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Throbbing Gristle - Heathen Earth CD (album) cover


Throbbing Gristle


Progressive Electronic

3.37 | 13 ratings

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4 stars Killing monotony

This Throbbing Gristle album takes the riveting and heathen antics of the band and throws them into the very heart of the production. TG were always about metal, sweat, blood and sex stuffed together in one big hairy ball of uncomfortable silence and unnerving screeching. On Heathen Earth the band has invited a huge gathering of close friends and degenerates to come join them in the studio for a good wank and maybe a couple of beers. I am not kidding here, because this gig was also recorded onto film - showing these night creatures in full floral power watching porn on a TV residing comfortably up on stage...

The music itself is as creepy and industrial as ever - with Cosey Fan Tutte's cornet sounding particularly lonesome and beautifully dreary. That thing slices through the airwaves like a sharp dove! Then when you pair it together with the tumultuous electronics that more than anything sound like the ghosts of dead bees, the cornet suddenly turns supernatural and free - clinging onto every invisible surface within the music like some sort of sonic glue. So beautiful.

The main proponents of these two cuts are the dark universe of one Bill Burroughs, Captain Clark the ferry man, the number 23 and every little thing you can think of crossing these nonsensical things in an endless array of loony tirades. This is surely the real McCoy, and if you are sitting out there thinking about that crappy Jim Carrey movie with all the freakishly weird occurrences featuring the number 23 - then throw it in the river instantly, lock yourself in a darkened room for a day and play this thing over and over again. 23 will never have the same meaning again and you may have developed a fear of electronic music that sounds like it was made to woo old warehouses.

Apart from the obvious cling clangy ingredients of any Throbbing Gristle album, there is still that omnipresent power hiding underneath it all. Some kind of provocative presence that laughs at death with eyes full of madness and a big frothing smirk on its face... Heathen Earth is no stranger to this particular trade, if anything, I'd say that it stands as one of the band's most artistically successful statements. Taking the grey and monotonous cement reality of the 1980s and adding soar thumbs and blood red colours in shimmering static television noise. It's about infusing life in the worthless - resurrecting the alarmingly safe and twisting it around into something altogether more rambunctious and perverted. French kissing the vicar and painting his house gorgeously pink.

To most people, I figure Heathen Earth will come off as music without any real course - a journey into a world of melted signposts where every road and significant land mark remains utterly blurred and unrecognisable....... That is essentially the truth, but then again this blurry world view, where things seem stranger than fiction, was also what some of the psychedelic 60s bands were trying to hint at as well - taking ordinary household names and everyday objects - spinning them around and mystifying them through the power of music. Well, that is exactly what this music is about. Sure, you get fed a stark black industrial universe with hovering smouldering lava oozings of synthesised sound, babbling insane ramblings and those effervescent cornet touches, yet everything is still rooted in that grey everyday world of never-ending white striped roads, cracked windows and eroding houses that stink of death and old mattresses...

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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