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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Residents - Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats?/The Census Tak [MVD Audio/ Ralph Records/ Cryptic Corp - 2014]

Here we have a 2014 reissue of two soundtracks from  those mysterious sonic eccentrics & quirky genre mixers The Residents. The release takes in two OST from 1984, and they come in the form of Whatever Happened To Vilness Fats? (an edited version of the bands sprawling & never fully released film), and The Census Taker (a low grade black comedy/crime caper).

The release takes in twenty five tracks in all- ten from  Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?, and fifteen from The Census Taker. Sound wise all the tracks here are classic 1980ís Residents fare- mixing together buoyant, yet creepy & wonky layers of synth textures, off-kilter instrumental detail,  & quirky electronic percussion. And genre wise we are in a most distinctive & bizarre place that brings together elements of: off-kilter easy listening, wonky electro jazz, nursery rhyme like melodies, odd  world music elements, and sinister synth craft. As youíd expect with a soundtrack most of the tracks here are purely instrumental- but a few of the tracks do feature the wavering, strange & bizarre vocals of The Residents. 

Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats? was a movie project that the band stared in 1972, and apparently consists of 14 hours of footage- though it was never fully complete, and to date only 32 minutes of footage has been released from the film. It focused in on suitable odd plot which told of  a weird village that was under siege by bandits who were stealing the villages meat supply, forcing them to exist on vegetables alone. To take care of things, the village hire Siamese twin tag-team wrestlers to be their saviours. Unfortunately these twins also have their own problems, including an Indian princess whose lovers always die. All  of the tracks on this part of the release are all original compositions, and really if you are a fan of The Residents around this period you must have this!.

The Census Taker was directed by Bruce R. Cook(who seeming only ever directed one other movie a 1989 horror entitled Nightwish). The film told of couple George (Greg Mullavey) and Martha (Meredith MacRae) who  let Harvey (Garrett Morris), an annoying census taker, into their home, they find themselves under a barrage of increasingly abusive questions. Furious at his intrusiveness, and at their wit's end, they kill the census taker, but must hide the body from a determined investigator. Again a rather odd plot, and the soundtrack itís self is a mix of new musical cues written for the film, along with instrumental/ different versions of tracks they had already reordered. This is soundtrack again is most rewarding- yes you get pervious released tracks, but there are only a few of these (taken from 1980ís The Commercial Album & 1982ís The Tunes Of Two Cities), and these are fairly different versions of said tracks too.


The last time this album got an official  release was way back in 1991- when it appeared on CD for the first time, so this reissue is long, long over due. I donít think this new version has been remastered in anyway, and you donít get any extras( apart from a short write-up). But really as this has been Out-Of-Print for so long itís great to get it in any form. Of course this is a must have for fans of The Residents, but I can also see this appealing to those who enjoy odd & off-kilter soundtrack fare from the 1980ís.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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