Friday, 14 August 2015

Throbbing Gristle in conversation

I’ve just spent a pleasant couple of hours listening to the two interview tapes that originally came with Throbbing Gristle’s 24 Hours cassette box… I have no recording notes on hand but I believe the group was interviewed shortly after the release of the D.o.A album which would place it in and around 1978, before some knotty interpersonal relationships led to the mission being terminated. But no such drama can be found here, the group sounds remarkably united and congenial, and the conversation is engaging and illuminating. The first tape opens with Genesis P. Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti discussing the fallout from the Prostitution exhibition at the ICA. Chris Carter chimes in shortly afterwards and the conversation switches to electronic music and Chris’ interest in generating unusual sounds, mentioning a particular sound effect heard in The Night Porter that impressed him. From there the interview shifts gears for an interesting track-by-track analysis of the D.o.A album – my favorite moment, Chris Carter’s reluctance to discuss his solo contribution AB/7A, which is covertly layered with ABBA songs…

The conversation is looser on the second tape, among the topics discussed are the group’s interest in the effects of sounds on the nervous system, the founding the group’s name (which Chris admits he initially hated), the work of William Burroughs (Genesis tells an amusing anecdote about Monte Cazzaza falling out of favor with Burroughs), the difficulty of faithfully transposing TG’s music to vinyl, and the violence that marred the London Film Maker’s Co-op concert. The conversation is cut with snatches of TG music and selections by Donna Summer, The Velvet Underground, Burroughs reading from The Ticket That Exploded, Kraftwerk, Beefheart, Eno and John Cooper Clarke (?). Both tapes are of course required listening for TG fans, and both are available at the excellent D.I.Y or Die blog

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