22 September 2009
Industrial Evolution: Is There A Noise Continuum? Part 6
Industrial music for Industrial people? The corporate motto of the at-once revered and revolting collective, Industrial Records a.k.a. Throbbing Gristle, from the UK basically encapsulated the grimy, apocalyptical mindscape and psychogeography of the rusting West in the 1970s in the midst of the Oil Crisis, rampant inflation and high unemployment and tense social fission between the self righteous leftists and the right wing conservatives. The fallout of the optimism of first the 1950s and the hippy dippy 1960s burst the bubbles for the youth in the tumultuous decade. People were dodging the reality of the harsh conditions, evading the psychological and econo-social trauma of those ashen black years and basically seeking the seemingly non-existent light at the end of the tunnel in Britain, and to a certain extent, cosmopolitan America as well as New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, and San Francisco was still huddling in a corner from the psychedelic backlash with Los Angeles simply churning out bland soundtracks, faux-heroics on the big screens and mega-rock stars to divert the attention of the people. Bleak times indeed.
Genesis P-Orridge entered the picture, armed with his rhetoric from the world of avant garde art movements and manifestoes, actions and pranks, the COUM Transimissions and later on Throbbing Gristle presented to the world a mirror: that we are all ugly assholes and come on, let us be honest about it, and of course our belief in the progress of the Western science-obsessed and technological enhanced society was nothing but a sham, a reversion, a de-evolution of the human kind. Setting the tone to this message was the sound of the industrial signifiers and signified in sound, image and word. A gesamtkunst-sham of the highest order to present Noise as a reminder, a Lacan-like ego-reflection of the self-deluding public.
By first riding on the humps of performance action-based art, mail art and other dada-inspired moves, COUM Transmissions reached its creative climax with the infamous exhibition, entitled 'Prostitution' and on the same night of its inaugural opening, P-Orridge introduced to the world, the Throbbing Gristle. The folding of one act signalled the commencement of another. Where art could not reach, music, as P-Orridge argued, would hopefully achieve. The rest as they always say, is history.
To find out more about Industrial Records, go to IR.