Sunday 17 November 2019

Erik Satie & The Residents: Anti Music/Experimental Sound

I wanted to discuss the music of Erik Satie (born May 17, 1866, Honfleur, Calvados, France—died July 1, 1925, Paris) and The Residents (a music group who released their debut album in 1972), in relation to my project on memory.

I am looking at these artists as I am interest in how they layer and experient with sound just as I am layering and experimenting with photographs and memory.  Music has the ability to take you anywhere in the mind and so does an image - we create our own stories, call up old memories. The Residents have stayed anonymous for their entire career and this means that their work is not overpowered or interfered with by personality and it something to be hugely admired in these celebrity/self-obsessed days.

This is a film about them: The Theory Of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents

What is interesting about this is about creating a myth, the myth created by obscurity, by stories told, by whispers.  We can all tell our own stories building layers of myth and truth that make up our own story.

Satie also led a strange life mostly in obscurity: 'Film-makers have missed a trick with the life of Erik Satie. A biopic would have pretty much everything: the heart-warming story of a talented but strange man whose early failure and obscurity led to late-in-life celebrity; some acrobatic sex (literally – his one-and-only girlfriend had previously run away to the circus); strong language, violence, scandal and litigation (he was famously irascible, and was imprisoned over a spat with a music critic)' (Bowen M: 01/07/2015) Satie was eccentric and that is why his music was so avant-garde in its experimental nature - using 'high' and 'low' music, sounds and what he called 'furniture music' which is essentially what we have everywhere we go today. 

I want in my own work to explore these ideas much further than I really can in this project but I will try to produce my film on memory and then I do hope that I can explore a larger body of wor that uses more of these ideas of obscurity, eccentricity, and memory.


Bowen M. (1st July 2015) The Guardian: Erik Satie: a life less ordinary [Online] Available from: (Accessed 17/11/19)

Britannica (2019) Erik Satie [Online] Available From: (Accessed 12/11/19)

Kreps D. (31st October 2018) Rolling Stone Magazine:The Residents’ Co-Founder Hardy Fox Dead at 73 [Online] Available from: (Accessed 17/11/19)

Weingarten C.R. (2nd March 2015) Rolling Stone Magazine: We’re an Anonymous Band: How Do You Make a Film About the Residents? [Online] Available from: (Accessed 18/11/19)

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