and regular, mimicking the grotesque movements of the human-androids: a minimalism of voices and winds signals the technological nightmare that has become daily reality. The finale is an oriental chant for strings, which should celebrate the new being but rather looks like a requiem in memory of the predecessor. The most unusual feature of the suite is that it uses percussion instruments almost exclusively.

The Residents' songs retain a charm of the "dark" sound, namely the work on timbres and phonetics, the bizarre arrangements and idiotic lyrics: the robotic dance of God Song , the grotesque march of Tourniquet Of Roses , the paranoid nursery rhyme of Constantinople , the futurist horror Sinister Exaggerator , the idiot-song alla Zappa Semolina , the expressionist sketch Weight-Lifting Lulu , the industrial music of Birthday Boy  and the funeral ballad of Electrocutioner. These songs constitute a songbook of nonsense worthy of the old underground electronic cabaret. Kitsch, classical music, oriental folk, soundtracks, TV commercials ... everything is ground and reduced to shapeless pulp.

Third Reich And Roll (Ralph, 1975) contains two collages, one for each facade. Each is a dizzying rundown of the hits of the 60s, glued one after the other and manipulated "phonetically". The album constitutes the radical landing of the experimentation of the first two discs and the extreme manifesto of their postmodern process of recycling consumer music.
The musical continuum of the two suites vivisects and interprets ten years of styles, genres and fashions. The work can also be interpreted as chamber music for the recording studio, replacing the notes with the rock repertoire at the basis of the composition process. The resulting sonic octopus is anything but pleasant to listen to: nothing more than a pile of smelly waste, a cemetery of carrion, a Frankenstein-rock composed with surgical ferocity. Even the melodrama Walter Westinghouse takes place under the banner of their timbral and atonal experiments.

Eskimo (Ralph, 1979 - East Side Digital, 1987) is an album of concrete music dedicated to the Eskimo civilization, which, according to Senada's theories, has enjoyed the ideal climate, the polar one, for millennia. The disc contains six stories, each dedicated to an aspect of Eskimo life. It is above all a moving tribute to primitive civilizations, a sound documentary on cultures still untouched by progress.
Pushing to the extreme a technique already used in previous works for the theater, the music evokes scenes and scenarios, it is a soundtrack that does not need the film. The Walrus Hunt and The Festival Of Death  are the most powerful scenes (especially the latter), expressionist pantomimes with electronic background like Stockhausen, android choral vocalisms, scattered and sometimes tribal percussion, or a vast panorama of sound effects that reproduce natural sounds. The arid existence of the snow people, symbol of that cosmic loneliness drawn in the first works, is evoked musically rendering the desolation of the Arctic landscape, the enveloped men moving in waves on the ice, the sound of horns that propagate in the deserted plains , the moaning of dogs, relentless storms, propitiatory songs, spells against spirits. The dialogues take place in monosyllables, mechanics, and just a few intermittent vowels, pronounced with a guttural and estranged voice on a rhythm of oriental jingles. Overall, Eskimo, an anthropological work, second only to Vaughan Williams' "Antarctic Symphony", opens up to Eno's ambient music (in this case arctic), moving away from the sociological collage of Zappian style.

Diskomo (1980) is a "disco" version of Eskimo played with toy instruments, a sort of remix for kindergartens.

Commercial Album (July 1980 - Ralph, 1980 - Cryptic, 2004), a set of forty artificial advertising sketches lasting one minute each, constitutes the most serious study on "commercial music" that has ever been attempted. The hyper-realism of the Residents composes another monument to the everyday, but compared to the first works here the infinitesimal particles are isolated, not embedded one inside the other. The best from the musical point of view is found in the funny cabaret arias of yesteryear (Medicine Man , Loss Of Innocence , La La , Margaret Freeman), in the exotic squares ( Amber , Japanese Watercolor , Love Leaks Out) and in the android visions (End Of Home , Red River , Moisture).

