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Throbbing Gristle were an English music and visual arts group, officially formed in September 1975 in Kingston upon Hull by members Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson), Cosey Fanni Tutti (born Christine Newby), Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson and Chris Carter. They are widely regarded as pioneers of industrial music. Evolving from the experimental performance art group COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle made their public debut in October 1976 on COUM exhibition Prostitution, and, the following year, released their debut single, "United / Zyklon B Zombie", followed by an album, The Second Annual Report (1977).

Throbbing Gristle
Throbbing Gristle-New York.jpg
Throbbing Gristle performing in New York in 2009
Background information
OriginKingston upon Hull, England
Genres
Years active1975 (1975)–1981, 2004–2010 (2010)
LabelsIndustrial
Associated acts
Past membersPeter Christopherson
Cosey Fanni Tutti
Chris Carter
Genesis P-Orridge

The band released several subsequent studio and live albums—including D.o.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle (1978), 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979), and Heathen Earth (1980)—on their own record label Industrial Records, building the notorious reputation with their confrontational aesthetics; they included the extensive use of often disturbing visual imagery (such as fascist and Nazi symbolism; pornography; stage lighting), as well as that of sound manipulation (various noises; pre-recorded tape-based samples), influenced by works of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin.

Throbbing Gristle dissolved in 1981 due to interpersonal differences; the individual members went on to participate in other projects, such as Psychic TV, Coil and Chris & Cosey. The band was reformed in 2004, and released three more studio albums—TG Now (2004), Part Two, and The Third Mind Movements (2009)—before disbanding again after P-Orridge's departure and Christopherson's death in Autumn 2010; the band's last studio project—a cover version of the 1970 Nico album Desertshore—was released in 2012 under the moniker X-TG.

Contents

HistoryEdit

First era: 1976–1981Edit

Throbbing Gristle evolved from the performance art group COUM Transmissions, which was formed in Kingston upon Hull by a group of performers centred on Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti. The last known performance of COUM Transmissions—Prostitution, an exhibition which was held in October 1976 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts—was also the public debut of Throbbing Gristle.[8]

Throbbing Gristle's confrontational live performances and use of often disturbing imagery, including pornography and photographs of Nazi concentration camps, gave the group a notorious reputation. The group always maintained that their mission was to challenge and explore the darker and obsessive sides of the human condition rather than to make attractive music. Throbbing Gristle made extensive use of pre-recorded tape-based samples[9] and special effects to produce a distinctive, highly distorted background, usually accompanied by lyrics or spoken-word performances by Cosey Fanni Tutti or Genesis P-Orridge. Though they asserted they wanted to provoke their audience into thinking for themselves rather than pushing any specific agenda (as evidenced by the song "Don't Do As You're Told, Do As You Think" on Heathen Earth), Throbbing Gristle also frequently associated with the anarchist punk scene. They appeared in the fanzine Toxic Grafity, with a condensation of their own propaganda parody series, Industrial News.[10]

In 1977, they released their debut single, "United / Zyklon B Zombie", followed by an album, The Second Annual Report. Although pressed in a limited initial run of 786 copies on the band's own Industrial Records label, it was later re-released on Mute Records due to high demand; however, this later release was reversed with all tracks playing backwards and in reverse order. This was followed by a series of albums, singles and live performances over a four-year period.

In 1981 Michael Sheppard, concert promoter and founder of Transparency Record label brought Throbbing Gristle to Los Angeles.[11] On 29 May 1981, Throbbing Gristle performed at the Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco. This concert marked the end of the group. As Cosey succinctly put it, "TG broke up because me and Gen broke up".[12]

Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson went on to form Psychic TV, while Cosey Fanni Tutti and Carter continued to record together under the names of Chris and Cosey, Carter Tutti and Creative Technology Institute. Christopherson had participated in Psychic TV's first releases, and had later joined John Balance in the latter project Coil. Meanwhile, Gen (now known as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge) subsequently formed Thee Majesty and PTV3 with the help of his wife, Jacqueline "Jaye" Breyer.

Second era: 2004–2010Edit

In 2004, Throbbing Gristle briefly reunited to record and release the limited album TG Now. On 2 April 2007, TG released the album Part Two, which the group had finished recording in Berlin. With the exception of TG Now, it was their first studio album in twenty five years. It was originally set to be released by Mute Records in September 2006 but was delayed for unknown reasons.

