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Customer Reviews

An Obscure Masterpiece of Organized Sound

Not Available was reportedly recorded in 1974 following (fictional?) musicologist N. Senada's "Theory of Obscurity", which maintains that an artist's best work is done free from the influence of an audience. In order to accomplish this, the Residents worked on the album under the premise that it would never be released until they completely forgot about its existence. It was finally made available to the public in 1978 to fill a gap in their release schedule. Even though that violated their original plan, the fact remained that the album was completed with the Theory of Obscurity in mind, and nothing would change that unless the previously-recorded sounds were altered. This 2011 reissue is remastered and restores approximately seven minutes originally cut from the LP.

I am not going to speak about the audible specifics of the work, as it is of my opinion that a piece of music should be listened to with as few presuppositions as possible in order to appreciate it in its purest form. Even vocals in known languages should be solely analyzed as instruments, because one tends to let the "meaning" of words bog down their experience of the sounds. However, because I understand that one does not have the time to hear every album in existence, and because I truly feel that Not Available is a monumental work of art, I will spoil a small bit of details about the content in the hope that I can convince the reader that a listen is well worth their time:

1. It is probably unlike anything else that you have ever heard in the past, or will hear in the future.
2. It is able evoke a wide variety of the most intense emotions known to humankind in the listener.

That is all I will say. I hope that you will enjoy Not Available as much as I do.

Favorite Album

This is the album that introduced me to the Residents, and the one that has stayed with me for years. It takes a few times to grow on you, but has many layers of mystery, originality and emotion that is so lacking in today's cookie cutter self regurgitating music in other genres.

This "extended" version of the album has 7 minutes of new music...but 3-4 minutes are of a repeated section from elsewhere in the album. So it really only has 4 minutes of new music. Either way. Just get it. Listen to it in its entirety until you are comfortable with music structure not always being Intro-Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Verse-Chorus.

It's time to see how far ahead of their time these guys were in the 70's.


This is the one all other Residents albums should try to live up to. Original, tuneful, weird, and awesome.


Formed: 1966 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Over the course of a recording career spanning several decades, the Residents remained a riddle of Sphinx-like proportions; cloaking their lives and music in a haze of willful obscurity, the band's members never identified themselves by name, always appearing in public in disguise -- usually tuxedos, top hats and giant eyeball masks -- and refusing to grant media interviews. Drawing inspiration from the likes of fellow innovators including Harry Partch, Sun Ra, and Captain Beefheart, the Residents...
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