Review Summary: Well, it's quite a trip.
In the 70s, it can only be imagined how much of a shock to the psyche Throbbing Gristle’s music may have been at the time. A group of ambitious young English kids with a bunch of random instruments, and various objects managed to create albums and albums that are, simply, the soundtrack of a nightmare. In all honesty, however, Throbbing Gristle’s music is barely listenable. It’s so unnatural and dark that you are left kind of confused and disarmed at the end of a song. They really don’t have much tempo, resident oddball Genesis Breyer P-Orridge croons in a monotone voice over throbbing beats (pun intended), screams tracked in the background, and bass sounds that make you want to throw up. If ever there was an album to make you uneasy or scared, any Throbbing Gristle album would suffice. However, their most successful one, the sarcastically titled 20 Jazz Funk Greats
is their best.
Best, however, being a subjective word. Throbbing Gristle’s music is pretty amazing if you like visiting the outer reaches of the dark parts of the human mind. Persuasion
is an easy indicator of what’s to be found on this album-as an ominous beat continues to grow but never really grows any louder. P-Orridge croons like a drunk madman “I’ve got a little biscuit tin to keep your panties in, Soiled panties, White panties, School panties, Y-front panties, And I persuade you,” bitterly among female screams and the resonance of a down-tuned Moog synth from the 70s. The song has absolutely no rhythm, movement, or vocal performance at all. It’s just dark and disturbing. There’s a bunch of other songs on here that do a great job of making you uneasy, like What a Day
which sounds like something is pounding up behind you, or the echoing Convincing People
What’s amazing, however, is their ability to pull off some astonishing sounds and beats with little of the technology industrial musicians have at their disposal today. There’s a few beats that sound like you would have heard them on Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV
. There’s a few imperfections, but it all adds to the mechanical, evil, dark, and droning sound these crazy British guys (and girls) can create. However, I’m not sure I would call them an industrial act. They seem to have influence the Avant-Garde and Post-Rock scene far more than the likes of Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails.
Song by song, Throbbing Gristle’s music is pretty underwhelming and seems as if it’s just being odd for the sake of it. But a whole album of Throbbing Gristle is quite a lot to take in. I mean, you can only take so much of P-Orridge’s droning voice echoing over itself continuously until you listen to the album the whole way through. 20 Jazz Funk Greats
will take you to another mind-state from start to finish. With a nice pair of headphones and a dark room, it really will move you. It’s more like having an experience than music, considering Throbbing Gristle is more of an art than music. Cheesy as it may seem, any of Gristle’s CDs, especially this one, really take a few listens to “sink in”. Once they do, damn, it’s a hell of a trip.