Filed under: art, Music, Politics, Punk | Tags: 20 jazz funk greats, artic monkeys, cosey fanni tutti, desertshore, exploited, genesis p-orridge, industrial, Music, myspace, nin, nine inch nails, plain white t's, post-punk, postpunk, psychic tv, Punk, simon reynolds, throbbing gristle, throwback
killerPOP has always been about indie, hip hop, pop, and dance. It’s our bread and butter. But I try and make it my job for our readers to to keep in their hearts the greatest genre of all: punk. If you’re looking for snippets about Plain White T’s and Arctic Monkeys, tab back to MySpace now. And if you’re looking to hear rants about how punk is dead or what real punk is or how much The Exploited rule, you’re out of look too. All I’m gonna do is keep ya’ll up on the hottest shit in the punk world and occasionally bring your attention to those who made it all (including at least 1/4 of what we talk about on kP) possible. Now that the boring stuff is over: THROBBING GRISTLE!
OK, so TG is really an industrial band, a true industrial band (I love NIN and Reznor as much as the next lad, but even he says he’s not an industrial artist). But the genre and the band came out of the same performance and shock scene as many of the other postpunkers of the mid-to-late 70s. These guys held all the values of punk rock and sonically devastated all colleagues and founding fathers. They continued preaching destruction while their peers looked to the future, waved around Nazi symbols with the best of ’em, and the knocked down every boundary, even gender.
TG grew out of London’s performance art scene and their tactics of shock and awe eventually led them to form a band, operating from ’75 to ’81. The group consisted of Genesis P-Orridge (now legal name), Cosey Fanni Tutti (same), Peter Christopherson, and Chris Carter. Pop and rock were nowhere on their radar and their music is more akin to the psychoanalysis of society and the human condition than to music. But music it was, and it was also incredible. They were early pioneers of tape music, sampling, and found sounds in what music historians would dub “pop” or non-art music. This coupled with heavy distortion, the use of horns, strings, and synthesizers, and constant confrontation with ideals of society, gender, fascism, death, and all pre-conceived ideas of what separated music from noise would make any true music critic hard pressed to deny it as art.
“Something Came Over Me”
I consider punk music to be my forte and I believe at it’s core was rebellion. And not merely societal, but musical rebellion. Even the bands who were attempting to resuscitate long dead genres, they were still battling against everything that was popular and the results were hardly the sweet, wholesome sounds of the past, but loud, fast, destructive tunes that forced their way into your head due to their underlying melody. Throbbing Gristle retained the innovation and repetition of the pioneers before them like the VU and Can and continued expanding the role of music and sound and punk. They were pioneers within a pioneering genre and true punks through and through.
The band intially released 5 albums and a compilation. There most well known, and closest to pop, was ’79’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats.
The four members reunited in 2004 and have since released 2 albums and an impending DVD set. They are also working on a new album which will be their interpretation of Nico‘s album Desertshore which I for one think will be immensely fascinating.
For those truly interested in TG and postpunk, check out Simon Reynold’s amazing book on the period: Rip It Up and Start Again.
– Christian BC
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