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In 1979 "punk" music was all the rage. The Residents had gone though the punk stage three years earlier with the release of "Satisfaction" and were ready for anything that was not punk.

They decided it was a good time to make the jump into world music, since by their own calculations it would not become popular for several more years. They scanned the map for a proper culture to exploit and, not finding one, became discouraged until seeing a large Coke sign featuring Santa Claus. Immediately they realized they had overlooked the North Pole because it is made of ice and therefore didn't exist on their world map.

Immediately rushing out to a library, they gathered all the information they could find on Eskimos. What they found was a government-issued book on Eskimo sanitation, a book of Eskimo legends, and one scratchy record of someone hitting a drum and chanting. Not exactly the rich cultural vein they had hoped to mine.

But it was enough, for it set the Eyeballs spinning off into their own imaginary world of six-month nights, marimbas made of frozen fish, and Eskimo sex lives. For almost four years the ideas tumbled around. Sometimes they would feel elated at some new breakthrough, but usually they moaned that the album would not only make dreary listening, but be pretentious beyond belief.

But when it was finally released ESKIMO was a hit, both in sales and in reviews. Andy Gill of New Music Express said, "I'm not sure quite how to convey the magnitude of The Residents' achievement with Eskimo. What I am sure of is that it's without doubt one of the most important albums ever made, if not the most important, and that its implications are of such an unprecedentedly revolutionary nature that the weak-minded polemical posturing of purportedly 'political' bands are positively bourgeois by comparison."

He says this because the album tells the story, without relying upon words, of the assimilation of a ritualistic society into consumer culture. This story unfolds as Eskimo fables, a lived experience, set to the grinding of sound effects and music. It is a mind movie rich with detail. ESKIMO is, quite literally, a unique experience.


After Eskimo was released The Residents responded to the furor of fuss and praise it generated by taking various bits out of the album and re-working them to a disco parody of the original. The band then took over San Francisco's largest disco hall and held a release party featuring "weird" and "new" music. Diskomo didn't really catch on with the regular disco types until New Wave disco hit the scene, but after that the single did very well for a couple of years.


The Residents had long planned to produce a children's record -- of sorts. Goosebump is a collection of Mother Goose rhymes set to music with all of the "original sinister overtones" left in place. They teamed up with their long-time collaborator Snakefinger and recorded the songs using only musical instruments bought at Toys-R-Us. Although children's toys were used to produce the music, The Residents' grown-up toys were used afterwards in the mixing of the recording.

Diskomo 2000(2000)

In 2000, Bomba and East Side Digital re-released Diskomo/Goosebump on CD as Diskomo 2000. The collection included the original single's material, the 1992 version of Diskomo, and new, techno/dance versions of Diskomo and Twinkle for the year 2000.

Eskimo DVD(2002)

The original music has been remastered in Surround Sound and is accompanied by a slide show of images and text from the Eskimo story. The DVD is augmented by a bonus section called "excerpts from Nanook", taken from the old silent monochrome documentary and accompanied by music from the Hunters soundtrack.