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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/Renaldo And The Loaf - Title In Limbo [Klanggalerie - 2014]

“Title In Limbo” is a  highly creative, varied, & wonderfully twisted  collaboration  between San Francisco based avant pop/ art project The Residents, and British avant-pop meets wonky (off) world music two piece  Renaldo And The Loaf. The album was originally released back in the early 80’s, when both bands were at the heights of their odd sonic powers, and it stands as a highlight in both projects discographies. Here we have a much deserved  CD reissue from late 2014.

The CD appears on Austrian experimental label Klanggalerie, and it comes in a come in a mini three panel gatefold, which features a stuck on 8 page inlay booklet in the middle panel. The reissue sadly doesn’t offer up any rare or unreleased tracks- but really it’s just great to have this album back in print again. This is the first time the album has been available since 1998- when it was released by Ralph Records, as an ltd CD pressing of just a 1000 copies.  This recent reissue is unlimited.

The album is made up of eleven tracks, with a total running time of just thirty five minutes. The music for the album was created in two stages- firstly in 1981  both projects met together for four days in San Francisco to jam & record. Then in 1983 Brian Poole( one half of RATL) returned to San Francisco with tape loops( from Dave Janssen- the other half of RATL), and he sang, & added instrument overdubs to the material. And the resulting work is a wonderfully weird sonic Frankenstein monster, which mangers to stitch together the elements of both projects sound to create something very distinctive & wholly original.

The album opens with “Intro:Version”- which is a short instrumental just over minute track- it brings together a tolling & angular blend of synth & guitar, with slurred Resident’s horn honks on top- it’s perfectly ushers one into the albums  off-kilter atmosphere.  Next up we have “The Shoe Salesman”- this opens up with a blend of uneasy synth & vocals from one of RATL, fairly soon odd, locked, yet strutting & coldly wiry guitar element are added. Then things sudden turn very quirky & playful, as we move into a blend of buoyant one-man band guitar playing, day-glo synth stabs, and kazoo- with the singer now moving from eerier spoken word start to more comic & animated.   From here on each song takes you on its own strange & often unexpected journey- moving between buoyant & odd, to disturbing & wonky, onto slurred & disturbing. With The Residents & RATL fairly equally sharing vocal performances. And on a few tracks we also get the highly distinctive & wonky seared guitar & violin work of The Residents guitarist Snakefinger.

As collaborations go this is one of the more effectively quirky & odd I can think of, and as an release it has a very special place in my heart as I first heard when I was getting into the Residents back in the mid 1990’s. Also due to it’s  sound use & time period it’s very much up their with  great Residents albums from the  80’s like The Commercial Album, and the two Mole albums- but as I said early-on it does have it own distinctive sound with-in the bands discography.  So really if you are a fan of either The Residents or RATL- this is no brainier. And if you generally enjoy odd & unpredictable music  from the 80’s this is also a must have.

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

Roger Batty
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