In March 2007, Side-Line announced Part Two's final release date, adding that a string of special live events would take place in 2007.[13]

A seven-disc DVD set, titled TGV, was issued in 2007.[14] The set contains old and new footage of the band. TGV came packaged in a deluxe box with a 64-page book, all designed by Christopherson.[15]

The group performed a re-interpretation of their debut album The Second Annual Report twice in 2008 to mark thirty years since its original release.[16] The performance in Paris on 6 June was issued as a limited edition framed vinyl set entitled The Thirty-Second Annual Report, which was limited to 777 copies (as the group claim the original was, although other sources claim that there were 785).[17]

Throbbing Gristle worked to record an album based on their interpretation of Nico's album Desertshore.[18] The group issued the entirety of the recording sessions for this album as a limited edition twelve-CD set packaged in a custom CD wallet, The Desertshore Installation, which sold out via mail order from the group's website.[19]

In April 2009, Throbbing Gristle toured the United States, appearing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. A new release was made available at these shows, The Third Mind Movements, which was edited from jams recorded during the Desertshore recording sessions.

A collaboration with Cerith Wyn Evans titled A=P=P=A=R=I=T=I=O=N was displayed at Tramway, Glasgow from the 7 August to 27 September 2009. Throbbing Gristle contributed a multi-channel soundtrack that was played through sixteen hanging Audio Spotlight sound panels that Evans had incorporated into his sculpture.[20]

In November 2009, Throbbing Gristle and Industrial Records released their version of the Buddha Machine called Gristleism. It was designed by Throbbing Gristle and Christiaan Virant based on FM3's design. Gristleism offers more loops and almost twice the frequency range of the Buddha Machine. The player comes in three colours: black, chrome and red.[21]

On 29 October 2010, Throbbing Gristle announced on their website that Genesis P-Orridge had informed them that s/he was no longer willing to perform with Throbbing Gristle and would be returning to their home in New York. Chris, Cosey and Christopherson would finish the tour under the name X-TG.

P-Orridge's website stated that s/he had not quit Throbbing Gristle and had just stopped participating on the current tour; it also said that an explanation would be released when all things were cleared up. However, on 24 November 2010, Christopherson died in his sleep at the age of 55, and the band subsequently dissolved.[22]

Third era: 2011–presentEdit

In 2011, Industrial Records had an official "re-activation", as TG's contract with Mute Records had expired. Since TG has permanently disbanded following the death of Christopherson, the label's plan is to re-release the original TG albums (The Second Annual Report, D.o.A: The Third and Final Report, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Heathen Earth and Greatest Hits) on the label. Originally intended to be released en masse on 26 September 2011, they had to delay due to a Sony DADC warehouse fire in London. The plan changed to issue each album chronologically once per week starting on Halloween 2011 with The Second Annual Report and ending 28 November with Greatest Hits.[23]

Industrial Records announced that a double album, called Desertshore/The Final Report, would be released on 26 November 2012. Chris and Cosey produced the album, with the participation of guest vocalists Anohni (from Antony and the Johnsons), Blixa Bargeld (from Einstürzende Neubauten), Marc Almond (from Soft Cell), film director Gaspar Noé and former pornstar Sasha Grey.[24]

A group decision had been made prior to Christopherson's death that the album would be recorded afresh, as they were not satisfied with the ICA recordings. Christopherson had been the driving force behind the project and had been working on the record in Bangkok with Danny Hyde, even getting custom instruments made to use for the album. "It was Sleazy's project, then Cosey and Sleazy's, then I came in on it", Carter explained in an interview with The Quietus.[25] After Christopherson died, the Desertshore instruments were given to Carter and Cosey and they began combining the recordings he had been making with the work they had done themselves.[26] They announced plans to debut the album live at AV Festival on 17 March 2012 accompanied by a screening of Philippe Garrel's film The Inner Scar "for which Desertshore was soundtrack and inspiration".[27][clarification needed]

LegacyEdit

The band is widely viewed as having created the industrial music genre, along with contemporaries Cabaret Voltaire.[28][page needed] The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza; on Throbbing Gristle's debut album The Second Annual Report, they coined the slogan "industrial music for industrial people."[29] The first wave of this music appeared with Throbbing Gristle from London, and Cabaret Voltaire from Sheffield.[30]

MembersEdit

  • Genesis P-Orridge – bass guitar, violin, vocals, vibraphone (1976–1981, 2004–2010)
  • Cosey Fanni Tutti – guitars, cornet, vocals (1976–1981, 2004–2010)
  • Peter Christopherson – tapes, found sounds, horns, piano, vibraphone, synthesizer (1976–1981, 2004–2010)
  • Chris Carter – synthesizers, tapes, electronics (1976–1981, 2004–2010)

DiscographyEdit

During Throbbing Gristle's extensive career they have released numerous volumes of music including studio albums, live releases as well as box sets.