If the 70s had been the decade of great themed works for the Residents, in retrospect the 80s were above all the years of the Mole Trilogy, the long saga that kept them busy from 1981 to 1985.
The  most ambitious work of their career is the "spectacle of the mole," an off-off pantomime based on the story told on three concept albums ( Mark Of The Mole , Tune Of The Two Cities , Big Bubble , with the interludes collected in Intermission); a sort of animal allegory on alienation in modern society, imbued with Orwell ("Animal Farm") and Chaplin ("Modern Times"). The two people that confront each other speak two different "musical" languages: one an abrasive and industrial rock like Pere Ubu, the other a relaxed jazz cocktail.

The spirit is that of a Disneyland grandeur. On the usual soundtrack made up by polyrhythmic melodies, totally distorted by filters and noises, the Residents put together a rather unintelligible performance, with a lot of German expressionism and some futurist interludes. Perfect soundtrack for an early Soviet futurist film, all set on the corality of the masses and on the sound "attractions", the work takes place in a dark and dramatic atmosphere, oppressed by mechanical rhythms, martial trenodies and a desolating sense of impending doom. The music makes extensive use of distorted sound bands like Stockhausen, continuum like Ligeti, piano clusters, radio disturbances, electronic bubbles like Subotnick.
These shows, for better or for worse, are the most radical experiences of rock theater.

If the beginning, Mark of The Mole (Ralph, 1981), suffocated in the attempt to visually paint the scenes of the story, as a result appearing unresolved and pretentious, and demonstrating how the Residents' rock was fundamentally "light", therefore unsuitable for climactic “wagnerian" robotic songs like The New Machine , the second part, The Tunes of Two Cities (January 1982 - Ralph, 1982), under the pretext of documenting the musical customs of the "two cities", or alternating combined with "industrial" music, it confirmed so much the talent in packaging gags of the first part (Serenade For Missy , Smack Your Lips) as well as the weakness mentioned above in the tragic-futurist register of the second.

Title In Limbo (1983, with Renaldo And The Loaf) is an operetta in the style of Duck Stab with delightful gags such as the vintage ragtime Shoe Salesman and the Japanese mini-ballet Sailor Song. The best works of the decade, The Census Taker (Episode, 1985) and God In Three Persons (Rykodisc, 1988), belong precisely to the "comic" register.

The Census Taker is yet another soundtrack, but this time in the form of short melodic fragments (among which The Census Taker stands out , with the typical march for synths, the trill concert of Secret Seed, the grandiose parade of Innocence Decayed, the excited psychodrama of Where Is She ).

God In Three Persons is a paneled thematic fairytale on the genre of Eskimo, but fluidly orchestrated to the Zappa sound (the long Kiss Of Flesh suite) with a whole series of slapstick démodé bordering on the most sinister kitsch (the oriental dance Hard And Tenderly , the evanescent bebop of Thing About Them, the Chinese march of Their Early Years, the Japanese lamentation of Loss Of A Loved One, the tragic minimalism of Confused By What I Felt ).

The vocation for the cover has also indulged on several albums dedicated to the material of famous musicians, from Presley's songs to a massive 16-year program of revision of the work of the greatest American composers.

