I've promised various posters that I'll follow up my "24 Hours of Throbbing Gristle" thread with a further ten hours' worth of my ramblings about noise to cover the "TG+" box set. (which would make the original thread a little unwieldy).
As an introduction, I'd just like to say... I went to the TG gig/recording session this afternoon... and FUCK. It was incredible. The first half I was thinking "Yeah, this is great... this is what I wanted to see..." but half way through, there was a definite point when it became "SHIT!!! I'm watching Throbbing FUCKING Gristle!!!"
(Although, it has to be said, as soon as the trademark TG bass rumble started, my critical faculties left the bulding, much in the same way they tend to when I see words scrolling upwards and hear the Star Wars music...)
And also, somewhere about halfway through, Gen turned into Judy Garland. I swear this was not just me. He did!
I've now had a chance to listen to the TG:NOW CD I bought at the gig... the first new studio stuff in, yes, 23 years.
And I have to say, it's fucking awesome.
Basically it sounds like Throbbing Gristle with modern technology, as you'd expect... lots of nice glitchy electronica, some mad Gen vocals... even a ballad of sorts, Almost Like This, which sounds a LOT like Coil's Black Light District project (not a bad thing) crossed with Allegory & Self-era Psychick TV and just a hint of Chris & Cosey/CTI's rhythmic shenanigans. Not sure if this was intended as a track which basically highlighted the strengths of each individual member, but that's what it puts me in mind of. And bloody good it is too!
Sadly, I did know about this, but was not in the position to do anything about it. Fortunetly, I'm sure the new TG material will end up on Soulseek sooner or later, so I'm not losing too much sleep here... though it must of been very cool watching it live. I estimate I've probably spent hundreds of dollars on Throbbing Gristle shit (not to mention the off-shoots: Chris & Cosey, Psychic TV, Coil, Thee Majesty, etc...)
On a related note, this June in Amsterdam Coil, Chris & Cosey (or whatever they call themselves now) and Whitehouse will be doing a live show. Oh man! Some of my favorite industrail/noise groups at one gig... Amsterdam is SOOOO lucky (though if memory serves me well, back in the 80s Whitehouse would often insult TG's music, claiming they became an easy listening disco band. Perhaps they changed their minds).
There'll be a full report on the recording session/gig thingy on Freq in the next few days- I'll link when it's up there (if I posted my review here the guy who got me on the guest list for it, lilly's husband, would never speak to me again!).
But for now, here's Hour One of TG+.
IRCD30- Oundle School
The legendary Oundle School gig, which I'd never heard before!
This one's slightly from memory, cos I just listened to it while walking the dog, so rather than a blow-by-blow account, here's an all-over review (the other 9 should be "as-it-happens" commentary, and therefore better).
It starts with a typically sardonic Gen intro... "hope you all had a nice time in chapel", that kind of thing... then we're swept gradually into a classic TG soundscape. THAT bass rumble, the howling white noise that sounds like whirlwinds across a glacier, the echoed cornet noise like mammoths calling to each other. In short, its beautiful. Then we're into some nice arpeggiated flange on some cool synth pulses, while Gen launches into a particularly inspired take on the "Old Man Smiled" section from Heathen Earth... with Captain Clarke, having flown back and forth from Spain for 23 years, matched with pilot Clarke crashing his plane over Florida, and the passengers screaming "WHY?!" Can the world be as sad as it seems, indeed...
He even manages to get a Heathen Earth call-and-response number going; something much more visceral, dirty, and, well, just plain NOISY than anything on the album of the same name. Glorious.
A particularly nasty version of Subhuman follows shortly after, with the feedback and white noise cranked up to eleven; and one can only wonder at the reaction of the teachers. (If only I'd been at that school... what a day, to coin a phrase!)
More arpeggiated madness, which after a while ends and is replaced by the frankly bizarre sound of the audience blasting out Jerusalem, until Gen returns with a few words about how Jerusalem could NEVER have been "builded" in "England's green and pleasant land", cos England's a toilet.
Now it gets truly awesome. A nice lazy roll of electronics, pulsing up and down like waves of sound on a beach, gradually gets totally fucked by increasingly manic drills of high-pitched mayhem while the whole thing gets swathed in sheets of white noise. Throughout, the lazy, almost relaxing pace keeps up, making the whole thing like a particularly odd dream.
Finally, we get some more mad fucking NOISE. Possibly a totally demented Discipline... possibly not; Gen's just so manic it's hard to tell, but that tribal beat's there.
Eventually, of course, boys will be boys, and these boys regale Cosey with a particularly suave chant of "show us yer legs"...
Schooldays, eh? Best days of your life for some...
(NB- if anyone knows, or has read an account by, anyone who was actually a pupil at Oundle and SAW this show, please tell me... I'd be fascinated to know what reaction was instilled.)
