Category Archives: throbbing gristle

Loves of Life

beachcombing

Peter Gordon and Factory Floor‘s Beachcombing is a chimera and a mirage that confounds our expectations about what is warm (the saxophone), and what is cold (those electric machines). The synths ululate like creatures of the dark forest, or cruisers creating their own zone of perversity in a forlorn park under the shadow of an squadron of leprous high rises. The saxophone is a relay releasing mega-bursts of information like the last escape pod from a moribund civilisation, or the final stage in the evolution of communication technology, when mankind transcends the digital.

Engineering mutates into mysticism, techno into jazz and everything becomes birds soaring in that awesome zone or genre that could well be called “Psyche Out” as un-defined by Optimo, who are aptly putting Beachcombing out, a moment we celebrate with Peter Gordon’s and Nik Void’s very own choices of inspirations and influences.

This is basically what we are about, we are so honoured to be featuring this post. Enjoy, and buy the record here.

john coltrane a love supreme

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme part 1: Acknowledgements

Peter: “As a kid, I used to listen to this every night as I would fall asleep. This record opened me up to the truly transcendent nature of music.”

Peter+Gordon++Love+of+Life+Orchestra+LOLO_19772

Love of Life Orchestra – Condo

Nik: “Condo is the first track I heard by Peter and sparked off our initial conversation on-line that let to our collaboration. I personally refer to Peter’s work in my head as compositions rather than tracks. I love this fade in, I love the ethereal vocals in unison, the slowed down metronomic cowbell beat.

mothers of invention absolutely free

The Mothers of Invention – Plastic People
Peter: “Totally opened me up what was possible regarding use of studio, collage, genre mixing, smart writing, incredible musicianship yet totally irreverent.”

nico the marble index

Nico – Frozen Warnings
Nik: “Again another track with an ethereal quality. Her vocals ride the track, and the track ride her vocals. There are no rules here, just feeling.

terry riley in c

Terry Riley – In C

Peter: “My first experience with what would be called minimalism. I was transfixed by the hypnotic sound and fascinated by the structural implications.”

throbbing gristle adrenalin

Throbbing Gristle -Distant Dreams (Part Two)

Nik: “When Gabriel played me the synth line for Beathcombing it reminded me of the same dream like quality of TG’s Distant Dreams Part Two. Journey tones mixed in with a hypnotic undercurrent.”

 

Best of 2011, part II: Resurrection of the Synthesist

Given our name, it’s no secret that we gorge on electronic sound, be it discomforting or transcendent.  Guttural or sublime.

We’re forever wary of confirmation bias but this year does seem to have seen wave upon wave of synth based music.  Not just music that features a synth but music that’s built around the synth, great cathedrals constructed to encapsulate the idea of making synthetic sounds that by their design are alien and other.  Except, they’re not anymore.  Thirty years of indoctrination has made the music of the synths mean something else.  A piece of retro nostalgia at one moment, something transgressive the next.  Often extremely beautiful in that airbrushed way that was once cliche but now — as the world folds in on its credit default swapped self –seems aspirational; utopian.

So this then, is our loosely assembled collection of synth focussed tracks which, like a good Bela Tarr movie, create a world and give us time to think within its borders.

 

Jonas Reinhardt: Eos, the Dawn In 2011, Jonas Reinhardt returned to these warm zones: constantly maintained by solar winds and the unfathomably complex gravitational dance moves of the planets.

Speeding through the heavens of blue refracted light that bounce freely off of vast glassed worlds, before slowing to take in the cresting of a sun over its many orbiting bodies.  Eos, the Dawn holds itself in a perfect moment before the god of arpegiated synth pulses rises from her slumber to usher in a new day.  Below a strange planet populated by sentient piers springs into life, their symbiotic Wurlitzers emerging out of the wooden decks like budding flowers to pipe a salute to the new day.

Jonas Reinhardt – Eos, the Dawn

Buy: Music for the Tactile Dome

 

Gatto Fritto: S/T Beachy Head is a beautiful suicide spot in the Sussex coast not far away from Brighton. It is the place depicted in the front cover of Throbbing Gristle’s 20jazzfunkgreats, and soundtracked in a most foreboding manner in the selfsame record. It also seems to be a place that Gatto Fritto, one of the most accomplished sages of the neo-Kosmische diaspora has given some thought to. His Beachy Head is a wonderful quantum waltz that stares not at the maelstrom swirling below, but at a night sky above, where subtle shifts in the luminosity of the constellations reveal a soothing message of galactic rebirth.

Gatto Fritto: Beachy Head

Buy: S/T.

