A very worthy, and welcome, enhanced reissue. If the live-in-studio tracks were recorded in August '81 (although the CD notes revise this to 1982), just after Mark of the Mole was finished, and they were rehearsals for possible inclusion in a live show, what show were The Residents planning on using them in? Was a 10th Anniversary show/tour mooted, along similar lines to the eventual 13th Anniversary? Constantinople, Ship's a'goin' down, and Festival of Death here get their first 'live' airings, though this version of Festival is both a surprise and a delight.
Assorted Secrets, in a shorter form than this, first appeared as a cassette only release in 1984. This was the period where The Residents were rather short on funds after the artistic success/financial disaster of the Mole Show and the archives were raided for anything that could fill the Cryptic coffers. What you hear here is the band trying to work out how to transfer their often complex, studio based works into an acceptable live format. Some of it sounds a little flat, some of it is absolutely fascinating. Festival Of Death is of particular interest, an attempt to play a large section of the Eskimo album almost note for note. It's quite astounding and a glimpse of what a live Eskimo might have been like before the Moles got all the action. Mark Of The Mole gets a good look in here, with the entire album being performed live in front of a small invited audience. The Residents purport to hate this one (see cover) while over the years their nutty fans have begged its release. Are our heroes ashamed of the (technically) terrible playing on Smack Your Lips? Is it the various bumps, coughs and pieces of paper being rattled heard throughout these recordings that makes them cringe? Is it the complete drop out of sound at 1:41 on Call Of The wild that embarrasses them? Do we care about such minor blemishes? Of course not! The fans love it all the same and this is well worth a listen.
Worth it for the live version of MOTM. One of these rare goodies that cried for a re-release on CD. If you're into their older stuff, you'll love it! Proper, new, studio albums from The Rez, don't come along very often, but with things like this to keep us happy - who cares?