To this list must be added Z’ev
Oh yeah, cracking stuff. I’ve shared cigars with Z’ev.

> I got messed up last night and ending up in a really rambling ranty conversation about Wilhelm Reich getting his books burned by
> the US government.

Yeah. Now, don’t forget, he was in the Communist Party too John — and THEY turned him against him too. Which is one of the top two or three reasons I’ll never be a full on Communist.

> I was basically trying to say that just because he had his books burnt didn’t automatically mean his ideas were all alright

Errr, ditto! I presume John’s not throwing the orgone baby out with the reichian bathwater. Hopefully not.

Either way, being labelled “the book burning guy” has to be the most wry of ironies for our John.

> Oh and people always mention “Tools You Can Trust” but I have no idea about them, possibly because they were rubbish.

They were OK-ish. They did a couple of Peel sessions that were fairly good. After hearing them, I remember there was a TV documentary about How We Record Radio One Sessions (And How to Build A Career Therefrom) which was a small eye-opener. Two speccy slapheads who couldn’t quite believe their luck and were totally winging it. The producer — I think it might have been John Leckie — politely described them as “under-rehearsed”. I thought it was kind of cool at the time, and I think it’s kind of cool today. But only kind of.

john eden on who’s a goth and who’s not: This is a bollocks argument because we were talking about genres which very rarely emanate from the band itself, but are given to it by journalists, fans, the mysterious people who decide where things go in record racks, etc.

I suspect my argument isn’t bollocks cos it’s identical to the one you’re putting forward here.

However, yesterday’s blogging was done late at night, and there seems to be a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels on my desk, so who am I to argue.

So anyway, it’s perfectly valid to call Killing Joke goths

Nope, that still sounds a bit silly to me. I just don’t think Killing Joke can be called, definitively, goths — I don’t think it’s factual to say that they ARE goths, either as individuals or as a group. I don’t think that they went for them whole eyeliner, black vampiric clothes, Nosferatu poster life style. (Jaz Coleman’s face paint doesn’t count.) I didn’t meet them til much later but one of my cousins knew Killing Joke quite well in the early eighties and went out with Youth for a bit. Reports did not indicate any gothique tendencies.

Of course, John’s point is that your genre is defined by the judgement of the audience and of critics, which is a good variation of the “death-of-the-author” theme. But that still doesn’t work for me in the case of Killing Joke. I don’t remember people calling them goths then, probably for fear of how they’d react, and they just plain don’t feel goth. Anyway, the death of the author argument only applies to records made after 1986, so their first three albums are safe.

> It’s only closet because I got bored of wearing black clothes all the time,

I hadn’t noticed the sartorial development, but I never had John down as a goth, more of a crusty hippy with new romantic tendencies. We once turned up at the Wag club both wearing the same Coco the Clown shoes — quelle surprise!

> but I have no problem lining up with people who are into daaaaaaaaark music

And… this is kinda the “problem”, if there still is one, with Goth. It’s not about “daaaaaaaaark music”. It’s about a safe little pastiche of “daaaaaaaaark music”. If it’s fake dark — the Mission, the Nephilim, the Specimen, 99% of the Sisters, Look Mummy Clowns — then it’s Goth. If it’s real dark — Killing Joke, Coil, Soft Cell, the Wurzels — then it’s not Goth, it’s something else. That’s why the more entertaining, less embarassing end of Goth mutated into a modern version of Glam and merged into the more poodle-y end of the metal scene. When fake dark is a knowing pastiche it can be camp fun. When fake dark is posturing vacuity it’s embarassing, like a punk version of The Enid. Bauhaus doing Ziggy Stardust is arguably more fun than them doing Dark Entries, or certainly Antonin Artaud, though the jury’s out on Bela Lugosi, which is probably still a fine record, just with shit lyrics. Or possibly they’re just camp…

Oh, and reading blogs purely for the information contained in the ads is a bit too Camille Paglia for me, darling ;-).