 

Eric Enocksson: Apan Ramble through the hazy palace of your past, and into a cellar of gentle ruins where you collect memories of those pets that grew up with you, and grew old and frail and one day, died.  Bask in the portentous sadness of a wordless farewell, sweetened by the remembrance of the joy that was, and your ability to love, which is also the root of all your tears.  Now picture a dynasty of galactic shepherds whose flock is of planets and constellations, and of the races that thrived and decayed and perished therein, their affection and ache as great as yours, but stretched over aeons of blackness, interrupted by a blinding light, once in a while, once in a while.

Across which echoes a song like this.

Erik Enocksson – IV

Buy: Apan.

 

Borden/Ferraro/Godin/Halo/Lopatin: FRKWYS Vol. 7 One of the many strands that compose our love of music made with synthesisers is its ability to describe nature in a medium that is completely abstracted from.  As the sounds become more sythesised the creator’s intent is more nakedly revealed and in this instance, the feeling of drifting into night — which let’s face it is pretty fucking abstract — is conjured from the minds of the song’s participants.  Droning waves of synths layer each other like laser coloured veils until more excited flourishes tweet their arrival like thousands of birds of pure light arising for the gloom.

Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin – Twilight Pacific

Buy: FRKWYS Vol. 7

 

Harald Grosskopf: Synthesist (Reissue) Picture the collection of delicate vibrations through which sound is transported across air as a nascent civilisation of golden-skinned homunculi toiling in barren lands, developing in a super-compressed evolutionary process a theory of the mind and language. If the stars are our destination, then we must be theirs, for they populate our sensory system with awe-inspiring structures that will thrive long after a supernova of silence has obliterated the system whence they arrived. Harald Grosskopf is the Deus-ex-Machina behind this beautiful infiltration, the all-knowing watchmaker that set this process in movement. He is their God, I wouldn’t be surprised if he became ours too.

Harald Grosskopf- Synthesist

Buy: Synthesist

 

Food Pyramid: Food Pyramid III Food Pyramid don’t (need to) mention anything eluding to German 60s/early 70s music in their email to us, but as with the Boredoms, Juan Atkins, Holy Fuck, Death in Vegas, Fuck Buttons, The Time and Space Machine, Deerhunter, Gavin Russom, Oneida, Lindstrom or P.I.L. – reading between the lines gives us great delight.

Food Pyramid – E-Harmony

Buy: Food Pyramid III.

 

S.C.U.M.: Again into Eyes When teenagers making epic industrial goth by way of southend on sea make a first album on Mute records team up with the combined production talents of Ken and Jolyon Thomas you might expect something interesting. Again into Eyes goes beyond anything you’d expect as a first album, beyond the combined age and wisdom of all involved. If this is their first offering, then personally we cannot wait for more.

S.C.U.M – Whitechapel

Buy : Again into Eyes

 

Rene Hell: The Terminal Symphony Rene Hell gives us large hadron collider tickets to an abstract universe where Andrei Tarkovski directed Tron, and Terry Riley teamed up with Aphex Twin to make the soundtrack. BLAM.

Rene Hell – Lighthouse Marvel

Buy: The Terminal Symphony.

 

Moon Gangs: S/T Moon Gangs  plug a whole array of synthetic apparatus into the output devices of our planetary sensory system, thus generating a tape, the latest episode in an invisible collection of factual documentaries through which generation after generation of stargazing weirdoes (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Terry Riley, Ligeti, Lindström, OPN, etc.) have attempted to reveal a truth that can’t be spoken.

Moon Gangs – Sea

Buy: S/T (sold out soz)

 

IFEEL Studio: Morgengruss III IFEEL Studio stretches fingers of gold into the core of the galaxy, and the deepest recesses of the human heart to grasp the mysteries of love, and scatter them into the wind. From these seeds grows a mighty tree under whose shadow we rest in a furious summer afternoon, eating cheese and bread like humble and satisfied shepherds, humming a melody of beauty and peace.

IFEEL Studio – Watching Stars Over The Rubicon Beltway

Buy: Morgengruss III

 

Zombi: Escape Velocity Escape Velocity is a new instantiation of our manifesto: numinous motorik disco for emergent new era cults, party music for the post-singularity hivemind, the blueprint of an interstellar motorway where a suicidal priesthood accelerates its sexy silver machines towards the ultimate event horizon.

Zombi – DE3

Buy: Escape Velocity.

 

Mist: House Mist’s House is a collection of prophesies about the day-to-day of our poly-mathematic future, and a tribute to the pioneering work of the Kosmische school that first calibrated its main parameters, and anticipated its sentiment.

