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Ten Little Piggies

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Album Review

The Residents have been on quite a creative streak in the first decade of the new millennium, with a bunch of new albums, a pretty extensive reissue campaign, and retrospectives like the Kettles of Fish compilation. And judging from the "futurist compilation" Ten Little Piggies, they aren't slowing down at all. The "Ten Little Piggies" referred to are actually ten different projects that may or may not be completed and/or released (actually, as of the release date in late 2009, a couple of the projects have been released as downloads only and The Ughs! received a physical release as well). It's quite a mix. Several of these projects revisit earlier ones, like the Tweedles and Voice of Midnight instrumentals, which are interesting because those albums were originally so driven by narrative that the music was almost secondary. Apparently, they're also working on a Duck Stab Re-Imagined album, represented here by an almost drum'n'bass-style "Semolina" and a surprisingly dark take on "Laughing Song," reduced almost entirely to percussion. There are a couple of soundtrack projects (Strange Culture and Haeckel's Tale) and a couple extensions of the Bunny Boy saga: "Arkansas" and a live album from the Bunny Boy tour. Perhaps the two best tracks come from the Talking Light project, described as "interpretive storytelling with an interactive electronic score"..."based on a mix of improvisation and scoring." They're both creepy and hilarious in that special Residents way. Will all these projects see the full light of day? Who knows. But Ten Little Piggies is further proof (if you needed any) that the Residents are certainly among the most restlessly creative and productive groups in the history of mankind.


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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