Notes From The Industrial Underground: August 1991

National Music Reviews

The past couple of months have seen some terrific reissues on Elektra/Mute Records. After the fall of Enigma, Elektra picked up much of the Mute catalogue and has released titles from “Industrial” icons: Throbbing Gristle, Slavik Superstars, Laibach, German noise masters Einstuerzende Neubauten and techno king Frank Tovey’s Fad Gadget. The Throbbing Gristle titles are a wonderful history lesson in the roots of “Industrial” music and the people who went on to form Psychic T.V. and Chris & Cosey. Forget the dance beats and thumping disco rhythms that plague so many Nitzer Ebb clones. Throbbing Gristle is a montage of noise and instrumentation overlayed with the ramblings of poet/prophet Genesis P’Orridge.

Industrial Records pioneered the movement that is now full of so many dance bands who use machine noises to augment their beat oriented mumbo-jumbo. Unfortunately, I don’t agree with P’Orridge’s dismissal of the Al Jourgensen school of Death Disco and see them as positive mutators of the genre that started in the mid-seventies. The Laibach title is Occupied European Tour, and chronicles the band live. Laibach’s mixture of noise and theatre has an appealing, visual element—even on CD. To fully experience the Neue Slovenische Kunst, one must see the actual performance, but until then, the live CD will have to do.

From E.N. comes a double CD of live and unreleased tracks, Strategies Against Architecture 2. A must for lovers of grungy noise and aural chaos. As for Fad Gadget, Tovey wrote many of the catchiest techno-pop songs of the early eighties and was ripped-off by any number of less-talented and untalented bands like Depeche Mode and those early eighties “innovators.” Fad Gadget takes classic patterns and rhythms and makes them technical monsters, full of synthesized noises. Add the catchy, sing along lyrics and you have a huge collection for Fireside Favourites. Look for more titles to be released soon in this same series.

Coil’s Love’s Secret Domain has finally been released domestically on Wax Trax! It’s more dancy than anyone would have expected, especially from a band that makes Clive Barker’s “bowels churn.” Still, it’s got all the Coil spookiness and eerie sounds that you love the band for. I don’t see huge crowds lining up to dance to this record, but it will certainly be a favorite with Coil fans everywhere.

Next month, new releases from Consolidated, Kode IV, Cat Rapes Dog, Schnitt Act and Zoviet France.


For more from the SLUG Archives:

Book Review: The Torture Garden

Notes From The Industrial Underground: May 1991