XXJFG


28th April 2008

20 jazz funk greats

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Reading Drew Daniels’ contribution to the 33 1/3 series about 20 Jazz Funk Greats has made me hungrier for the Gristle, at all levels, the band are not so much dissected as teased into revealing their secrets, songs not displayed in the cold table of the deconstructionist butcher but beheld between admiration and doubt as they float like garish and toxic butterflies in the dark beautiful miasma where they exist, sounds, associations, influences, memories and perhaps a few lies all part of the dark brew which has infected us. ‘A chance to cut is a chance to cure’, but if healing is impossible, and even if it was possible, undesirable, then cutting is useless, let Throbbing Gristle continue advancing whole in the path of enlightened sickness, if you want a map for the shadowy provinces they built with resolute uncompromising purpose, then this book should be perfect for you.

Walkabout doesn’t go around, it goes up, every tone therein contained a crystal step in an ascension towards a place of blinding light towards which you climb following the spell of etheric fairies, or that is what you think, in a perverse world of antirrational geometry where everything is upside down, and what is upside down is right, imagine Escherian architectures as a reflection of Crowley’s famous motto, then this wonderful sketch by Chris Carter might well be the grammar of a demonic covenant which is signed by the listening. And you are smiling but condemned. Do not worry, and flip the crystal ball again, there is no up or down, only the extreme of its circumference, Throbbing Gristle’s final destination regardless of the path they decide to follow.

Throbbing Gristle- Walkabout

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‘Exotica’ is Throbbing Gristle’s crippled tribute to the man who established the blueprints of what would become lounge music. Many of us might well think of Lounge as the most banal of genres, a tepid wallpaper for the exercise of jet-set fantasies full of that ennui that comes from knowing that no matter where you are you can’t escape from yourself. On the other hand, Genesis P-Orridge loves Martin Denny’s music, which he describes as ‘staggering’ and ‘chaotic’, I listen to Denny’s synthesiser version of Quiet Village and I have to agree, there is definitely a creepy element in the vibes of this music, like the decadent shadows projected by the white villas of J.G. Ballard’s Cocaine Nights, this is a march for bloated automatons caught in the corrupted machinery of leisure, Throbbing Gristle’s appreciation another example of the way in which they see through the commercial and social veils which disguise the horrors surrounding us.

Martin Denny- Quiet Village (Synthesiser version)

Of course, Quiet Village took the utopian road, and the outcome were marvels.

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Hot on the Heels of Love defines mutant dance with its infirm progression through the shadowy corners of the discotheque, beware, there be monsters here, and the whip keeps cracking. This stylistic ambush is not random, as you might know Cosey Fanni Tutti was a professional stripper, and Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ was one of her ‘topless’ tracks. The anti-rational, purely percussive nature of primeval disco must have also appealed to a wild bunch rather enamoured with the enlightening possibilities of repetition and drone.

Exhibit 1- ‘Do You Wanna Funk’, a garish hi-energy mastodon that would in principle seem to be the antithesis to Throbbing Gristle’s bleak industrial landscapes. I am not so sure, to be fair, there is an intensity in Sylvester’s hedonism, a persuasive intent in his lyrics, as he pounds you into submission with frantic conga and murderously jacking hand-claps, drawing improbable lines of connection with the poisonous insistence of Throbbing Gristle’s pervy adventures, and the overwhelming nature of their aural blitzkrieg.

Patrick Cowley and Sylvester- Do You Wanna Funk (12” version)

Epilogue -
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Comments

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  1. What a fantastic post. Thank you. I’ll be sure to get a copy of the album, and maybe the book too on the back of this post.


    Yours sincerely

    mike smith

    28th April 2008


  2. sylvester?cowley
    genius much better quality than my scratchy 12….


    Yours sincerely

    zK

    28th April 2008


  3. Oh, glad you likey Mike! Let us know if you enjoy the album.

    ZK- yeah, that tune is total winner. Scratchy vinyl is always sweet though…

    Thanks for commenting people!

    xx


    Yours sincerely

    20jazzfunkgreats

    28th April 2008


  4. Have you heard this guy… Wrongson… I think his name is?
    I can’t find anything, anyway he’s apparently next level.
    : }


    Yours sincerely

    an

    28th April 2008


  5. I’m often of the opinion that Do You Wanna Funk might be the most perfect club track ever produced, and I must second Genesis’s opinion of Martin Denny for exactly the reasons you so elegantly explain in your post. Bravo!


    Yours sincerely

    area900

    28th April 2008



  6. Yours sincerely

    agentlovelette

    28th April 2008


  7. i guess the comment area doesnt like youtube links.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzxSNcNAEWQ


    Yours sincerely

    agentlovelette

    28th April 2008


  8. erm, do I have to buy the book to find out WTF is with the figure at the bottom of the b/w 20JFG image? Is it the poster version of the album cover?

    Oh and both the Denny and the PC/Sylvester tracks knock it out of the park. So wrong about Sylvester, I regret ever taking his name in vain :(


    Yours sincerely

    Dan Nixon

    28th April 2008


  9. Thanks area900 and Agentlovelette! WordPress is a tad funny with the videos…

    Dan, this is the back of the album in the CD edition, yeah, it’s a corpse superimposed on the legendary photo. I decided to go for all the B&W image to go with the rest of the post.

    Cheers for commenting everyone!

    xJ


    Yours sincerely

    20jazzfunkgreats

    28th April 2008


  10. Yes, cheers, guys. Another gem ripe for the plucking. May I ask when you fellows are going to take the first bold step into the world of non-net literature? These posts are beginning to feel like teasers for an approaching juggernaut….


    Yours sincerely

    georgie

    28th April 2008


  11. I wholeheartedly agree that Do You Wanna Funk is the finest dance record every unleashed on the world. I played it at the end of my disco on Friday and once again it stunned and elated the kids in equal measure. Excellent to get it on mp3, thanks xxjfg!


    Yours sincerely

    Simon

    29th April 2008


  12. Living in a backwards city in Texas has its benefits. One of them being that I own two copies of “Do you wanna Funk” and “Rock the Box” on 12 inch! There is much to love about Sylvester, buy his albums if you ever see them! (early early 80s)


    Yours sincerely

    bobby

    2nd May 2008


  13. Well described, something that i think of when i listen to Throbbing Gristle’s cold, deadpan tracks like, Auschwitz, The World Is A War Film, or totally different, Sunstroke Militia, a song eerily similar in that the intro sounds somewhat like an old Casablanca movie or dramatic movie, something like that. It turns mutant, subhuman, coming in with a sickness, of slowish well, undescribable, with a 15 year old vocabulary. I am 15 and started listening to TG when i realized everyone thought i was perverted and sexually repressed, or gay. In some of TG’s music, they actually partially focused on alienated kids, or well, teens, Auschwitz or even more effective in creating a feeling, Zyklon B Zombie, which was recorded to feel like it was playing in a gas cloud in the gas chambers as do the iminent death lyrics, is cold and makes you visualize and feel, hate, the cold auschwitz crematorium, the Giftgas cans, the starkness.


    Yours sincerely

    Matt

    13th January 2009


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