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Throbbing Gristle- "Part 2- The Endless Not"
Posted: 14/4/07 by Lazarus and the Gimp | Comments (3)

When the godfathers of Industrial music put aside their clashing egos to make their first album in over 25 years, the end result is always going to be An Event, even if it were to end up sounding utter shit. This means that "Part 2- The Endless Not" has been heralded by a fanfare of press attention from hacks priapic with excitement. Unlike most reunion albums, the intervening years haven't been marked by sorry slumps into half-arsed solo embarassments and the cabaret circuit- every member of Throbbing Gristle has produced a body of critically-acclaimed work since 1981, covering Psychic TV, Chris & Cosey and Coil. Given those track records, the anticipation is all too easy to understand.

This gives the situation all the necessary ingredients for a crashing disappointment. It's all set for wails of betrayed anguish from the old rivet-heads, matched by hoots of derision from the kids. Only one factor stands in the way of that cock-up- viewed strictly on its own merits as an album, "The Endless Not" is brilliant.

What's the problem with those old TG albums? They sound dated. Yes, they are still works of sick genius, but those synths sound cheesy as all hell these days. An updated TG sound on modern equipment, that retains all the edgy inventiveness, is a powerful combination, and that's exactly what's been delivered here.

The most interesting point of this updated sound is the fact that it places Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson firmly in the driving seat. With the benefit of hindsight it's now obvious that Coil were the most prophetic of TG's offspring, and even though Chris Carter's production and synths still shape the sound, it's Sleazy's sampling that provides the black, beating heart of the album. At times, it almost sounds like a late-period Coil album with vocals by Gen. Those samples and loops chatter and gibber away, while Christopherson's treatments turn Gen's vocals into a wailing and churning soundtrack.

"Rabbit snare" has been grabbing all the plaudits from the press. It's a group composition from TG back in sick cocktail-jazz from hell mode, with Cosey's cornet providing a choked and wheezing backdrop. However another stand-out is the closing "After the fall", a hauntingly-beautiful near-ambient composition by Christopherson. Frankly, I think it's just a John Balance vocal away from perfection, but Gen's in fine fettle throughout the album and this track is no exception.

So when the media bullshit is stripped away, what's left is an album that easily stands up to TG's legacy. If this is the note Throbbing Gristle go out on, it's a happy ending. True, it's guaranteed to baffle about 90% of the people calling themselves Industrial fans, but for anyone with even a passing interest in old-school this is essential.

Incidentally, Luddites who don't download (like me) get one of four totemic symbols in the first pressing of the CD. Mine's got a roll of tightly-rolled copper wrapped in red thread. Haven't the faintest idea what that's all about, but it's the thought that counts, right?

   
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