The Residents releasing trainwreck-themed LP ‘The Ghost of Hope’ (listen)
Enigmatic cult weirdo icons The Residents will release new album The Ghost Of Hope on March 24 via Cryptic/Cherry Red. Most of their records revolve around a concept and this one is no different, offering "a historically accurate album based on train wrecks from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries." More:
After discovering a series of vintage news articles highlighting the dangers of train travel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and inspired by the era's graceful language, the group contrast that eloquence against the sheer horror of these devastating events...
While the great poet's romantic relationship with train travel was undoubtedly heartfelt, she was definitely not traveling by rail as the 19th century neared its end. The dangers posed by increasingly fast trains, coupled with heavier and heavier cargo loads, moving across an aging rail system, made derailment a common occurrence.
In addition, the primitive communications and safety mechanism of the era often resulted in either head-on collisions or, conversely, "telescoping," which occurred when a stationary or slow-moving train was hit from the rear by another train on the same tracks. When this happened, especially in winter when the cars were heated by coal-burning stoves and illuminated by kerosene lamps, the wooden passenger cars were quickly engulfed in flames, resulting in a quick and unpleasant death for those surviving the initial impact. In retrospect, a simple fact was obvious: this revolutionary technology was progressing faster than society could regulate or control it.
Utilizing various techniques, including music, sound effects and text from actual newspaper accounts from the era, The Ghost of Hope purports to recreate several of these horrific incidents. While the dangers described in these factual events are now largely confined to the past, humanity perseveres, valiantly thundering ahead into the uncharted realms of digital technology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and the attempt to spread our seed throughout the cosmos. Meanwhile, have we learned from the past or are we doomed to repeat our mistakes on an ever grander scale?
The album features contributions from Eric Drew Feldman who you may know from Captain Beefhart, Pere Ubu and various Frank Black solo albums. You can check out the video for "Rushing Like a Banshee" and listen to "Train Vs Elephant" below.
If you're in the Bay Area, you can attend a special listening party for the album at The Exploratorium on March 30:
Unlike other listening parties you may have attended, The Residents themselves will be there, adding live texture to the album as it plays.
To be clear, this is not a full-fledged Residents performance, but it is a unique way to experience the new album, and of course another opportunity to breathe the same air as your musical heroes. The Exploratorium is also known as the Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception, with many fascinating interactive exhibits, so why not make it a full day of discovery?
Tickets for that listening party are on sale now. Check out album art and tracklist below.
The Residents - The Ghost of Hope tracklist:
Horrors Of The Night
The Crash At Crush
Shroud Of Flames
The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918
Train vs Elephant
Killed At A Crossing