But the third part of the Trilogy, Big Bubble (Ralph, 1985), is one of their most experimental and far-sighted works, and is one of the most innovative works of the vocal avant-garde of all time. If the concept of the suite is bizarre, the execution is dizzying, pressing, thrilling and full of surprises. The overture, Sorry, demented and operatic, plunges the listener into a heavy and violent atmosphere, wickedly sarcastic, reminiscent of the expressionist works of the 1920s. The arrangement is violently "industrial", with synthesized orchestra and choir. Established the mood of the opera, Hop A Little also establishes its expressive mode with a sequence of acrobatic warbling using only vocal verses and noises from the palate, counterpointed by electronic slashes, in the proudest tradition of avant-gardists such as Meredith Monk.
The shock is exacerbated by Gotta Gotta Get, in which the pre-verbal babbling becomes even more frenetic and, surprisingly, expressive: it is a "speech", in all respects, declaimed in a primordial and universal language of accents, of pauses, excitement and emphasis. In the background remains that tide of dark and violent electronic sounds, to give a tone of apocalyptic tragedy to the confabulations of the song. In Cry For The Fire, very high laments of great dramatic intensity, are marked by the martial notes of the piano and orchestra which then give rise to a strongly rhythmic ceremonial music. It is also the solemn and impetuous tone with which Die-Stay-Go opens, which is a prelude to Vinegar's mutations and rhythm explosion. Fear For The Future is a purely instrumental mini-symphony, with the piano driving a violently beaten melody on the keys, as if it were a percussion instrument. Kula Bocca Says So is the latest, extreme novelty, caricature in a "serious" version of many pop music comic hits.
The fact that such a dramatic work actually originates from a culture of parody of popular genres, which is the quintessence of the gnomic subculture of our times, adds layers of post-modern meaning to the whole operation.
Not only is it one of the Residents' greatest works, but it will remain as one of the forerunners of the neo- and post-industrial sound. At the same time it constitutes a trait d'union between expressionist theater, post-minimalist art-performance, opera and rock music.

Alongside this, the Residents' other great "multimedia" achievement remains Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats (Ralph, 1984), originally conceived as the soundtrack of a long-running video. The 1972-76 recordings were edited in 1984 to extract material for the album. In recent years, the Residents have presented excerpts from the work in several shows, giving hope that the project can be completed. Regardless of the photographic and cinematographic qualities of the video, music is on the more "serious" front of their activity. Although many songs still refer to their multi-ethnic melange (such as the ceremonial ballets, inspired by oriental folk, of the title-track and of the final Knife Fight), dominating is a sophisticated form of dissonant chamber music (Atomic Shopping Carts) that makes use of clusters, continuums, dilated vocalizations and assorted minimalisms, with strong robotic-industrial inflections (Search For The Short Man) in an oppressive climate from post-nuclear "wasteland". Mostly instrumental, Vileness demonstrates how the art of the Residents transcends vocal tricks and comic stunts. In fact, to the expressionist vaudeville genre that made them famous, Vileness adds a few gags, and among them The Importance Of Evergreen, a music for street organ with counterpoint of cowbells and harp that transmutes into a cabaret jazz.

The Residents closed the decade by composing a new trilogy. The single parts, "Buckaroo Blues", "Black Barry" and The King And Eye (Enigma, 1989), are this time inaugurated on the scene (in the summer of 1989 in New York). These are multimedia events in which dancers also participate. Each part is dedicated to a period of American music: the rural one of the white pioneers, that of the African slaves and the modern one. The third part, the one that ends up on record, is dedicated to revisiting the myth of Presley. The ensemble is subsequently baptized "Cube-E".

With Freak Show (Official Product, 1991 - Mute, 2007) the Residents confirmed this tendency, already rooted in the sound documentaries of the "American Composer Series", to delve into American mythology as semiotic archaeologists. A bizarre regression to the times of satirical songs inspires the carnival, amusement park and circus music with which these "monsters" are portrayed, each immortalized by comic texts.

The ensemble that more than any other has exploited the format of the concept album and more than any other has been able to make an amateur sound its trademark, remained for a long time fiercely protective of their own identity.

Erratic as few others, the Residents continued to alternate works of capital importance for the advancement of avant-garde music with silly operas such as Our Finest Flowers (a collage / remix of their songs).

Like Frank Zappa, their primary form of expression is the collage. Like Frank Zappa, the Residents assume forms and modes of consumer music in elementary terms of their language. But, unlike Zappa, the Residents applied their semiotic symphonism to the alienation of the industrial age, merging it with Brecht's didactic theater and the sub-culture of science fiction films.