In it, the fundamental relations in the science of harmony are expressed mechanically by marshalled regiments of numbers marching with irresistible power

Mist – Twin Lanes

Buy: House

 

Deep Earth: House of Mighty Deep Earth lash out with the pent-up energy of a zillion Zenta laser panthers as they lunge forward, not to snap your neck with mighty fangs of antediluvian vintage, but to carry you dangling from their mouth into exotic lands of strife and illumination like a psychedelic version of He-Man’s Battle Cat, dreamed up in some German progressive commune circa 1976.

Deep Earth – House of Mighty II

Buy: House of Mighty

 

Thug Entrancer: Case  Mounting a late surge into this list Thug Entrancer’s email popped into our swamp-like inbox linking us to Volume 1 and 2 of Tropics Mind.  Pulling in Carpenter synth workouts, Juke influences and more ambient meanderings they’re nothing if not superbly ambitions explorations of synth driven dance music.

Whereas initially they volumes seem arbitrary, volume 1 soon reveals itself as a finely honed, low key Juke inspired, bubbling gem.  With only Spiritual Growth losing the frantic rhythm of its peers, opting instead for a spot on the Carpenter/Goblin axis of tension/terror.  Volume 2 seems more focused on the aforementioned Carpenter/Goblin/(slowed)-Italo synth driven genre…we still haven’t got a suitable name for.  [We suck at genres]  From which Case comes.

Thug Entrancer – Case

Buy: Tropics Mind

 

Throbbing Gristle: all of it (re-mastered reissues) All of them.  On vinyl.  Get them now.  Even if they’re not really ‘synth’ albums — in the same way that David Lynch isn’t really a pop star.

Buy: ALL THE THINGS

Testing is the future, and the future starts with you

We stare aghast at the dynamics of nerd media convergence, and in particular a modern zombiggedon that has not managed, over several years of rotten meat barrage and hick vernacular, to produce a single moment worth a footnote in the original opus of Master Romero (the exception being Left 4 Dead and its sequel). Or perhaps it did after we gave up on it all.  Is the Walking Dead any good?

It’s not so hard to take things to the next level. Let us lucubrate.

The population dynamics of a world infected by a zombie holocaust would clearly result in the extermination/retreat of the human race from large swathes of the territory. Potential scenarios following from this:

[1] A zombie famine perhaps slowed down by gory feasting on the thriving wildlife, or mass migration to new areas populated by humans. Only retarding the need for…

[2] A zombie enlightenment where the unthinking hordes develop some basic organisational skills, and start harvesting humans for their brains. And if not…

[3] A zombie lethargy, where the undead slip into a coma until humans come back from a safe haven where they have gathered in numbers to recover their strength. But of course we prefer…

[4] To assume that zombies derive nourishment not from alive flesh per se, but from intelligence stored in brains, which replenishes their decaying nervous systems with neuroelectrical energy. From this follows that, if by the time the zombie holocaust takes place, humans have managed to deliver on the promise of Artificial Intelligence, then zombies will move on to feed on the data infrastructure once they are done with real people. Zombies against robots. Moore vs Fulci. Biomechanical carnage. Come on people, this is surely someone’s wet dream. Make it happen.

Which brings us to today’s musicks. One would be hard pressed to find a more fitting candidate to soundtrack the industrial death clash of that final scenario than the psychic commandoes after whom this humble blog is named.  Throbbing Gristle. Yes. Savour the words like an innocent child after taking a bite from the putrid apple. We should do this more often, whenever we feel lacking in the energy required to make sense of modern culture, visit Gristle La and get purified.

Start the test.

Throbbing gristle – Adrenalin

Adrenalin was included in a 7’’ the other side of which was Distant Dreams (Part 2), which you may have heard in one of those era-defining Soul Jazz Compilations. It captures in its aerodynamic envelope the nihilistic momentum of the man machine synthesis with which life in this planet steps into the next level, to the stern metronomic crack of a dominatrix whip. Think Patrick Cowley’s Menergy, and then reverse the polarity.

And let us continue with the TG vibes down the ill-lit corridors of a hopefully abandoned abattoir, by the bony hand of German Army. They are a minimal synth project involving members of Bipolar Bear/Turrks and former Spits, and their Calypso Host is up there with the best cuts from Chi-town’s nocto-liminal renaissance (e.g. Beau Wanzer or Alex Barnett) – although they don’t hail from Chicago.

German Army – Calypso Host

Slash! This is the bit in Escape of LA where Snake slips into the cellar of the cosmetic surgery clinic hosting those faded celebrities who had their skeletons extracted, smooth is (supposed to be) beautiful. You can almost picture an H.R. Giger/Black Dice spawned reincarnation of Doctor Phibes freestyling on his organ, sounds refracted and distorted as they course through vats overflowing with sentient, abominable flesh.

