Friday, October 10, 2008

Albrecht/d. and Throbbing Gristle, a bunch of tapes

Titles are 12 AND 18 JULY 1976, 23 JULY 1976, and 30 JULY 1976 (at least two are also known as MUSIC FROM THE DEATH FACTORY). All are cassette-only releases, and each is approximattely an hour long.

So where to begin with these cassettes? Well, if you're here, you're probably already familiar with Throbbing Gristle. If not, know that they coined the term "industrial music", and that the members all went on to various other endeavors after their brief but influential existence (Coil, Psychic TV, Chris and Cosey, CTI, etc.). Albrecht/d. was (still is to the best of my knowledge) an artist and musician associated with the Fluxus movement. Everything from tribal percussion trances to electronic drones has appeared under his name; both ENDLESS MUSIC and the live album with Joseph Beuys come very highly recommended.

As for the Gristle collaborative tapes, they're about what you'd expect. Each one has approximately 30 minutes of music per side, and each side sounds like an extended jam session. This is NOT a problem at all! Synth whines are accompanied by ethnic-sounding percussion, and deep bass drones are pierced by shrill violin runs. It's a very trance-inducing experience, and it's not nearly as painful as Throbbing Gristle's SECOND ANNUAL REPORT or D.O.A. can be. I'm not 100% sure what the circumstances surrounding these recordings were, but two of the tapes are supposedly live recordings, and it's been claimed that Albrecht/d. only recorded MUSIC FROM THE DEATH FACTORY without contributing any musical input (it's also claimed he did indeed contribute drumming). All three tapes are allegedly still available through Reflection Press ( for info and address), and all three are essential parts of the Throbbing Gristle story, as well as being important evidence of the influence that Fluxus, Dada, and similar movements had on early industrial.