If you combine the cut-and-paste techniques of William Burroughs and Brion Gyson with the Teutonic beats of early Kraftwerk, then blend in an attitude of social malaise touched with an edge of quirky humor, you'll get industrial music. Of course, you... [more]
If you combine the cut-and-paste techniques of William Burroughs and Brion Gyson with the Teutonic beats of early Kraftwerk, then blend in an attitude of social malaise touched with an edge of quirky humor, you'll get industrial music. Of course, you can't forget the occasional punctuated moment of violent provocation -- shock value plays an essential role.
Industrial music seeks to do more than create an interesting, assiduous sound -- it seeks to rip the community of music consumers and producers out of their quotidian modes of listening and living.
At the center of early industrial scene was Throbbing Gristle, a quartet that emerged out of the performance art and music group COUM Transmissions. The Transmissions began attracting audiences in the mid 70s with its shocking theatrical performances. It synthesized electronic and acoustic dissonance, spoken-word monologues, and violent, unexpected stage antics into an eclectic and disruptive collage of voice, noise, and action.
In 1976 the group changed its name to Throbbing Gristle, and narrowed their project to a more distinctly musical focus, producing actual songs. Still, performance remained central to their identity: the typical TG performance consisted in a combination of grinding noise, electronic effects, and quirky, ironic, tortured pop songs. The shows were timed to exactly one hour, after which the power was turned off.
The genre to which TG gave rise is an odd blend of punk rock and ambient music. Towards the of TG's existence, it no longer produced songs, but soundscapes. It even created a soundtrack of surprisingly pleasant background music. Electronic media became increasingly important to the genre as a whole. In fact, industrial was one of the first forms of music to exploit the potential of sampling, which subsequently became ubiquitous in ambient, trip-hop, house, and rap.
But rather than splicing referential samples into their songs, industrial bands sampled found sounds, like the roar of engines or the clanging together of metal. They created tape-loops of odd lyrics that circulated throughout their songs, lending an elliptical structure to the abundance of erratic noise. This combination of ambient textures and dissonant samples, woven throughout waves of hard-edged guitar and maniacally pounding drums, characterizes most industrial music, from the pioneering TG to Psychic TV and Cabaret Voltaire. Officially, the movement ended in 1985, when TG broke up. But bands like Ministry, Skinny Puppy, and Nine Inch Nails have carried the influence into the '90s. [show less]