I’m a dilettante, a sneak, a cuckoo in the nest. I mean, I love the stuff, but I don’t love it any more than any number of other people who have more records, more depth of knowledge and more skills than me.

Shit, that’s true of most reggae fans — there’s always somebody out there who knows loads more than you. And it’s such a huge subject. Anyone who hasn’t been steeped in it for decades can only properly understand a small part of reggae I reckon. Matt TWANBOC knows maybe ten times as much about reggae as I do. There are people on the Blood and Fire board who probably know ten times more than he does. And there’ll be people in Jamaica who know more than they do.

Everyone’s a dilletante.

Cracking piece from K-Punk on the industrial debate.

Great analysis of the typology of industrial music.

On Whitehouse:
“As for whether they are a joke group, it seems to me that they are and they aren’t. And it’s a particularly disturbing joke…”

This gave me pause. I’ve never given any thought to the idea that Whitehouse should be taken seriously. K-Punk seems to be suggesting that there’s actually some real content in Whitehouse. Good god. Does this mean I can’t take the piss out of them at random any more? Shit.

> ‘Power Electronics’ strikes me as a better label than industrial for them.

I’ve always loved the term Power Electronics. Trips really nicely off the tongue. It would be a really great combination of Tackhead’s Housebuilding, Orbital’s Impact USA and Psychick TV’s Unclean. I wonder if anyone’s done anything like that?

Paul is just as guilty, however, for refusing to accept the gothic elements of Killing Joke, Joy Division and Coil

John as ever cannot distinguish between product and consumer. Much of Killing Joke’s audience were goths. Some of Coil’s audience were goths. None of Joy Division’s audience were goths, at least until the record was over. But Killing Joke weren’t goths. They were a speedfreak heavy metal band without the guitar solos and better taste. Neither were Coil or Joy Division goths. They both had a certain dark glamour, but they weren’t Sex Gang Children, or The Nephilim.

John is of course a closet goth and is deeply embarassed about it.

Acid Strength Industrial

I’d put the On-U project under some other heading.

Granted, I’m pushing things a bit here. But among all the industrial people I ever knew, On-U was crucial.

> And Neubauten.

Eh? They were on some bizarre. They were the weirder, Berlin counter-part to Test Dept. They dressed in overalls and took bnuildings apart with drills. They used to clock on and off and call each other “mate”. You don’t get any more industrial than that.

There’s a sort of industrial sub-genre of power-tool-weilding non-musicians — Test Dept, SPK, almost no-one else. There was a piece on the Tube about them and everything.

> And 23 Skidoo.

On Fetish records, same as TG later on. Part of the industrial funk sub-genre, with 400 Blows, Chakk, Hula, and the Ohio Players. No, I’m pretty sure they’re industrial, especially early on, before the went really good when Sketch from Imagination joined.

It was Imagination, wasn’t it? Someone correct me.

It wasn’t Freez was it? Christ, I hope not. Good single and all that but nothing compared to the lush electro-soul-dub brilliance of Imagination.

> And Joy Division.

Ah. Now this is tenuous, I have to admit. There IS a link but Joy Division are a genre unto themselves really.

> And Colourbox.

Now, I’m convinced ColourBox are intimately connected with all things industrial. But for the life of me I can’t remember why. Maybe it’s just my imagination. Just an Illusion. (Wow, that Imagination riff is really beginning to hit hard now…)

> And Cabaret Voltaire.

No way are the Cabs NOT industrial. They were mates with Gen right from the early days (1975 or thereabouts) and I’m pretty sure he put out an early tape album by them.

I saw Steven Mallinder at the Moloko gig here a couple of months ago and he did say, “Do tell anyone you know online that we were actually an industrial band”. Actually, he didn’t, we talked about Sheffield nightclubs instead.

> As for Lee Perry and Miles Davis!

Errrr yeah. It’s a conceptual link, rather than anything the, errr, artists themselves would have been aware of.

