Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Greatest Albums of All Time In No Particular Order (entry # 4)

Throbbing Gristle- Heathen Earth-1980 (Industrial Records)

I recently rediscovered this somewhat lost album that I adored as it officially is considered not exactly a proper album release by them (they only did two studio albums before this) as it was recorded live in the studio and was also officially their last release in 1980 but in all senses this is a proper album with all new material and it cemented TG as the ultimate forebearers of industrial music (after all their label was called Industrial Records) that permeates the mainstream from the good (Ministry) to the bad (Nine Inch Nails)-they are that influential to this very day and kill most of the fakers out there. Plus, they have the greatest band name ever. I mean, who doesn't want their gristle to throb, am I right?

Why did I stumble across it? Well, TG was just back on tour in the US for the first time in about 30 years with all the original members and doing more dates than just Frisco (heck, they played that hipster fest Coachella too):

So you end up going through phases and hitting amazing things again that got left as gristle on the roadside.

So the legend of TG endures. And this album is the best introduction in my estimation as it is not as obtuse as some of their early work (Hamburger Lady, anyone?) though it is highly dark and experimental yet doesn't dabble in some of the pop like results that show up on some of their singles
(“United” is better than any love song that ABBA put out in my estimation and I love ABBA). This album in particular makes total noise somewhat comforting and lovable if that makes sense.

It commences with “Cornets”-four minutes plus of Cosi Fanni Tutti (ex-stripper and perfect fetish girl, BTW) riffing on a cornet-

in very processed/looped way that hints at the concepts of Fripp/Eno regarding what they did with guitar. Truly outer spacious. “The Old Man Smiled” follows with it's creepy beat with Genesis P- Orridge mumbling about “can the world be as sad as it seems? in a cafe in Tangiers” over some of the most sinister guitar feedback and drumbox foxtrot ambling ever put down on tape.

Shortly after that, is the ultra cinematic “The World Is A War Film” with the ultimate electronically looped synths providing the basis for the nastiest dreamwalk. Which leads to “Dreamachine”-probably the greatest industrial tune ever san vocals. That devolves into “Still Walking”-an echoed dialogue between the aforementioned Cosi Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter (they were lovers and husband/wife back then and still are-TG folks are so trad and the Republicans would love them!) about hooking up for some “action” done with all kinds of spectacular vocal effects and delays and loops and whatnot.

The work closes under the uber funky and cornet led “Don't Do As You Are Told, Do As You Think” in which Gen seems to “dictate” that we should all be Libertarians (at least in my interpretation). In closing, TG might be one of the most obscure but most influential acts out there.