on October 23, 2003
Apparently "Eskimo" was almost a nominee for Best Album upon its release. According to the Residents they didn't get on the final list, but they were invited to the ceremonies. After watching "Eskimo" you'll easily see why, and have to wonder why they didn't end up as a nominee, if not the winner. This little wonder is the visual interpretation of their album of the same name. It tells a number of stories of the Polar Eskimo. The stories themselves are composed of musical soundscapes and, originally, were accompanied by vivid linear notes. Now the notes are onscreen text and hauntingly vivid and beautiful imagery accompanies the stories. Everything has this sorta shimmery look which makes it appear quite arctic indeed. The stories are beautiful examples of an almost gone culture, and they make statements both on a way of life now gone and a way of life still trucking on solidly; our way of life. This is a piece of art in every way possible; which is also to say it is very nuanced. If you aren't into world music or studying other cultures, or you simply don't like Resident's instrumentals, then you might not like this. But for those who do... it's a great version of a classic, and it's also jammed packed with typical Residents easter eggs.... a Diskomo video, a number of old Eskimo documentary pieces (with new Residents scores) and other odd tidbits. A beautiful and haunting piece of art that really sticks with you for days after you've watched it.
on January 17, 2011
Of all the releases from The Residents' career, "Eskimo" is known as being one of their most popular releases (selling surprisingly well for an independent album at the time, even getting a Grammy nomination) and for displaying the first image of the band in their now signature eyeball-head costumes. But the music is quite an experience, and this DVD version takes it to the next level.
The original Eskimo album consisted of 6 tracks, more or less instrumental, which used music to tell different stories of the Inuit natives a.k.a. Eskimos. The record sleeve had the details of each story written out, along with miscellaneous trivia bits about Eskimos. The main feature of this DVD is the album remixed for 5.1 surround sound, accompanied by simple panning graphics of an Arctic landscape and Eskimos. The story-telling text is displayed along the way. The original list of trivia bits can be seen in one of the bonus features, a video for their dance remix "Diskomo 2000".
Is there any anthropological truth to these stories and the trivia bits? Not really. Just as the World Showcase pavilions you see in Disney's Epcot center aren't accurate representations of what those countries look like today. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the stories and the fictional culture it surrounds. If anything, it all illustrates the point that indigenous cultures often get swallowed up and conform to the dominating ones, leaving us with a cartoonish representation of the original.
Keep in mind that around the time of this release, there were a number of newer audio formats being presented to consumers, like DVD-A and SACD. A lot of DVD players don't support theses. Thankfully, The Residents decided to simply use a DVD format with surround-sound, and it works just as well. This is one of those albums that you can keep listening to, and hear some things you never quite noticed before.
The disc has a number of extras, including a "Nanook" featurette. The others are hidden away as Easter Eggs. You can access these by going to one of the other pages from the main menu, then either waiting 20 seconds, or highlighting "Main Menu" then pressing DOWN and ENTER. Do this from the "Credits" page to see "The Esquimaux Village", a one minute silent film by Thomas A. Edison (1901). Another Easter Egg is the story of Sedna, a goddess from Inuit mythology, accessible from the "Technical Notes" page. And finally, for the Diskomo 2000 music video, go to "The Residents" page from the main menu, then follow through as before (either wait 20 seconds, or highlight "Main Menu" then press down and enter).
on April 13, 2007
A conceptual work of brilliance! Eskimo is one of the Resident's finest works and a classic to introduce others to our Eyeball Ideosyncracies! This is the first album where our anonymous band takes on the personas of the classic eyeballs loved by conneseurs of the wierd the world over.
Relive the lives of Eskimos, throug the "eyes" of the Residents! Go hunting with them, live lives sculpted sonicly through musical landscapes of electronica. Feel the finely textured music wrapped around kinda "native" chants and gibberish!
The Residents sonicly take you on a journey here. This album is meant to be listened to when you can find the time to have no disturbances from the beginning to the end. It is your own imagination, guided by the music that creates the wonder experienced in Eskimo.
on November 14, 2006
When I originally heard this album, while reading the inserted story, I found it a little boring. And yet, since I am a fan, I bought the DVD and it turned me full circle. With the beautiful animation along with The Residents imitating walrus' it makes the story open up and make more sense. Of course the polar bears helped as well. Along with easter eggs (including the first ever made eskimo Thomas Edison movie)and a very humorous booklet, this DVD is worth the price.