The 1990s have mostly been a disappointing decade for the Residents. Their discography grew steadily but hardly made any (qualitative) difference. Gingerbread Man (East Side Digital, 1994) is an interactive CDROM and is again a portrait of funny/macabre characters. Hunters: The World of Predators and Prey (Milan, 1995) is a soundtrack they composed for a tv series. Have a Bad Day (East Side Digital, 1996) is the soundtrack of a CDROM they created as a videogame.

Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses (Rykodisc, 1997) is a double-disc anthology of the entire career, but it focuses on singles and songs, instead of the more valuable extended compositions.

Wormwood(Ralph, 1998), presented live as Roadworms(Ralph, 2000), takes on the Bible. It is the first real album since 1991, but it prefers the conventional song format. The Residents were something else.

Icky Flix (East Side Digital, 2001) is a DVD that compiles a number of the Residents' futuristic videos. In many ways, the Residents' videos compete with their music in terms of creativity.

Hardy Fox released High Horses (Ralph, 2001) as Combo de Mecanico.

Demons Dance Alone (ESD, 2002) is a collection of "pop" songs in the vein of their old Duck Stab, but drenched in a melancholy feeling that reflects the months in which it was composed (after the September 11 terrorist attacks). Ghost Child, Honey Bear, The Car Thief are unusually moving. The Residents are as normal as possible in the power-pop of Make Me Moo and in the lounge jazz of My Brother Paul. Their eccentric songwriting is successfully unleashed only in Thundering Skies, Tortured and Sleepwalker.

WB: RMX (Cryptic, 2004) is a silly remix of the first demo the Residents dispatched to a major label (which returned them to the "residents", thus the band's name).

Twelve Days of Brumalia (2004), theoretically created only for the fans who downloaded the songs from the Residents' website, and the live album The Way We Were (2005) were minor eccentricities.

Their identities used to be the least interesting facts about the Residents. It is a bad sign that in 2005 their identities are the main topic of most articles on the Residents. Most likely, Animal Lover (Mute, 2005) is as "mainstream pop" as they will ever go, but it is nonetheless a sign that the times have changed. The more albums they put out like this one, the more likely that their myth will disintegrate. But then maybe this would be consistent with their original ethics.

Tweedles (2006) continued the disappointing streak.

Night of the Hunters (2007) was a double instrumental album.

Strange Culture (2007) was the soundtrack for a documentary.

The concept album The Voice of Midnight (2007) was basically an old-fashioned radio play with a soundtrack of avantgarde music. "Talking Light" Presents Randy's Ghost Stories was a DVD of ghost stories with animated graphics and the usual chaotic soundtrack.

The Bunny Boy (2008) was another concept album.

Is Anybody Out There? (2009) was another DVD of videos.

The Ughs (2009) was a remix of old material.

Ten Little Piggies (2009) collects unreleased material.

The double-disc Talking Light Bimbo's (2011) documents a live concert. Coochie Brake (2012) was the first album recorded without lead vocalist "Randy Rose" and yet another concept, this time a mock-autobiographical retelling of their Louisiana origins.

The piece Sam's Enchanted Evening debuted live in 2011.

Their film Theory of Obscurity (2014) was a collaboration with director Don Hardy.

Hardy Fox, disguised under the new moniker Charles Bobuck, released several solo albms: Chuck's Ghost Music (2012), Codgers On The Moon (2012), GOD O (2012), Life Is My Only Sunshine (2013), The Highway (2014), Roman De La Rose (2014), Missing Soldiers (2015), What Was Left Of Grandpa (2015), The Swords Of Slidell (2016), Bobuck Plays The Residents (2016), Black Tar (2016), Nineteen-Sixty-Seven (2017).

Fox also published his autobiography, "This is for Readers" (2016).

The Ghost of Hope (2017) was the Residents' first studio album in five years.

Under his own name, Hardy Fox then released a flurry of albums in 2018: Hardy Fox (2018), A Day Hanging Dead Between Heaven And Earth (2018), Nachtzug (2018) and Rilla Contemplates Love (2018).

Hardy Fox, one of the greatest composers of rock music, died in October 2018 of brain cancer at the age of 73.

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