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Throbbing Gristle - The Second Annual Report  CD (album) cover

THE SECOND ANNUAL REPORT

Throbbing Gristle

Progressive Electronic


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2 stars Hot on the heels of the recently ceased to exist performance group 'Coum Transmissions', newly formed Throbbing Gristle released their 'Second Annual Report' in '77 with a miserly run of only 785 vinyl copies. 15 years later good old 'Mute Records' released 6 of their earlier recordings on cd which got me into their music.

'Second Annual Report' is not very good if truth be told. The recording is awful. The first side is recorded direct to tape and the second side, a marked improvement, is made using using reel to reel.

A filthy, repugnant recording as you'd come to expect from these idiosyncratic reprobates. Of particular notoriety is the second track 'Slug Bait', which is full of grotesque visions of murder, flesh and pain. Fuzzy bass, scratchy droning guitar and simplistic drum machines are at the fore. It may be rubbish sounding these days, but at the time this spawned a hundred wannabees who went on to create the genre now known simply as 'Noise'.

Unlike the brilliant '3rd Annual Report' this is much more Lo-Fi and gritty. There's so much effect heaped upon everything that it kind of disguises the fact that its actually a very poorly conceived and recorded album. If anything, it sounds like the soundtrack to the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' but more muffled.

'After Cease to Exist' is a 20 minute Charlie Manson inspired improvisation that just seems to drag on forever using warped echoing guitars, strange sound effects, warbling vocals and occasionally pulsing bass.

Even the much improved, somewhat 'poppy' and enormously better recorded bonus single "United" can't lift this one above two stars I'm afraid to say.

And surely to goodness they might have come up with a better sleeve? It's utter rubbish! One of them was a graphic designer after all...

Much better was to follow. This one is mostly for fans.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#613424)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Rarely has a band name done a better job of providing a snapshot of a group's sound. On their first release for widespread consumption, Throbbing Gristle present pulsating, ugly industrial soundscapes in a live and studio context. It certainly isn't for everyone - as a terrifying audience confrontation at one point amply demonstrates - but at the same time this groundbreaking material is a lo-fi, grainy snapshot of the birth of industrial music and has few if any precedents. This birth of a new sound is a minimalistic thing and those who prize pristine recording conditions will find its low budget production difficult to engage with.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1139136)
Posted Thursday, February 27, 2014 | Review Permalink

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