Oh, I'm guessing, by the way, the "exclusive" TG:NOW CD/vinyl should probably be available all over in the near future, what with them probably having had enough pressed for a whole festival which never happened. (AFAIK, the vinyl, while looking nicer, has "edited" versions of a couple of the tracks- this is according to the track listing, anyway).
Gen comes on to announce that there will be no prepared backing tapes and no revoxes… twice. Geddit?
Now some nice droning on about three pitches resolving itself into quite a vicious pulse with blasts of Gristle-ised cornet wailing at odd intervals. It sounds like a spaceship taking off, although the wails have a very mournful train siren sound to them. It all lets up (slightly) to let Gen start vocalising over the top- or rather, somewhere in the middle. No words as such so far… just some nice shrieking and calling. Now (about nine minutes in) he’s chanting.
WHOAH! That stopped quickly- building to a huge crescendo, then suddenly… nothing!
Now some typical Carter electronic pulses, like drums getting nearer… and a backing tape of orgasmic moaning and some cheesy music- probably a porn soundtrack. The pulsing’s getting faster, and it’s been joined by a particularly ominous crackling- FUCK! Now Gen’s suddenly started screaming. This is a really fairly intense Heathen Earth, with feedback of Whitehouse proportions for the first time this set. Suddenly it’s gone quiet and Gen’s singing Strangers in the Night. What the fuck?
Now that throbbing bass over a beat that sounds like it’s been assembled from a single looped and echoed portion of a tape played at various speeds, getting faster and faster before disappearing into a huge drone of pink and white noise. This is just manic.
Now it sounds like some sort of Arctic train… with a guy talking, as far as I can tell, about the musical Showboat on a backing tape… very bizarre… a guy asking for advice… maybe a 60s US sitcom? Just brief snatches make it hard to tell. Random squirts of noise punctuate the proceedings, and it sounds like there’s a big metal hornet buzzing around the venue. A tape loop of someone saying “Ha. Ha. Ha” has speeded up until it’s become its own instrument playing some weird kind of improv thing, before slowing to underpin another wave of feedback. And quiet.
Now an almost jaunty little beat’s kicked up with a fairly simple bassline, with Gen singing over the top. Almost like Slug Bait, but nicer somehow.
Now some bass noodling and what sounds like a church bell, with increasing amounts of “whooshing”, as if a hurricane was on the way. Gradually it builds and builds until it’s strangely Hawkwind-like in atmosphere (but like Sonic Attack, rather than Silver Machine). The rhythmic electronics are back, and now Gen’s off again…
A looped tape of a voice saying “good night” and some random church organ bring everything down again, and it’s all over.
Oundle School is one of the more interesting of the videos, the kids are really young, I am guessing it was a middle school. They look as if they are just enjoying the rock concert at the school, they don't seem shocked by anything, and you can tell by their facial expressions they are all having a ball. Innocence and purity of youth?
Damn, it would be a shame if Re~TG never happened. Sure, I probably wouldn't of been able to get there anyway, but still...
Got an e-mail newsletter from Mute yesterday that informed me that a lot of the TG stuff from that recording session was up for sale: CDs, vinyls, postcards, posters, pins, shirts, etcetera. I decided to buy the CD, the postcard set, and a sticker of the TG logo (the shirt woulda been nice but they only had it in small size). I sent them an e-mail of what I wanted (this stuff is being sold a little differently then usual apparently) but they didn't get back to me... yet. Oh well, I got the four new songs off Soulseek anyway, though I would want the official one eventually.
The Oundle school video is great, alebit a little blurry (ditto for the "Recording Heathen Earth" one). I recall a lot of kids asking Cosey to show them her legs or something.
So it would appear I never wrote up the last eight... they're very good, though.
BUT I just got the TGV DVD box set through the post this morning- 7 DVDs in a nice case with a 64-page booklet. Not only does it have the Oundle School gig on it, it's got Derek Jarman's Psychic Rally In Heaven, and the Re-TG Astoria show I started this thread with. It's got everything, basically. Haven't had a chance to watch any of it yet, but it's gonna be AWESOME.
I got TGDVD for christmas. It's really great, and though I have a lot of the older stuff on VHS (Oundle School, Heathen Earth, Kezar, etc.) it's nice to have them on DVD so I can play them on my computer. The new stuff is pretty ace also.
Yeah, I have tons of those old ones on VHS and have no interest at all in the new stuff. How do they sound? Are they remastered? Stereo? The one thing that always bugged me was the mix in the mission of dead souls cd was way different then the mix of the video.
So I have tix for the two New York shows, excited and apprehensive. I know the energy won't be there, but hoping the sound is. Emeralds are opening the second one, and they are the best band in the world, ever since they formed in my old living room in Cleveland.