While their pREServed Edition series will continue, the Residents have gone back to their 1979 classic Eskimo. The new release, Eskimo Deconstructed, is a vinyl LP only release from Cherry Red and Ralph Records. As the title would suggest, this is a stripped down version of the album. While the Residents have already released a pREServed edition of Eskimo, this new release is entirely different beast.
Eskimo was released by the Residents in 1979. As mentioned in my review on the pREServed edition, Eskimo is my personal favorite album by the group: it’s a fun album with a great concept, mostly due to the album’s programmatic nature. In celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary, the group decided to go all out and release all of the vocals, music, chants and sound effects used on the original 1979 album. Instead of releasing it on CD, the new release is presented on two 180 gram vinyl records. A CD is included with the two LPs but the CD only contains one hour of arctic wind blowing. While a confusing choice, this is where the Deconstructed release becomes interactive. On the back of the record, the liner notes invite listeners to use these tracks and make their own Eskimo tracks. If you have a USB turntable, you can transfer this album to a digital format and save all 72 tracks. You could later take those tracks and use them in programs such as ACID Music or Garage Band.
If you’re not interested in making your own version of the album, you can still listen to Deconstructed as an alternate version of the album. Whereas the original album was 45 minutes, the tracks used on the album amount to about 80 minutes of music. In a way, it’s the same album but it also isn’t. On the Eskimo pREServed edition, one of my favorite bonus tracks was the 20 minute “Eskimo Acapella Suite”- which consisted entirely of the vocals and chants used on the album. Deconstructed is almost like the album equivalent of that one track: you can hear every nook and cranny of Eskimo here. Of the 72 tracks, I particularly enjoy listening to the commercial jingles the group inserted on the album- some of which were barely audible on the original album. On Deconstructed, you can hear them all very clearly.
While Deconstructed is a solid release from the Residents, it isn’t without its flaws. While it’s fun to listen to all of the different vocals, chants and sound effects- it is very repetitive. Without the album’s original stories aiding the tracks, some listeners might get a little bored listening to 80 minutes of this. While the tracking order here is fine, I would’ve appreciated if everything had been organized by track type. For the most part, that’s the case but there are times where it isn’t. Then again, someone could take these tracks and make their own playlist in iTunes.
Overall, Eskimo Deconstructed is yet another fine release from the Residents. While I might not come back to this release too much, it’s nice to have as sidepiece to the original album.
I'm a writer/journalist with a passion for music and pop culture. Having graduated from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 2014, I've been looking for a platform in which I can share my passions. Since 2009, I've been posting to my own blog- The Walrus' Music Blog- via Blogger. I'm also the author of two self-published books, "The Camp: Stories from the Summer" and "The College: Stories from King's." Together, the two books cover the story of my life from 2004 to 2014. I've been lucky enough to interview several of my favorite musicians over the years and go to concerts from time to time. I'm also very devoted to the CBS reality TV show Survivor, which I started watching in 2002 when its fourth season started. I currently live in New Jersey.