Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 in Review: The "Being Good Despite Letting Down 90% of the Fanbase" Award

This award goes to the album that isn't as good or as groundbreaking as the classic albums by an artist, but is good anyway even though everyone feels let down.

Part Two: The Endless Not
Throbbing Gristle

Back before KMFDM brought ravers into the "industrial" genre, before Ministry brought in the metalheads, before Cabaret Voltaire brought it into the dancehall, and before Einsturzende Neubauten made it so damn aggressive, Throbbing Gristle was just making industrial noise. Its aggression was contained in the mere fact of its existence: the act of presenting an album like The Second Annual Report as music is an affront to anyone clinging to what music was before it. Part Two is . . . not that album. 30 years after starting the ripple effect in all the bands they influenced, the shock has worn off and Throbbing Gristle (even the old stuff, in my ears) doesn't have quite the same effect. Granted, the music isn't that abrasive anymore either: the digital production has smoothed a lot of the corners and made the sounds a lot easier.

But while the form Part Two may not send the unprepared running for their earplugs, it still functions quite well keeping those unprepared folks shifting uncomfortably in their seats. It seems like an extension of the work that TG members did on their own in bands like Coil and Psychic TV, illustrating sullen and blackened environments which are inhabited by any feelings of guilt, fear, self-doubt, disappointment or straight-up depression you may be harboring.

Throbbing Gristle was the beginning of industrial music, and what they started was twisted into a lot of unexpected directions. Part Two takes some of the tools developed by Throbbing Gristle's followers and brings it back into the context and style of the originals. It's not going to revolutionize anything, but that doesn't mean it's not still good.

1 comment:

Micah said...

Only decent review of the album I've read so far. Most reviews are of it's impact (or lack of) rather than the actual music.