> it becomes a “greyer area”, greyer still with Killing Joke

Yeah, what genre are Killing Joke?* They’re not really industrial. They’re sort of post-punk aren’t they? Except, like the Stranglers, who I also like, they’re more prog-punk. Concept albums with short songs and distortion. Without sounding that much like Hawkwind.

* Are groups singular or plural? I’d have thought that, like companies, they should be singular, but no-one does it that way, not even the quality broadsheets. And what is the noun for whether a noun is singluar or plural?

If I was being naughty I’d ascribe this to another of those “Ha Ha look who else is claiming to have invented Techno” asides.

Oh, you’re right, there were lots of roads into acid house and ecstasy, and the industrial one is just the one I think about most. But there’s a big lineage there between industrial and acid — so far as I can tell the early Clink Street raves had a healthy contingent of people who had been into industrial / electronics, Onu-U, and dub. (I spoke at the funeral of one of them and talked about what he’d told me about it, FWIW.) And the Clink Street scene was important in fuelling the interesting, dark side of acid and what came after.

> there are similar moments when a whole range of interlocking factors suddenly click into position and
> produce a monumental reorganisation. “The Great Vowel shift” for one. It’d be a really cool project to
> do a “Pre-Energy Flash” tome, kind of like the Star Wars prequel, to Reynolds’s dance music book

That’s a really cool concept. I’d be interested in that kind of book.

How much common ground was created through ecstacy!

Reynolds on nu-dancehall:
dancehall’s kind of the default desperation option for the mainstream and hipsterati alike, isn’ t it? It bubbles on pretty much same level of greatness year in year in out, and folks tune into when they’ve got no other options and the springs of vibe have run dry…

Well, yeah. It makes MTV more listenable down the gym. It’s nice to have some OK dancehall rhythms in the charts. But of course we “real reggae fans” (why does this remind me of recidivist Neil Young fans?) are weary and wary of the chart’s suck ’em in and spit ’em out production line recuperation.

So what? It’s just a sign of dance music’s shrinking market, driven by changing demographics if I remember my Monitor report correctly. First dance got mixed up with r’n’b to expand its market, now its dancehall. You can tell how desperate the dance music industry is by how good Trevor Nelson’s show sounds. No more is Soul Nation wall to wall sugar-pop faux-soul; now he can mix in rougher sounds (he’s been championing “the reggae sound” all this year) and grab more audience on the back of dance’s increasing ecumenism. The house and techno audiences are shrinking and being mixed with the r’n’b audience and Nelson’s a winner in this situation. (Did you know he used to be a door to door salesman, or should that be in-home representative, for pensions and financial services? The boy knows how to grab an opportunity.)

What next? Country?

“I’d like to be able to be kinder about Industrial music”: Edited highlights of a private email to Matt TWANBOC

Why? Most of it’s SHIT!

> I want to hear music which is primarily a sonic experience. Only bits and pieces of “Industrial” music I’ve heard have managed to transcend this.

You mean most of it’s not very good music?

Hmmm. Does the listener need to know about the philosophical framework to enjoy the music? I can’t answer that. For me, I liked (some of) the sounds, but I liked the whole package of music, philosophy and art. Some of the records that weren’t about music so much as transcendence were good, like How to Destory Angels, and some of them weren’t.

And anyway, personally I question how hard the demarcation line is around what is and is not industrial. I reckon I can factor in Tackhead, most of Bill Laswell’s stuff, most of Scratch’s stuff, lots of Tubby, Miles Davis, lots of acid house as being part of industrial. All of them have as much to do with what I and I think a lot of other people thought industrial was about as someone like The Normal. So it’s hard to say what you’re enjoying just as a sonic experience and what you’re enjoying for transcendance.

