High Horses

A nice little one-off by The Residents' "Combo de Mechanico" (despite what it says on the sleeve!). Who? Wha? we might say, but they sure ain't telling. This seems to carry on a series of automated-music experiments - History of Digital Music, Pollex Christi - and, as usual, there is a bizarre concept behind it. This represents the sound of riding the carousel at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in 1970 while under the influence LSD. This CD is very short for the price, but you do get a lovely 'Factoid-a-round' wheel inside, which gives you information about 1970, the Golden Gate Carousel and Acid. A word of warning for those who get dizzy easily. 3D spatial sound trickery is employed all the way through.

It was a good stop-gap while waiting for the next album. What it obviously wasn't was a thrown-together-overnight project — the process behind this has been gently simmering on the back burner of The Residents' collective consciousness for at least 16 years. As revealed by Hardy Fox in a radio interview, back in 1987. The Residents have long had an interest in street organ and carousel music, which is programmed by means of punched cards. High Horses is an attempt to both emulate punch-card carousel music by means of modern computer systems, and to simulate an actual carousel ride.

The Residents seem to have turned towards the importance of sound again, after a slight aversion for most of the nineties. I think they decided that it would be a good experiment to explore the use of notes, harmony and melody for a while (paying less attention to texture). Here, I think they were beginning to combine the two again (a trend started with Wormwood).