Monday, October 26, 2009

The First Annual Report Of Throbbing Gristle - (2001)

This legendary recording from Genesis P-Orridge's Throbbing Gristle reached an almost mythical status in the industrial music scene until its belated issue in 2001. So the story goes, the album was recorded in 1975 and was held back by the group, opting to debut with Second Annual Report, the album which established Throbbing Gristle as the primary influence on what would later be termed the industrial music scene in 1977. This seminal recording displays the early abrasive sound of the group from the start with the 18-minute "Very Friendly." This blast of static noise pummels the listener for the best part of 15 minutes, in which Genesis P-Orridge spins a horrifying tale of murder in his deadpan delivery, which is absolutely terrifying. The piece evolves into a tape loop, which Peter Christopherson winds into an incessant mantra for the closing three minutes. It is clear after this brutal introduction that First Annual Report was a milestone in subversive music matched only by Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, which incidentally came out the same year. However, Throbbing Gristle went even further, not just bombarding the listener with electronic noise but with extreme confrontational texts delivered in the most deranged fashion. While the noise may be a little hard to stomach in parts, in others it reaches sublime hypnotic peaks, and in either case First Annual Report is striking in that it is undeniably the most important advent in the roots of industrial music. With Genesis P-Orridge going on to Psychic TV, Peter Christopherson to Coil, and Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti as Chris & Cosey, it is a wonder that it took until 2001 before this recording appeared. Practically every act within industrial music and its offshoots — be it Merzbow, Whitehouse, Ministry, Big Black, or Godflesh — owes an incredible debt to the groundbreaking music of Throbbing Gristle. (

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