Leave it to a singing negro skull and three gelatinous, bloodshot eyeballs dressed in tuxedos to finally put the absurdity of DRM in perspective: my favorite band, the Residents, are selling a double album on their website for $14.99 that contains nothing but two blank CDs. Over the next 40 weeks, those who have bought the blank CDs will then download the album in pieces over iTunes and assemble the album themselves when it’s all over.
The project, called River of Crime, is a 1940’s serial of 20 shows described as a modern day Dragnet, following a Joe Friday-like protagonist who collects crimes. “After an early fascination with the electric chair, the series’ protagonist soon finds himself completely absorbed by the idea of crime and criminals, and each episode unfolds as a personal recollection, a memory of some unlawful event that has affected his life.” For Residents fans, this sounds a lot like a meshing of God in Three Persons‘ cohesive narrative with Freak Show‘s omnibus structure.
Boing Boing is very cute in announcing this, not deigning to call the Residents anything as prole as mere rock musicians when some obtuse techno-hipsterism can be inserted just as easily. So the Residents are an “anonymous surrealist art/performance group”… with no mention at all that they are predominantly a kick ass band who sometimes dabble in (and just as often revolutionize) other forms, like video games and music videos. Also, the Residents aren’t anonymous: it’s Homer Flynn backed by all the dead Beatles. Duh.
This is something of an indulgence post of mine, since I love the Residents so much, but when the entire music industry is trying to prevent you from burning your music to disc, it’s just great to see these consistently esoteric outsiders come up with an album format where you’re encouraged to do just the opposite.
River of Crime [Official Site]