I think industrial was adept at co-opting outsiders with the right vibe, especially since there were usually just three degrees of separation between the co-optees and the core groups. For example, you can go: Laswell->Burroughs->TG (and everyone else); or Lee Perry->Adrian Sherwood->Mark Stewart (et al). Of course, if you go looking, that’s what you’ll find — but part of the point of industrial music was that it tried to reveal how your subconscious constructed meaning from music, and lead you to musical synchronicities. Very hermetic I’m sure.

Of course, this argument is really just special pleading to defend the fact that so much industrial music is, without a doubt, total shit.

Nevertheless, there’s a few good tunes in industrial, from one perspective or another. Here’s a bunch of goodies that have pretty much stood the test of time:

Einsturtzende Neubaten: Halber Mensch, Yu Gung (esp the Sherwood mix of course)
Test Dept: Victory (the one with bagpipes on A Good Night Out), The Unnacceptable Face of Freedom
Psychic TV: Arcadia, The Orchids
Cabaret Voltaire: loads, but I like Sleepwalking, Sensoria and Kino a lot, off the top of my head
TG: Heathen Earth (the whole LP)
23 Skidoo: Coup
400 Blows: Moving
Foetus: The Only Good Christian Is Dead

Hmmm. Very much the poppy end of industrial then, rather than the transcendental, noise-tastic stuff. But there are so many threads running through industrial, at what track do you draw the line between what is and is not industrial? Colour Box’s Say You? Heaven 17’s How Men Are LP? (Ace album, very much under-rated, if not unknown, now.) Killing Joke’s SO36? Joy Division’s Dead Souls (or maybe Komakino)? Head of David’s Metal Texas Psychout? Scritti Politti’s The Sweetest Girl (or perhaps the dub of Wood Beez…)? They’re all connected to the industrial canon one way or another, sonically as well as by lineage.

Alright then, here’s some noisier stuff:

PTV: In the nursery
Cabaret Voltaire: War of Nerves (off 2 X 45, errrr you really need the original vinyl cos the CD version sounds a bit weak ), oh alright then Nag Nag Nag
Laibach: Die Liebe (“there’s always been a Deep Purple influence on our music” — actually there’s a great ambient version on the flip of the original Yugoslavian release)

Hmmm. It’s harder work than you’d think, picking good industrial records that would sound good to a new listener today. And fuck it, I can’t think of any more noisy ones. The real problem with them is that you can’t put many of them in mixes, which lets face it the only point of having old records…

> Some contributors have said NWW don’t belong in there.

Hahahahahahaha! That’s really funny. Where the fuck else will you put them? NWW were shite anyway. I don’t even like the Foetus ones.

I always thought Whitehouse were supposed to be a joke band. I mean it’s piss take music isn’t it? I always thought Half Man Half Biscuit were more worth your time. My mate Alan had me convulsed with laughter at HMHB lyrics on Saturday night. (errr I’m not saying HMHB were industrial. That would be ludicrous. Now, The Fall…)

I never liked Death In June’s music either, but the album covers are great. I seem to remember Fields of Rape being good, or maybe I just liked the title. Heaven Street I always thought was rubbish. Test Dept were ace. Live they were incredible. Similarly you can’t leave Mark Stewart out. 400 Blows were great cos they did funk so well — there’s always been a huge element of funk to industrial. That was obvious to me as a 13 year old getting into Cabaret Voltaire and TG.

> However I’ve heard TG, Whitehouse, Coil, NWW and Current 93 all say in separate interviews
> that they were unhappy with being lumped in the “Industrial scene”. That’s so rich!

Yes mate. But look at who they were being lumped in with? Skinny middle class white spods in the main… Can’t blame ’em. Them and dodgy goths sweating in spandex. Christ. “Forgive me for my fans.” acid house was invented as a way of getting out of the rut of industrial culture. Forget all the Oakey / Ibiza stuff, that’s just window-dressing. Acid house goes back to Matt Johnson making an album on E, and way before then Sleazy getting tricky in new york discos… this is all on the public record… somewhere…