Studio albums

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gimarc, George (1994). Punk Diary: 1970-1979. Vintage. p. 124. ISBN 009952211X.
  2. ^ Ingram. Matt (31 October 2010). "20 Best: Post-punk 7"'s ever made". Fact. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  3. ^ Reynolds 2005, pp. XVII, XXI.
  4. ^ Stosuy, Brandon. "Throbbing Gristle - The Taste of TG: A Beginner's Guide to the Music of Throbbing Gristle". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  5. ^ Singh, Anita. "Full-frontal nudes, pornographic videos and bondage equipment: The X-rated exhibition to celebrate Hull's City of Culture status". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  6. ^ Murphy, Sarah. "Throbbing Gristle's Cosey Fanni Tutti Announces 'Art Sex Music' Autobiography". Exclaim!. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  7. ^ Bravo, Arthur Ivan (March 15, 2016). "A Beginner's Guide to Throbbing Gristle". Thump. Vice Media. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Savage 1992, pp. 250–253; Reynolds 2005, pp. 228–229
  9. ^ Christopherson, Peter (29 October 2006). "Equipment, And My Little Part of History by Sleazy on MySpace". MySpace. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Crass Discography (Toxic Graffiti)". Transmissions from Southern. Archived from the original on 6 May 1997. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  11. ^ Cotner, David (2016-03-22). "Musicians Remember the Late Michael Sheppard, L.A.'s Champion of the Weird". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2017-12-23.
  12. ^ Neal 1987, p. 216.
  13. ^ "Throbbing Gristle Announce Special Live Events to Celebrate First New Album in Over 25 Years – Throbbing Gristle News at side-line.com". Side-Line. 14 March 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  14. ^ "TG Releases & Recordings". throbbing-gristle.com. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  15. ^ "7DVD Box Set for Throbbing Gristle – Throbbing Gristle News at side-line.com". Side-Line. 19 November 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  16. ^ "Throbbing Gristle: • Thirty-Second Annual Report •". Throbbing Gristle. 12 January 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  17. ^ "Throbbing Gristle, "The Second Annual Report Of"". Brainwashed. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  18. ^ "News :: Throbbing Gristle Store Shop". Greedbag. Archived from the original on 18 June 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Throbbing Gristle – The Desertshore Installation 12 CD Wallet :: Industrial Records Store". Greedbag. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  20. ^ "Throbbing Gristle • TG Collaboration with Cerith Wyn Evans •". Throbbing Gristle. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Throbbing Gristle – Gristleism – The Badged Limited-Edition :: Industrial Records Store". Greedbag. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  22. ^ "Incubate Blog » Blog Archive » R.I.P. Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle / X-TG) (1955 – 2010)". Incubate Blog. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  23. ^ "throbbing-gristle.com". throbbing-gristle.com. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  24. ^ "Industrial Records – Releasing 'Industrial Music for Industrial People' Since 1977". throbbing-gristle.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  25. ^ Turner, Luke (19 April 2011). "The Quietus | News | Chris & Cosey Talk Plans to Finish TG's Desertshore". The Quietus. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  26. ^ Becu, Didier (18 June 2011). "Chris & Cosey • Interview • Music Can Be Regarded as Art. | Art Can Be Regarded as Music. • Peek-a-Boo Music Magazine". Peek-a-Boo Music Magazine. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  27. ^ "Wishful Thinking: In Remembrance of Peter Christopherson ‹ Events & Exhibitions ‹ AV Festival: As Slow as Possible ‹ Programme ‹ AV Festival". AV Festival. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  28. ^ Savage 1992, p. 587.
  29. ^ Kilpatrick, Nancy (2004). The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 86. ISBN 0-312-30696-2.
  30. ^ RE/Search #6/7, p. 42–49.

Further readingEdit

  • Cogan, Brian. (Summer 2007). "'Do They Owe Us a Living? Of Course They Do!' Crass, Throbbing Gristle, and Anarchy and Radicalism in Early English Punk Rock". Journal for the Study of Radicalism. 1 (2): 77–90. JSTOR 41887578.
  • Collins, Simon (1999). "Sifting Through the Wreckage. (Interview with Simon Ford, author of Wreckers of Civilisation)". Headpress 19: World Without End'. pp. 75–84.
  • Daniel, Drew (2007). 20 Jazz Funk Greats. 33⅓. Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Duboys, Éric (2007). Industrial Music for Industrial People (in French). Camion Blanc.
  • Ford, Simon (1999). Wreckers of Civilization: The Story of Coum Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle. Black Dog Publishing.
  • Neal, Charles (1987). Tape Delay: Confessions from the Eighties Underground. SAF Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9780946719020 – via Internet Archive.
  • Reynolds, Simon (2005). Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571215696 – via the Internet Archive.
  • Savage, Jon (1992). England's Dreaming. New York: St. Martin Press. ISBN 0-312-08774-8 – via the Internet Archive.
  • Turner, Alwyn W. (1999). "Throbbing Gristle". In Buckley, Jonathan; Duane, Orla; Ellingham, Mark; Spicer, Al. Rock: The Rough Guide (2nd ed.). London, New York: Rough Guides. p. 1015. ISBN 1-85828-457-0 – via the Internet Archive.
  • Vale, V.; Juno, Andrea, eds. (1983). Industrial Culture Handbook. RE/Search.

External linksEdit