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Torso was a Dutch record label that released Ralph products in Europe from 1986 to 1991.

History

Early Years (1979 - 1985)

Founded in 1979, Torso was initially a sub-label of Ariola records, who had made secured the rights to release The Residents' compilation album Nibbles in the Netherlands that same year. In January of 1980, Torso became independent from Ariola, and signed acts like The Rousers, Mecano & Ludwig Wisch. During this time the label began to establish a healthy distributional relationship with Boudisque, a local record store that had recently started to dip its toes into record releases.

The Residents & 'Kaw-Liga' (1986 - 1987)

The A-Side to the Kaw-Liga Dancemix

In 1986 Torso bought the rights to release The Residents' material in Holland, starting with the group's 13th Anniversary Show album, followed by the their then latest studio album, Stars & Hank Forever. To support Stars & Hank, the label released Kaw-Liga / Jambalaya, featuring a different B-Side to the Ralph Records equivalent. The single attracted the attention of local DJs Michiel Kleiss & Mikel Le Roy, who saw the dance potential in the A-Side, and produced two remixes of the track. After presenting the remixes to Torso, the label were delighted, and so, after explicit permission from The Residents themselves, the label released the two remixes (as well as the original mix) on an EP titled Kaw-Liga (Dancemix).

The nine minute 'Prairie' mix of Kaw-Liga proved to be insanely popular in the European club scene, with it being the thing closest The Residents ever got to a commercial success. As a result of the song's success, Torso funded a tour of Europe in October of 1986, during which Kaw-Liga would be played as the second encore. One of these shows was recorded professionally by Torso, and was released the following year as The 13th Anniversary Show: Live In Holland. This would be the start in a trilogy of releases by Torso, titled The Residents Live In Holland series, all released by Torso.

Throughout 1987, Torso would mostly just re-release material from The Residents' US labels Ralph Records, and East Side Digital. But beyond the 13th Anniversary Live album, Torso had exclusive rights to re-release Snakefinger's albums, putting out all three of his original albums featuring The Residents on LP that year.

Over in the US, The Residents had developed the 'Potato Chips' concept, for which their latest album 'God In Three Persons' would be released in multiple variations, an album, a soundtrack, a single, and an EP. Rykodisc, who had agreed to release the album in the US, were disapproving of this concept, but agreed to release the 'chips' in limited forms. Torso were more interested however, and gave each piece a wide release, aside from the Holy Kiss Of Flesh single, which was exclusive to Rykodisc. They also released the Double Shot EP as a single.


Cube-E / Later years with The Residents (1988 - 1991)

The Residents at The Boudisque 20th Anniversary Party

In late 1988, Boudisque were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their record store, and held a mini festival in store. Since The Residents had been one of the most popular acts sold at Boudisque, Torso invited them to perform. The Residents were working on Wild West inspired music at the time, and seeing as the material was easy enough to perform live, the group saw it as the perfect material to debut at this low-key event. As such, inadvertently the group debuted their Cube-E concert tour, with a performance of Buckaroo Blues. By March of 1989, Torso also funded another live appearance, a TV concert on German television program Off Beat Night. Also that same year, Torso put out two exclusive releases, another remix of Kaw-Liga, and an archival live recording from The Mole Show, titled The Mole Show live in Holland. They helped fund the Cube-E tour throughout Autumn of 1989, and then again in March of 1990. During the March leg of the tour, Torso recorded two of the concerts for release in a similar way as their 13th Anniversary Show CD. Despite its title, Cube-E Live In Holland only features one track recorded in Holland, with the rest being recorded in Spain. That same year, in order to promote The Residents' latest album The King & Eye, Torso released the Don't Be Cruel EP and Single, followed by the Diskomo EP, which collected a handful of rare and out of print tracks not included in the Residents Classic Series.

The labels final Residents release was in early 1991, a re-release of Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats? with bonus selections from The Census Taker. The following year The Residents formed Euro Ralph, a record label formed in Germany exclusively dealing in Residents material.

Post Residents (1992 - 1994)

After the departure of The Residents in 1991, Torso began to release less and less material, until relocating to Switzerland in 1994 and going defunct. In its final days, Torso sold their sub-labels Go Bang! & ESP Records to Roadrunner, which both continued in Torso's absence up until 1999.

List of Residents related releases.

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