Picture above is of course from Stalker, just imagine Snake Plissken somewhere in there.

In the dark, that’s where I shine

Yes, now that’s a quote by Vin Diesel, there.

throbbinggristle

In was in el Prado in Madrid last week, lost in the carnival of the Goya, the Bosch and the Brueghel, the latter’s ‘Triumph of Death’ puts to shame all feeble attempts to shock and shlock as deployed by the total loser torture porn movement, now here is terror as the living are exterminated by the skeleton hordes, if you look into the background you shall see butchered bodies hanging from trees in the midst of that apocalyptic scenario William Hope Hodgson wasn’t quite able to convey, closer to you, a skeleton which has torn the face off one of the living wears it on top of its grimacing skull and revels in the massacre, death doesn’t forgive, we know that, the problem is when the living become death, Brueghel was just reflecting on the carnage of his days, the carnage that was to come, the carnage that seems to accompany us wherever we go.

As I got ready to listen to Throbbing Gristle’s US tour exclusive new album, the Third Eye Movements, I thought that maybe it would sound like it would sound if you were inside that painting, all dust ochre, and splatter red and the yellow of cruel bone. But it doesn’t, no, TG never fail to surprise and that’s where their morbid fascination lies, The Third Eye Movements sounds nothing like that, it sounds like the devastated scenery once it’s all over, a wasteland of derelict metal structures on which you, the survivor, walk alone like one of those pathetic humans in a bedevilled version of the Fantastic Planet, surrounded by levitating unfogiving Dalek-like pyramids of skulls which slide into the eternal night like cyclopean icebergs of numb evil. It’s dark like that.

Throbbing Gristle- Not that I Am

suncity1

And if one was going to look for the total and fierce reverse to the onslaught of the troops of death soundtracked by Throbbing Gristle, one would be hard pressed to find anything more fitting than the ramshackle collection of beautiful folk paraphernalia that Sun City Girls bring to us in their second collection of singles (bless ’em), which goes by the name of ‘Napoleon and Josephine‘, another subversive ploy to infect all the secret, oft unbeknownst potential conspirators out there with a bizarre virus for which there is no cure. Theirs is the music of everyone,  the music of laughter down some primitive road of an Indonesian forest and the music of old men sitting outside a restaurant in El Paso, chatting about this and that as the sun continues its eternal cycle in a steely sky, it’s the music of mother cheetah sparing its victim for once, the music of foxes howling at the moon in the stoney mesas, in the spaced out gaps between the humming and strumming of wood and string lies the good humoured truth of the dishevelled hermit that breaks 50 years of silence to crack a fart joke, just because he knows.

Sun City Girls- A Wake

This is the sort of tune that DJs that have what it takes should use to start their sets.

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Following on from the first one which was all kinds of fun, another SO BONES party is happening very soon. Friday May 1st, if you happen to be in London and you wanna shunt and sweat with us come upstairs to Catch.

This time around the usual 2OJFG DJs will be in the awesome company of the Notorious V.I.C. and Bumps (aka Dom & Eka.)

20 jazz funk greats

throbbing.jpg

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.

sylvester.jpg

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)

Genesis

Throbbing Gristle - Hot on the heels of love

Throbbing Gristle- Hot on the Heels of Love

September 1979 produced something odd and less difficult to digest than previous gristly. Perhaps more Chris and Cosey than Genesis. A hypnotic electronic Love to Love you, was this the inspiration for Lil Louis – French Kiss?

It sounds similar to being tied up, blindfolded and slowly whipped into a never ending dream state of sexual ecstasy (if you like that sort of thing). Very hot. Very heels(12″ I reckon). Slow enough for Tory mps to dance to in leather shorts bought from Sex in the King’s road. Filthy and perverted in the grand tradition of Je t’aime.

Frustrated housewife Beverly in Abigail’s Party could have easily said “Ohhhhh I love a bit of Throbbing Gristle, don’t you Ange?”…..well maybe not.

Why has the whip sound not been added as a percussive noise on drum machines since? Anyone with an early yamaha/casio with such a sound on be sure and let me know (finders fee – a shiny new penny).

BUY Throbbing Gristle

deliangavin

Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom – Rise (DFA Remix)

Another track with whips lashing.

Rise is a Moroderian chase where layers and layers of synths spill over a metronomic rhythm full of subtle variations (ah, this is a DFA remix), the result a monster of primitivist electronica which takes the listener on a trip down Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, the melodies drawing a misteryous landscape, vague but full of wonder and anticipation.

This the sound of robots, not having sex but travelling to a rendezvous point where they will, we know which song they’ll play then.

BUY Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom