Industrial Prehistory - [Intro, Part 1 & 2]

-- from an essay written in 1995, by Brian Duguid --
I've often thought that somebody really ought to write a history of industrial music. After all, there are histories of reggae, rap, and countless rock, jazz, folk and classical histories. Unfortunately, the best books on industrial music (Re/Search's Industrial Culture Handbook and Charles Neal's Tape Delay) were both written when the genre was still fresh, still on the move, and neither tells us much about where the music came from. A more recent contribution to the field, Dave Thompson's Industrial Revolution suffers from Americocentrism, major omissions, basic errors and from a concentration on electrobeat and industrial rock to the near exclusion of all else. Still, this article isn't that history; that will have to wait for someone better qualified than I.

Instead, I offer a prehistory, a look at heritage, tradition and ancestry. For all that industrial music set out to provide the shock of the new, it's impossible to understand its achievements without a context to place them in. Few, if any, of its tactics and methods were truly original, although the way it combined its components was very much of its time.

Before the prehistory can be properly explored, we need to know what this "industrial music" is, or was. It would be hard to disagree with the suggestion that prior to the formation of Throbbing Gristle as a side-project of performance art group COUM Transmissions in late 1975 [2] industrial music did not exist; and certainly the genre took its name from the label that Throbbing Gristle set up, Industrial Records. Monte Cazazza is usually acknowledged as inventing the term "industrial music", and the label used the name in a very specific sense - as a negative comment on the desire for "authenticity" that still dominated music in the seventies. Very few of the groups who were initially called "industrial" liked the term, although from the mid-80s it became a word that bands embraced willingly, to the extent that nowadays even quite tedious rock bands claim to be industrial, and the jazz / classical ensemble, Icebreaker, has even bizarrely been described as an "industrial" group. Rock and jazz groups don't waste much time worrying about the word used to define their genre, so for my purposes I'm happy to include in the "industrial" genre plenty of artists who tried to disown the label.

The groups who were released on Industrial Records (Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, ClockDVA, Thomas Leer and Robert Rental, Monte Cazazza, S.P.K., with the probable exception of The Leather Nun and Elizabeth Welch [3]) combined an interest in transgressive culture with an interest in the potential of noise as music, and it's easy to see how groups like Einst�rzende Neubauten, Whitehouse or Test Dept can be considered to share similar interests.

Dave Henderson's seminal Wild Planet article [4] presented a survey of the (mainly British and European) "industrial" scene as it was recognised in 1983, but with artists as diverse as Steve Reich, Mark Shreeve, AMM and Laibach cited it was clear even then that the borders of industrial music couldn't be clearly defined. Since then, the music has fragmented, most notably into a division between experimental and dance/rock-oriented artists (or uncommercial and commercial). The popular "industrial" musicians, such as Front 242 or Ministry, draw on the elements of early industrial music most amenable to the rock and techno arenas (sometimes this just means aggression and paranoia); the others have explored industrial music's relationships with ritual music, musique concrete, academic electronic music, improvisation and pure noise. In recent times, through the popularity of ambient music, several artists involved in this more "experimental" tradition have achieved more popular recognition than before.

It's tempting to see the fragmentation of industrial music into popular and "underground" areas as just a recognition of the relative accessibility of different musical styles, but this would be extremely misleading. As with jazz and rock, it's another example of "a music of revolt transformed into a repetitive commodity ... A continuation of the same effort, always resumed and renewed, to alienate a liberatory will in order to produce a market" [5]. As industrial music's history and prehistory will make clear, industrial music originally articulated ideas of subversion that go significantly beyond the saleable "rebellion" that the rock commodity offers. It was inevitable that the market would adopt only the superficial aggression and stylisms.

It's clear that the label, "industrial music", is of no use in pigeonholing music, but it still serves as a useful pointer to a web of musical and personal relationships, a common pool of interests and ideas which every industrial sub-genre has some connection with. The uncommercial industrial tradition has frequently been labelled "post-industrial"; in contrast, this article attempts to identify "pre-industrial" music. However, as will become obvious, there are few meaningful boundaries between industrial music and its ancestors.

Writing in Alternative Press, Michael Mahan attempted to define industrial music as "an artistic reflection of the de-humanisation of our people and the inexorable pollution of our planet by our factory-based socio-economic state" [6]. This is too simplistic; if industrial music were simply anti-factory music then it would encompass any number of reactionary Luddites. Mahan at least managed to identify some of the genre's important musical precursors, citing Edgard Var�se, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Vorhaus, Frank Zappa and Klaus Schulze as some probable ancestors. Jon Savage has elsewhere identified five areas that characterised industrial music [7]: access to information, shock tactics, organisational autonomy, extra-musical elements, and use of synthesizers and anti-music. By examining each in turn, it will soon become obvious exactly what place industrial music has in the twentieth century cultural tradition.

Re/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook (Re/Search, 1983)
TG Chronology in Re/Search #4/5 "William Burroughs / Throbbing Gristle / Brion Gysin" (Re/Search, 1982)
Welsh's Stormy Weather, from Derek Jarman's film The Tempest, was an Industrial Records single.
Published in Sounds, May 7 1983.
Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali (Manchester University Press, 1985)
Welcome to the Machine, by Michael Mahan, in Alternative Press #66 (January 1994).
Introduction to Re/Search #6/7, op.cit.

[Part 1]
"Today there is no reality, or everything is real and everything is unreal. Today the object no longer refers to the real or to information. Both are already the result of a selection, a montage, a taking of views ... Thus the control problem is not one of surveillance, propaganda or paranoia. It is one of subjective influence, consent and extension to all possible spheres of life" ~Graeme Revell (S.P.K.) [1]

Industrial music was fundamentally a music of ideas. For all its musical power and innovation, the early industrial groups were much happier talking about non-musical issues than about musical ones, a direct result of the fact that few if any of them had any real musical background or knowledge. The Industrial Culture Handbook is packed with contributors' book lists; titles listed by Genesis P-Orridge include books by Aleister Crowley, William Burroughs, Philip Dick, Adolf Hitler, the Marquis de Sade and Tristan Tzara; SPK's Graeme Revell shows a more "intellectual" background with titles by Michel Foucault, Samuel Beckett, Jacques Attali and Pierre Proudhon. Of those who list records, Boyd Rice shows his obsession with 50s and 60s kitsch; Z'ev turns out to be a fan of Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and Otis Redding; only Rhythm & Noise admit to any knowledge of the avant-garde music tradition, citing the likes of Todd Dockstader, Gordon Mumma, Michel Redolfi and Iannis Xenakis [2].

Of all the "major" industrial groups, Throbbing Gristle were the most directly concerned with access to information, having accepted what had been obvious since the early sixties, that an increasing area of the world lives in an information society, and that military and economic strength are no longer the only important forms of power. Gristle's frontman, Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson) took the view that control of information was now the most important form of power. This is on the not unreasonable grounds that if the average person does not believe (or is unaware) that a possibility exists, they are clearly not free to choose such a possibility. Although such a conclusion was a commonplace to the post-modern philosophers and political theorists, it was an unusually sophisticated concern for a musical artist. As Orridge has said: "The idea: to heal and reintegrate the human character. To set off psychic detonations that negate Control ... To exchange and liberate information ... We need to search for methods to break the preconceptions, modes of unthinking acceptance and expectations that make us, within our constructed behaviour patterns, so vulnerable to Control" [3].

Other industrial groups, particularly Cabaret Voltaire and S.P.K. espoused similar views. Genesis P-Orridge went on after the break-up of Throbbing Gristle to make the dissemination of information and the attack on information-based methods of control the focus of his work, through the group Psychic TV and the Temple ov Psychick Youth organisation. The general approach was simply to publicise the existence of transgressive literature on the grounds that the social definition of "taboo" or "transgressive" was just another method of control, of persuading people not to examine certain choices. Even for groups who weren't particularly interested in informing people about this sort of information (and ultimately this probably applies to the majority of industrial groups), the awareness of it clearly influenced their music.

The literary counterculture, dating back through the Beatniks via Surrealism and mavericks such as Celine or de Sade is a major tradition that informed many of the industrial groups even if they weren't part of it. Experimental literature had peaked in the 60s, and the importance of the industrial groups' awareness of it was primarily their role as disseminators and popularisers. Obvious examples of this include Industrial Records' issue of a record of William Burroughs cut-ups, Nothing Here Now But The Recordings.

Although their importance in publicising such literature, and other "unconventional" information, is undeniable, industrial music made no real contribution to the ideas of the counterculture. Genesis P-Orridge's writings mostly consist of borrowings from Burroughs, Crowley, and Leary, although the connections he has made between the cut-up technique, magick, and deconditioning are original.

The Post-Industrial Strategy, Graeme Revell, in Re/Search #6/7, op.cit.
Re/Search #6/7, op.cit.
Behavioral Cut-Ups and Magick, Genesis P.Orridge, in Rapid Eye #2 (Annihilation Press, 1992)


"They are men possessed, outcasts, maniacs, and all for love of their work. They turn to the public as if asking its help, placing before it the materials to diagnose their sickness" - press commentary on Zurich Dada [1]

The main source of industrial music's ideas may have been the radical literary tradition, but a great debt was also owed to the avant-garde performance art tradition, dating back at least as far as Futurism at the turn of the century. Here was a tradition from which industrial music drew not just rhetoric but also the tactics and methods.

Performance art as a means of provocation undoubtedly goes back as long as there were people who resented their culture and thought to change matters by creating shock and confusion. As an alternative to purer forms of song, dance and theatre it's history can be traced back through Renaissance spectacle, and mediaeval passion plays to tribal ritual. In the nineteenth century, music hall performance came the closest to the mixed media spectacles that would resurface in performance art. Histories of twentieth century performance art often start with the twenty-three year old Alfred Jarry's proto-surrealist performance of Ubu Roi in Paris in 1896 [2]. Jarry's absurdist theatre provoked an uproar that would be echoed throughout the century's history of performance art. Filippo Marinetti, whose Futurist Manifesto was to be published in 1909, took up the provocationist baton in his own play Roi Bombance, written in 1905, and the desire to provoke played a major part in first the Italian Futurist movement, then successively in Dada and Surrealism.

The politics may have superficially differed, but the basic thrust of these movements has many similarities to the later activities of COUM Transmissions, Whitehouse and others. All three artistic movements (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism) shared a disgust and contempt for the social common ground of the day. Their response varied. Futurism opposed tradition with an enthusiasm for dynamism, for technology, and for patriotic militarism, all of which ensured that fascist politicians would later attempt to claim the Futurist cultural heritage as their own (unlike more recent flag-burners, whose anger has been directed at their own society, the Futurists' flag-burnings of 1914 in Milan were of a foreign country's flag - Austria's).

Their positive view of "progress" has few echoes among the early industrial musicians; even Kraftwerk, whose clinical embrace of the coming information age proved such a fertile resource for industrial music's exponents, leavened their technophilia with a sense of irony (at its clearest on their paean to the atomic age, Radioactivity). However, as the electronic beat tendency in industrial music drew on emerging synthipoppers like the Human League and eventually fed in to the cyber-culture of the late 80s and early 90s, the Futurists' uncritical fetishisation of technology and artifice re-emerged. Marinetti's celebration of the industrial revolution has a lot in common with the ill-digested cyber-fandom of some recent musicians. Certainly, the electronic pop of the late seventies New Romantics (such as Ultravox) betrays a lack of humour that the Futurists would never have shared, but it has the same uncritical adoration of technology. In general, industrial music drew upon a much more cynical view of science's contribution to history.

The similarities between Dada and industrial culture are less ambiguous. Dada's anger was as much inspired by the First World War as by a more general revulsion against the general banality of society. Their reaction also had a lot in common with industrial art; it was an attempt to find an aesthetic where most of the audience only found ugliness. For Dada this consisted of primitivist, abstract painting, and at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, performances including seemingly nonsensical sound-poetry. Industrial music also adopted the primitive, abstract approach, and like Dada, rejected conventional musical structures in favour of chaos and noise.

From Richard Huelsenbeck's Dadaist Manifesto, written in Germany in 1918: "Art in its execution and direction is dependent on the time in which it lives, and artists are creatures of their epoch. The highest art will be that which in its conscious content presents the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which has been visibly shattered by the explosions of last week, which is forever trying to collect its limbs after yesterday's crash. The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataracts of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their time." [3]

Industrial music was very much of its time; you can hear the shattered dreams of the '60s in Throbbing Gristle's music, you can hear the defeatism and boredom that accompanied the decay of the welfare state. As in Huelsenbeck's prescription for "the highest art", this music (whether deliberately or not is irrelevant) addressed the important questions of the day; social alienation, media illusions perceived as reality, and the impossibility of morality in a culture where the traditional arbiters of morality were losing their power.

The anti-art tradition that Dada embodied continued in various forms throughout the century. Its first successor was the Surrealist movement, which included artists inspired by their direct contact with Dadaists like Tristan Tzara, and it also owed a considerable debt to the absurdist French art tradition embodied in the work of Jarry, Raymond Roussel and Guillaume Apollinaire. The break between Surrealism and Dada has been presented as a clash of personalities between Andre Breton and Tzara, but some argue that it represented the replacement of a movement that had valued disorder, anarchy and confusion with one that, paradoxically, attempted to rationalise its irrationality.

The Surrealist search for an escape from socially imposed reality certainly influenced some later industrial musicians; Nurse With Wound paid homage to the absurdist and hyper-realist tradition in much of their music, and more recently, composer Randy Greif has specifically said that he attempts to create a genuinely surrealist music (the Surrealists themselves took their figurehead Breton's dislike ofmusic to heart, concentrating on visual art and literature). Others, particularly European groups like D.D.A.A. and P16D4 also show clear traces of surrealism in the way they treat musical collage as an opportunity for humorous juxtaposition.

The Surrealist attempt to put the unconscious on display could be seen as part of a yearning for authenticity through primitivism that has been a major element in twentieth century art. As discussed below, its influence on performance art is one of the more important elements of the industrial music heritage, but several industrial musicians incorporated it more directly. As well as the "surrealist" elements in industrial music, "primitivist" attitudes appear in the work of groups like Zero Kama, Lustmørd, Coil, Crash Worship and Zone (who share an interest in the occult, spirituality, ritualism). Organum's David Jackman, who has passed through the industrial fringes, is even more clearly interested in music's ability to evoke primal spiritual responses, creating drone-based, barely tonal music that owes a lot to non-Western ritual music.

If Surrealism lacked Dada's provocationist tactics, later movements did not. Fluxus developed in the first few years of the Sixties in America, and combined the prank-events beloved of Dada with a specifically anti-bourgeois political ideology. They acknowledged their heritage; in 1962 Nam June Paik organised an event Neo-Dada in der Musik in Dusseldorf, for example. Some of the artists associated with Fluxus, particularly Terry Riley and LaMonte Young would later go on to develop music that, via popularisers like Brian Eno, would ultimately influence many industrial musicians, but Fluxus itself had little direct influence.

However, Fluxus was only one element in a resurgence of performance art in sixties New York. Allan Kaprow's Happenings (from 1959 onwards) were some of the earliest and best remembered events, but they sprung from an ongoing history of performance that stretched back to the New York Dadaists (notably Picabia and Duchamp). In 1936, the Bauhaus's Xanti Schawinsky joined the three-year old Black Mountain College in North Carolina, introducing a performance element into the curriculum that would engage Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Robert Rauschenberg and many others en route to the Happenings.

The growth of interest in performance art in America was paralleled by the activities of various artists at the same time in Europe. Amongst them, Joseph Beuys (a Fluxus protagonist) and Hermann Nitsch achieved particular notoriety and are particularly relevant to the heritage of industrial music. Beuys' work frequently involved the creation of very personal, meditative situations, isolating himself from humanity for days on end, or sharing an art space with only a dead or living animal. His interest in ritual as a way of recovering art's transformative function is much more personal than Nitsch, whose Orgies Mysteries Theatre performances took the form of reenactments of Dionysian rituals, social celebrations involving loud music and the disembowelment of animal carcasses.

Many other artists have entered similar taboo areas. Chris Burden's performances have involved him cutting himself and being shot in the arm [4]; Stelarc and Fakir Musafar hang themselves from hooks carefully inserted into their flesh; Marina Abramovic allowed her audience to cut her clothes and skin with razor blades [5]. The aim is to recover art's shamanic, ritual elements, to break psychological taboos and enter genuinely altered states. Genesis P-Orridge, later of Throbbing Gristle, was an escapee from this performance art tradition, first in The Exploding Galaxy, then via the experimental commune Trans Media Exploration in 1969 [6], on to COUM Transmissions with fellow performer Cosey Fanni Tutti. COUM's performances centered on sex and ritual, culminating in the notorious Prostitution exhibition at the I.C.A. in 1976, which brought Throbbing Gristle to public attention (although Throbbing Gristle had been first used as title for a COUM performance two years previously). [7]

Throbbing Gristle were probably the only industrial group to evolve directly out of a performance art context, but the live art of the sixties and seventies developed several new ideas that later fed into the work of various industrial groups. Cabaret Voltaire's early performances sometimes included showings of surrealist films as the "support act". Percussionist Z'ev's performances have been compared to shamanic exorcisms, and proto-industrial group The Residents owe much of their live costume drama tothe Dada / Bauhaus tradition [8]. Most notably, Test Dept, which began life as a music group very rapidly connected with avant-garde theatre; some of their spectacular performances are documented on the A Good Night Out and Gododdin albums. In 1992, they staged an event in Glasgow entitled The Second Coming, in a huge disused locomotive works; this involved three narrators, several dancers, several percussionists and other musicians, and a host of extras, such as flag-bearers and welders. Its large-scale non-narrative approach to performance owes a great deal to the work of people like Robert Wilson in the seventies, although its preoccupations are quite different.

However, Test Dept were unusual among industrial musicians in that their disgust for the society they found themselves in led them to a politics of protest that directly embraced the ideas of the left; solidarity being the major one, leading the band through a series of concerts opposing the Conservative assault on the trade union movement, supporting the striking miners' unions, ambulance workers, printworkers, and anti-poll tax campaigners. They remained sophisticated enough never to match their strong political feeling with simplistic and unequivocal support for any of the parties of the left, but nonetheless, their allegiances had little in common with most other industrial groups, who distrusted all conventional politics, of whatever wing. Groups like Throbbing Gristle, S.P.K. and Cabaret Voltaire all saw society as a whole to be too corrupt for conventional politics to be worth bothering with.

In Gristle's case, their music and lyrics appeared to present an amoral face full of nothing but revulsion; their songs catalogued the horror of the modern world without attempting to pass comment. Inevitably, their interest in mass murderers, Nazism, and similar topics led to accusations by some that T.G. were more than interested, they were attracted to such ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the surface amorality disguised a deep moralism. It was their hatred of pretence, hypocrisy, oppression and authoritarianism that led to their violent rebellion.

Following the break-up of T.G., this hidden morality made itself most clearly felt through Genesis POrridge's group, Psychic TV (Peter Christopherson, also ex-Gristle, soon left to join John Balance in Coil), and its associated "anti"-organisation, the Temple ov Psychick Youth. Ostensibly an attempt touse the framework of a "cult" to decondition people's minds from social indoctrination, rather than to brainwash them, T.O.P.Y. never succeeded in getting beyond its own paradoxes. While it was on the onehand encouraging its members to think for themselves, to question and reject received ideas, it nonetheless insisted on set methods of achieving this de-conditioned salvation (e.g. ritual sex magick), suggested standards of behaviour for members to live up to (members who failed to toe the line were in some cases effectively ex-communicated), and, most importantly, relied on a hierarchical organisation that never succeeded in being in any way democratic or transparent. Its achievements (primarily thesense of community amongst like-minded misfits) were compromised by the fact that its initiators never freed themselves from their situation as role models and, if they ever understood the lessons of anarchist and liberationist political theory, never applied them in practice.

Whitehouse's William Bennett appeared to decide that the moral amorality of Throbbing Gristle was doomed to failure, and his group stuck to its guns with unrelenting challenges to listenability and unrelentingly tasteless lyrics about Nazism, serial killers, rape and similar topics. According to one person who worked with William Bennett, Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton, Bennett is "only interested in upsetting people ... His ethic was 'Everybody who buys my records is basically a cunt'" [9]. However, Whitehouse's Stefan Jaworzyn has acknowledged Whitehouse's extra-musical influences: "I've always considered Whitehouse to be more like performance art ... in that Whitehouse is outside of rock, experimental music or whatever." [10] In this respect, Whitehouse continue a long tradition of attempting to outrage and assault the audience; there have certainly been other performance artists who have physically attacked their audience in the past. Notably, this contrasts strongly with the tradition of self-abusive performance that Throbbing Gristle were heir to.

Whitehouse's own inability to articulate their motives has left them open to misinterpretation and opposition. Are they satirists, like Brett Easton Ellis? Whatever the case may be, the attempt to maintain such an extreme vision shows real single-mindedness. Whether or not this culmination of the Dadaist tradition leads onwards is open to doubt. One writer, Hakim Bey, is particularly critical: "We support artists who use terrifying material in some 'higher cause' - who use loving / sexual material of any kind, however shocking or illegal - who use their anger and disgust and their true desires to lurch towards self-realisation and beauty and adventure. 'Social Nihilism', yes - but not the dead nihilism of gnostic self-disgust. Even if it's violent and abrasive, anyone with a vestigial third eye can see the differences between revolutionary pro-life art and reactionary pro-death art". [11]

Endnotes //

1. Dada: Art and Anti-Art, Hans Richter (Thames and Hudson 1965) // 2. Performance Art, Rose Lee Goldberg (Thames and Hudson 1979) // 3. Dada: Art and Anti-Art, op. cit.4. Art in the Dark, Thomas McEvilley, in // 4. Apocalypse Culture, 2nd edn, ed. Adam Parfrey (Feral House, 1990) // 5. Performance Art, op. cit. // 6. Rapid Eye #1, Simon Dwyer (R.E. Publishing, 1989) // 7. Time to Tell CD booklet, Cosey Fanni Tutti (Conspiracy International, 1993) // 8. The Eyes Scream: A History of the Residents, video (Palace, 1991); Meet the Residents, Ian Shirley (SAF, 1993) // 9. Interview in Audion #28 (1994) // 10. Interview in Music From The Empty Quarter #6 (1992). // 11. T.A.Z., Hakim Bey (Autonomedia, 1991)


A History of Electronic Music Pioneers [Part 1: 1750-1930]

[Note: the following text is an excerpt from an essay by David Dunn, which was written for a catalog that accompanied the exhibition: 'Pioneers of Electronic Art', held in Austria, 1992]

...One of the earliest documented musical instruments based upon electronic principles was the Clavecin Electrique, designed by the Jesuit priest Jean-Baptiste Delaborde in France, 1759. The device used a keyboard control based upon simple electrostatic principles.

The spirit of invention which immediately preceded the turn of this century was synchronous with a cultural enthusiasm about the new technologies that was unprecedented. Individuals such as Bell, Edison, and Tesla became culture heroes who ushered in an ideology of industrial progress founded upon the power of harnessed electricity. Amongst this assemblage of inventor industrialists was Dr. Thaddeus Cahill, inventor of the electric typewriter, designer and builder of the first musical synthesizer and, by default, originator of industrial muzak. While a few attempts to build electronic musical instruments were made in the late 19th century by Elisha Gray, Ernst Lorenz, and William Duddell, they were fairly tentative or simply the curious byproducts of other research into electrical phenomena. One exception was the musical instrument called the Choralcelo built in the United States by Melvin L. Severy and George B. Sinclair between 1888 and 1908. Cahill's invention, the Telharmonium, however, remains the most ambitious attempt to construct a viable electronic musical instrument ever conceived.

Working against incredible technical difficulties, Cahill succeeded in 1900 to construct the first prototype of the Telharmonium and by 1906, a fairly complete realization of his vision. This electro-mechanical device consisted of 145 rheotome/ alternators capable of producing five octaves of variable harmonic content in imitation of orchestral tone colors. Its principal of operation consisted of what we now refer to as additive synthesis and was controlled from two touch-sensitive keyboards capable of timbral, amplitude and other articulatory selections. Since Cahill's machine was invented before electronic amplification was available he had to build alternators that produced more than 10,000 watts. As a result the instrument was quite immense, weighing approximately 200 tons. When it was shipped from Holyoke, Massachusetts to New York City, over thirty railroad flatcars were enlisted in the effort.

While Cahill's initial intention was simply to realize a truly sophisticated electronic instrument that could perform traditional repertoire, he quickly pursued its industrial application in a plan to provide direct music to homes and offices as the strategy to fund its construction. He founded the New York Electric Music Company with this intent and began to supply real-time performances of popular classics to subscribers over telephone lines. Ultimately the business failed due to insurmountable technical and legal difficulties, ceasing operations in 1911.

The Telharmonium and its inventor represent one of the most spectacular examples of one side of a recurrent dialectic which we will see demonstrated repeatedly throughout the 20th century history of the artistic use of electronic technology. Cahill personifies the industrial ideology of invention which seeks to imitate more efficiently the status quo. Such an ideology desires to summarize existent knowledge through a new technology and thereby provide a marketable representation of current reality. In contrast to this view, the modernist ideology evolved to assert an anti-representationist use of technology which sought to expand human perception through the acquisition of new technical means. It desired to seek the unknown as new phenomenological and experiential understandings which shattered models of the so-called "real".

The modernist agenda is brilliantly summarized by the following quote by Hugo Ball:

"It is true that for us art is not an end in itself, we have lost too many of our illusions for that. Art is for us an occasion for social criticism, and for real understanding of the age we live in...Dada was not a school of artists, but an alarm signal against declining values, routine and speculations, a desperate appeal, on behalf of all forms of art, for a creative basis on which to build a new and universal consciousness of art."

Many composers at the beginning of this century dreamed of new electronic technologies that could expand the palette of sound and tunings of which music and musical instruments then consisted. Their interest was not to use the emerging electronic potential to imitate existent forms, but rather to go beyond what was already known. In the same year that Cahill finalized the Telharmonium and moved it to New York City, the composer Ferruccio Busoni wrote his Entwurf einer neuen Asthetik der Tonkunst ('Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music') wherein he proposed the necessity for an expansion of the chromatic scale and new (possibly electrical) instruments to realize it. Many composers embraced this idea and began to conceptualize what such a music should consist of. In the following year, the Australian composer Percy Grainger was already convinced that his concept of 'Free Music' could only be realized through use of electro-mechanical devices.
By 1908 the Futurist Manifesto was published and the modernist ideology began its artists' revolt against existent social and cultural values. In 1913 Luigi Russolo wrote The Art of Noise, declaring that the "evolution of music is paralleled by the multiplication of the machine". By the end of that year, Russolo and Ugo Piatti had constructed an orchestra of electro-mechanical noise instruments (Intonarumori) capable of realizing their vision of a sound art which shattered the musical status quo. Russolo desired to create a sound based art form out of the noise of modern life. His noise intoning devices presented their array of "howlers, boomers, cracklers, scrapers, exploders, buzzers, gurglers, and whistles" to bewildered audiences in Italy, London, and finally Paris in 1921, where he gained the attention of Varese and Stravinsky. Soon after this concert the instruments were apparently only used commercially for generating sound effects and were abandoned by Russolo in 1930.

tag(s): ~ ~


Musique Concrete - [Origins of Electronic & Industrial Music]

Jahsonic.com's Definition of Musique Concrete:
(also known as Electroacoustics) is the name given to a class of electronic music produced from editing together tape-recorded fragments of natural and industrial sounds. Concrete (as opposed to "Abstraite", traditional composition) was pioneered in the late 1940's and 1950's, spurred by developments in microphones and the commercial availability of the magnetic tape recorder.

Pierre Schaeffer, a Paris radio broadcaster, created some of the earliest pieces of Musique Concrete, including "Etude aux chemins de fer" ("Study with Trains"), "Etude au piano I" ("Piano Study I") and "Etude aux casseroles" ("Study with Baking Pans"). Each of these pieces involved splicing, speeding up, looping, and reversing recordings of sound sources like trains, piano and rattling cookware. Schaeffer also collaborated with another Musique Concrete pioneer, Pierre Henry. Together, they created pieces such as "Symphonie pour un homme seule" ("Symphony for a Man Alone").

Concrete was combined with other, synthesized forms of Electronic music to create Edgar Varese's "Poeme Electronique". "Poeme" was played at the 1958 Brussels World's fair through 400 carefully placed loudspeakers in a special pavilion designed by Iannis Xenakis.

After the 1950's, Concrete was somewhat displaced by other forms of Electronic composition, although its influence can be seen in popular music by many bands, including The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Traditional and non-traditional Concrete has experienced a revival in the '80's and '90's, although modern sampling technology is now often used in place of magnetic tape.

Recently, the growing popularity in all forms of electronica has led to a re-birth of Musique Concrete. Artists such as Christian Fennesz, and Francisco Lopez use many Concrete techniques in their music while often being classified under more common electronica genres such as Intelligent Dance Music or Downtempo. Electronica magazines such as The Wire regularly feature articles and reviews of Musique Concr�te. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musique_concr%E8te

First Concert of Musique Concrete
March 18,
1950: First concert of musique concrete, Paris, Auditorium of the Ecole Normale de Musique. First performance of Symphonie pour un homme seul by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry. http://www.ina.fr/grm/presentation/dates.en.html

Film Editing
It is no surprise to find that musique concrete took its inspiration from film editing in many ways, so that sound was organised according to the logic of montage principles, rather than harmonic sequences. Pierre Henry has claimed that musique concrete "proceeds from photography, from cinema", whilst Rob Young has written that "the artistic moment no longer occurred in the written manuscript, nor with the physicality of performance, but became distributed within the manipulation of stock and found sounds, a process resembling film editing." --http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/film/journal/articles/audio-visual-ryhythms.htm

Beatles [...]
By the mid-1960's popular musicians began to exploit the sophisticaited technology of the recording studio. This phenomenon prompted the Beatles to announce that they were retiring from touring because it was impossible to 'reproduce' their recorded music live. On their White Album, the track Revolution Number Nine introduced musique concrete to a wide audience. This track instigated the 'Paul is dead' rumour. --Kevin Concannon http://www.localmotives.com/hoved/tema/nr_2/cut.html [Aug 2004]

Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound - Iara Lee;
In this expansive history of
electronic music, Shapiro (The Rough Guide to Drum `n' Bass) chronicles the creative moment of generating sound through sampling, mixing, and manipulation. Written by musicians and aficionados, the articles assembled here form a fascinating account of innovators from John Cage to Miles Davis, thoroughly exploring this sprawling genre and its musical offshoots. Densely packed and meticulously detailed, the book makes some startling geographic and stylistic leaps in an effort to trace the comprehensive history of electronic music. Through interviews, vivid pictures, and crisp commentary, it illustrates how electronic music is now at work in the majority of today's musical styles. This work, a tie-in to Iara Lee's 1998 film of the same name, explores in greater detail some of the same ground covered in J.M. Kelly's The Rough Guide to Techno Music (2000). An essential tool for anyone interested in this music, whether mildly or deeply. -- Caroline Dadas


Russian Industrial Noise artist: ZGA (aka Nick Sudnick)

The sound of ZGA's improv noise is like a metaphor of the late Soviet or post-Soviet everyday life: rusty, broken-down, unpleasantly dominated by cold metal, functioning to seemingly inpenetrable, absurd logic. ZGA is the first still active Russian noise group, started in 1984. Nick Sudnick, its sole remaining member from the original line-up, is another of those dozens of St. Petersburg musicians who at some point played also in Pop Mechanics. I meet him in his workshop in the center of St. Petersburg. The workshop is, naturally enough, filled with beautiful primitive Soviet electronics and junk iron objects. Throughout the interview, Sudnick keeps soldiering together parts of his junk-iron instruments, "zgamoniums". The day before ZGA has performed at the fourth annual memorial festival of Sergei Kuryokhin, in front of an extremely warm and welcoming audience. Kraut-rockers Faust also performed, and they are coming to visit and have a jam session at Sudnick's workshop on the next day.

ZGA's music has developed on a trajectory of its own. While the sound of their first mid-80's recordings was a lot like any home-made distort-o-industria, their roots in the 70's prog were discernible post factum from riffs and rhythms they used. The Western industrial/noise influences - Nurse with Wound, Factrix, Mnemonists - reached them only somewhat later, during perestroika, when Sudnick started to build his zgamoniums. The zgamoniums, which ZGA uses both on stage and in studio, are contact-miked springs hammered with mallets, metal sheets gently stroked with medieval-looking miniature whips, strings attached to brutally constructed iron grids, and much more. "We realized we could never play as well and skillfully as the Western people we admired. At that point it became clear that we had to find something of our own, a language of our own. So in late -87 I started to build my own instruments."

After three cd's released in the first half of the 90's on Chris Cutler's ReR Megacorp label, ZGA has released only cassettes on Alexander Lebedev-Frontov's Ultra imprint. Like it happened with many other Russian underground musicians, their Western concert trips all but ended at about the same time, when the interest in Russia, born during the Gorby years, had run its course. After that Sudnick has put his efforts on several side projects in to his old band, but now interest in ZGA may be on the rise again. Their first cd release in six years, The Flight of Infection, due out soon on the small US label Tariff.

"Basically I like what has happened in Russia after the collapse of the USSR, that the society has become more open, even though they are now trying to strangle the media again. On the other hand, many people, including me, didn't guess that everyday life would get this difficult. Artists and musicians are unable to earn any money, because their products just don't interest anyone in the situation where the average income of the population keeps on falling all the time."
"But I don't have any clear-cut political opinions. I think Dugin [this interview was done before Dugin became influential in state politics] is an interesting author, and I see the work of Alexander [Lebedev-Frontov's, with whom Sudnick plays as a duo under the project name Vetrophonia] work as good-natured, healthy humour. I don't take it as seriously as those blockheads in the National Bolshevik Party."

In recent years ZGA has discarded the remnants of their silly prog wackiness, and at the same time melodic motifs have become more noticeable in their music in the form of Sudnick's simple electric organ sounds, making it sound like nothing else. "I studied accordeon when I was a teenager. I learned the standard Soviet accordeon repertoire: a bit of classical, a bit of folk stuff. It was boring, but I dreamed that with my accordeon skills I could one day get a chance to play on an Ionika, the Soviet electric organ of the late 60's." The best moments of ZGA's current live set are difficult to place into any exact time and place. With Ekaterina Fiodorova on metal percussion, Ramil Shamsutdinov on trombone and Sudnick playing zgamoniums, tapes and accordion, the band looks and sounds like a science fiction band led by Tom Waits from a film that Tarkovsky never made. Or almost like an imaginary factory orchestra in the late 1920's, equally interested in noise music of the time and the melodicism of Shostakovich.

Hungarian journalist Rene F�l�p-Miller was a rare foreign witness of the original version of this music in the early 1920's. His account from 1926 is particularly valuable, because unlike Italian Futurists' noise music - the Delta blues of contemporary industrial music, as I think somebody has called it - the Russian Engineerists were afterwards almost wiped out of Soviet history:
"The Bolshevists very soon proceeded to construct special noise instruments, to form noise orchestras, to give the public a 'real new music', instead of the usual old bourgeois individualistic 'patchwork', and in this way to prepare the collective soul for the revelation of the holiest. They imitated all conceivable sounds from industry and technology and united them in peculiar fugues, in which a whole world of noise deafened the ear. [...] A particularly fanatical sect of 'machine worshippers', the so-called 'engineerists', held in the festive hall of the Moscow Trade Union Palace noise orgies which show better than anything else the absurdity of all these attempts. The first public divine service of these 'machine worshippers' began with a noise orchestra composed of a crowd of motors, turbines, hooters and similar instruments of din. [...] This was a passion play which represented the sacrifice of the lower individual man on the altar of the mechanized and desouled collectivity."

* Note: This article was edited for length when published in The Wire. Here you have read the original unedited version.
--- Excerpted from an article at Tamizdat.org & re-printed here without permission ---


Unheralded Industrialists - Industrial Nation #19, 2004

by Todd Zachritz

Hello and welcome back. This issue, I'd like to take you on a bit of a field trip, away from the current experimental sounds and into the past. This time, I'm going to focus on the old-school industrial and experimental music--stuff that seems to have been all but forgotten and neglected in these days of futurepop and industrial/gothic metal. Sure, everyone should be more than familiar with THROBBING GRISTLE, CABARET VOLTAIRE, BOYD RICE, COIL, CHRIS & COSEY, WHITEHOUSE, CURRENT 93, NURSE WITH WOUND, TEST DEPT, and the likes. These were important artists, to be certain, but there were many more from the same period making truly bizarre and decidedly non-commercial sounds, often to a very small and insular audience. These 'missing' legends of the 'Wild Planet' scene are what I will focus on here. Step right up..


From what basically seems to be the birthplace of what is historically termed 'industrial' music, England, came the BOURBONESE QUALK. From 1980 to 1987, members Simon Crab, Steven Tanza, and Julian Gilbert (and later guitarist Miles Miles) were to release 5 now-classic LPs, from 'Laughing Afternoon' to the self-titled 'Bourbonese Qualk'. The versatile band moved effortlessly from aggressive and noise-laced rock sounds to cinematic tribal-ethno-percussive experiments to emotive soundtracks without films. Equally as influenced by CAN as by THROBBING GRISTLE, the QUALK's electronic programming gelled with live instrumentation into a seamless mix that would herald the work of later Wax Trax!-era artists. Later releases (like the landmark 1987 release, 'My Government Is My Soul') even brought in elements of funk, dub and techno to the mix. A dark outlook permeated the group's many recordings, and politics and shock value didn't so much define the group as season it. BOURBONESE QUALK's recordings may now be difficult to find, as they were released in many formats on many obscure European labels through the years, but any of their work merits attention.
For details on their releases and free MP3s, visit http://www.bourbonesequalk.com

KONSTRUKTIVISTS formed in 1982, based around Glenn Michael Wallis, who was a roadie/touring mate of THROBBING GRISTLE and sometime member of WHITEHOUSE. KONSTRUKTIVISTS were a psychotronic group that focused on spacy electronic reverberations and more accessable beat-oriented material that was unquestionably a major influence on some of the later 'industrial dance' acts. Having recorded the now-sought-after early vinyl LPs like 1983's 'Psykho-Genetika' on underground labels like Third Mind, the group eventually went into a sort of hibernation from 1985 to 1990. Emerging in 1990 with refreshed lineup, the group released a stream of electronic CDs on labels like the UK's Jara Discs and World Serpent. These were more techno-influenced works that were met with mostly indifference, likely due to lack of promotion and publicity. KONSTRUKTIVISTS continue on today with Wallis being the sole member. A variety of CD reissues of their early work have been released, so the wonder of KONSTRUKTIVISTS can be felt all over again. http://www.klanggalerie.com/konsort/

From San Francisco, there was FACTRIX -- a group of artists including Bond Bergland, Cole Palme, and Joseph P. Jacobs who formed in 1978 from the ashes of another seminal post-punk act, MINIMAL MAN. As FACTRIX, the group released a number of subversive and 'dangerous' recordings back in the early '80s. Their incredible 'Scheintot' LP was a document of morbid, moody, and subtle experimental rock that is as eerily unsettling today as it must have been way back in 1981 when it was initially released. Their 1982 LP, 'California Babylon', was recorded live with vocal contributions from the notorious MONTE CAZAZZA, and remains a rough and violent selection of guitar-noise deconstructions and primitive machine-noise rumblings. Conversely, the 'Empire Of Passion/Splice Of Life' 7" was a marvelously sinister bit of apocalyptic sound-poetry and industrial soundscaping. All of these releases have been criminally out-of-print for years, but fortunately, the fine Tesco label has released a double-CD collection of FACTRIX's legendary recordings, entitled 'Artifact'. This compiles tracks from the group's many cassette and vinyl recordings at last onto digital format for a new audience to hear and appreciate. Order the CD or read more about FACTRIX at Tesco's website, at http://www.tesco-distro.com.
(Editors note-- For more about FACTRIX go to Factrix: Industrial Music Pioneers (fan site); for Factrix mp3s, visit http://music.download.com/factrix.)

Another act that never received much notice stateside was 23 SKIDOO. Formed in England in 1979, this collective (led by Alex Turnbull, Johnny Turnbull, Fritz Catlin, and Sketch) released a small, but highly-influential amount of vinyl 12"es and LPs. Their LP, 'The Culling Is Coming', dared to combine post-TG noise and cutup work with meditational and rich multi-cultural percussive experiments. The track 'Mahakala', from 'Culling', is a solemn ritual piece that invokes some dark and contemplative spirits. Other releases, like the 'Just Like Everybody' LP, brought a virulent strain of mutant electro-funk later co-opted (and sampled prominently) by acts like THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON and the CHEMICAL BROTHERS. The cut, 'Gregouka', from their 1982 'Tearing Up The Plans' 12", blended ancient Moroccan music with dark electronics to creepy effect. After years of being out-of-print, 23 SKIDOO's back catalogue is supposedly now available on CD. And the group has since returned to performance and recording, reportedly in a more dance/hip-hop vein.

MAYBE MENTAL were another largely-forgotten post-industrial act in the late 80s. Likely best-known for their split 1987 LP with CONTROLLED BLEEDING (entitled 'Halved'), MAYBE MENTAL were formed in Arizona in 1982 by David Oliphant. The group mined the atmospheric industrial arena as well or better than most of their underground peers. Their 1985 cassette release, 'To Cease Burning', was a textural post-industrial landscape of tonal fragments, cinematic noise, and fractured collages--which still holds up next to any modern-day experimental outfit. Other early cassette releases veered into traditional noise and power electronics territories, but later recordings were spiced up with field recordings, found tapes, and other more subtle and diverse influences, culminating in their landmark 1987 LP, 'Lotuses On Fire', which heralded the group's interest in rich multi-cultural instrumentation and ritual textures that would later play a key role in the band's transition to the formidable LIFE GARDEN. As LIFE GARDEN, Oliphant and company went on to release a number of simultaneously meditational, tribal, and percussive tapes and CDs, including some collaborative works with the equally as transcendent VOICE OF EYE.

The mysterious German/English group GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA only released one LP, but 'Hypnotischer Existenzialismus' made some waves upon it's release in 1985 on Graeme Revell & Brian Lustmord's legendary Side Effects Records. This long out-of-print record featured a series of very industrial-sounding compositions recorded live. From percussive attacks with megaphone-style declarations to ritualistic ambience, G.LIGA influenced some prominent artists of their day, including cEvin Key and Bill Leeb. Fans of any of the classic, early industrialists would do well to seek out this fine recording from a time long past.

Almost as mysterious and fleeting was the group LAST FEW DAYS, who gained a measure of prominence for their early collaborations with LAIBACH. They released precious few recordings in the early part of the 1980s, but the LP, 'Pure Spirit And Saliva', was a compilation of live performances from 1983-1986. The group eschewed studio recordings in favor of live actions, and musically, LFD relied on drum machines, strange tape effects, and clanking percussion assaults to paint rough, feral onslaughts of environmental and urban sound. LAST FEW DAYS were one of the missing links between early avante-garde 'industrial' scene and the later beat-oriented dance and EBM splinters. 'Pure Spirit' is a marvelous and influential recording that has oddly escaped CD reissue to this day.

Finally, we have the obscure but very important DELIA DERBYSHIRE. Not an 'industrial' artist by any stretch, Delia worked at England's BBC Workshop in the 1960s and 1970s, creating some very early electronic and experimental music for TV and radio soundtracks. If you've heard the theme for the classic sci-fi series 'Dr. Who', then you have heard some of Delia's work. She took many chances and composed her themes using exotic sources (like animal sounds), often challenging her employers as well as her listeners in a time when electronic music was not accepted or taken seriously. Her interests and work in these avante-garde arenas led to encounters with many prominent rock and psychedelic musicians of the day, and it is certain that some, if not most, went away with new ideas borrowed from Delia. She passed away in 2001, but not before starting some new electronic musical projects with former Spacemen 3/Spectrum mainman Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom). Her lovingly-crafted website has free MP3 samples available, as well as a complete bio of this visionary artist. http://www.delia-derbyshire.org

And there you have it. To see the future you must know the past. Or something like that.

[this article originally published in INDUSTRIAL NATION magazine #19, 2004]


Re/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook

The Industrial Culture Handbook is simply a reference guide to the philosophy and interests of a flexible alliance of the following deviant international artists: Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, SPK, Z'ev, Non, Monte Cazazza, Mark Pauline, Sordide Sentimental, Johanna Went, and R&N. Most of these artists have been working creatively a decade or longer, in varying degrees of obscurity. The impetus in common is rebellion.

By "industrial" we mean the grim side of post-Industrial Revolution society-the repressed mythology, history, science, technology and psychopathology. By "culture" we mean the books, films, magazines, records, etc which have been plucked out of the available information overload as relevant and important.

There is no strict unifying aesthetic, except that all things gross, atrocious, horrific, demented, and unjust are examined with black-humor eyes. Nothing is (or ever again will be) sacred, except a commitment to the realization of the individual imagination. These are not gallery or salon artists struggling to get to where the money is: these are artists in spite of art. There is no standard or value left unchallenged.

The values, standards, and content that remain are of a perversely anarchic nature, grounded in a post-holocaust mortality. Swept away are false politeness, etiquette, preoccupation with texture and form-all the niceties associated with several generations of art about other art. Starting on a realigned foundation of "black" history, "black" science and the "black arts," these artists have presented their visions reflecting the world as they see it, not the official realities. The problems of morality and critical evaluation are left to the eye of the beholder, and to history-what remains of it . . .

All art has as its source dreams, the unconscious, and the imagination. And in dreams as in the imagination as in art-nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted.

~Excerpted from Re/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook, by V. Vale and Andrea Juno �


Industrial Records Label: Official Discography



IRC35 CABARET VOLTAIRE, "1974-1976" 1981


Thee Industrial Records Story (as written by Genesis P-Orridge)

Industrial Music for Industrial People

Industrial Records began as an investigation. The four members of Throbbing Gristle wanted to investigate to what extent you could mutate and collage sound, present complex non-entertaining noises to a popular culture situation and convince and convert. We wanted to re-invest Rock music with content, motivation and risk. Our records were documents of attitudes and experiences and observations by us and other determinedly individual outsiders. Fashion was an enemy, style irrelevant.

We wanted to also investigate music as a Business phenomenon and propose models for entirely new and innovative modes of commercial operation. A parody and an improvement. Industrial Records was founded before any of thee better known of the English Independents and was at its close the 3rd largest, yet the most elusive. We wanted to make music and records more effective and relevant to our Industrial society, and we wanted to make business more efficient and creative as well. Industrial Records Limited was born. Named as the most unromantic yet appropriate title we could envisage. Big records companies produce records like cars; we are connected to a contemporary social situation, not a blues orientated past style; we work hard for what we want, we are industrious; we parody and challenge large industrial companies and their debasing ethics and depersonalisation; we work in an old factory; industrial labour is slavery, destructive, a redundant institution so we call it the Death Factory. Music From The Death Factory, from the world, from life. Records in English also mean files, documents, as collected by Government agencies, employers, schools and police forces. Our Records are a combination of files on our relationship with the world and a Newspaper without censorship. Monte Cazazza suggested our business slogan should be INDUSTRIAL MUSIC FOR INDUSTRIAL PEOPLE. You Get what you deserve. Or do you? Well, from the people with a vested interest in controlling and guiding society to follow their recommendations as to what attitudes you should have, what motivations should govern your bebaviour and what goals you should be satisfied with, you DO NOT get what you deserve. You get what you are given, and what you are given is primarily conditioning that pushes you towards blind acceptance, wasted labour, frustrated relationships and a vast sense of hopelessness. We are trained to feel we are not responsible or in control of our society and world so that we will continue to let "Leaders" look after us like parents with retarded children.

Leaders are not essential, we are TAUGHT to believe we need them, that we are not able to assume responsibility for ourselves. Lies created leaders, lies perpetuate leaders, lies destroy joy and creativity and hope. There are NO LIES on these records, no one here is a leader. We assume full responsibility for ourselves. We will not be deflected from our destiny. OUR LIFE. There is currently a trend back towards total control and safety in the record and music industry. Groups are styled, hyped and successful before they even release a record. Old outlaws and thinkers are opting for security, comfortable records that apply radical discoveries to banal musical ends. Show business and its inherited goals and justifications are triumphant again. The public is seduced and cheated by emptiness packaged alluringly in cheap tinsel. Fear is the Government once more. On this record are people who were not afraid to think, did not avoid risks. People of all ages are here, from 16 years old to 70 years old. Truth and hope have no boundaries, no set style, they are implicit most clearly in the way you choose to live. The title of the last record issued by industrial tells the rest. "Nothing here now but the recordings."
Or perhaps there is....

~Genesis P-Orridge (from TG CD 1)




FAQ: REC.MUSIC.INDUSTRIAL -- Part 1 and 2 -- Questions and History


PART 1 - Frequently Asked Questions File:
1. Other periodic postings
2. Intro
3. History
4. Charter
5. RMI CD Status
6. Important Facts
7. FTP servers
8. Mailing Lists

PART 2 - Directory of Record Labels/Mail Order Sources/Contacts:
1. Major Record Labels
2. Distributors and Smaller Record Labels
3. Mail Order Sources and 'Zines


Before I let you begin, I need to make a request. I feel like the FAQ
is getting woefully out of date. If you have any threads you are sick
of seeing, or some info you think should be included, please tell me.

I'd really like to see an extension on the history of Industrial

Future plans (we hope) should also include a listing of local
indepenent Industrial artists.

We especially need more info on record labels and mailorder sources.

If you know of any please send their name, label, and an address so I
can start compiling them.

MORE IMPORTANT NEWS! The address to send FAQ related info has changed
to rmi-faq@efn.org.


Current Editors:


Copies of the FAQ are available available on ftp sites, on the Web and
on request. Comments, corrections, and queries regarding this file
should be sent to the above address.


Where more than one link exists for a band, I will list them below the
section under the heading "Alternate Links". The link used in the
listing is my own favorite of the bunch. This is a matter of my own
personal preference so don't flame me 'cause I'll ignore it.



You are currently reading the "offical" r.m.i. FAQ. Other regular
postings include:

Jester's Net Industrial/EBM/Cyber Culture Band list, available from
jester@sage.cc.purdue.edu. The list covers those bands on the net, and
includes reviews of their various work. The list is posted monthly.

The Top Sample Sources List is a list of the most popular movies,
tv-series, presidents and other sample sources. The popularity is
based on how frequently spoken lines from these sources have been
sampled and used in some sort of musical context. The list has been
compiled by Peter Cigehn, mainly by the help of and contributions from
the readers of r.m.i. Currently the list consists of hundreds of
sources and nearly 1000 different samples. The latest version of the
list can be obtained directly from Peter Cigehn by e-mail,
Peter.Cigehn@um.erisoft.se. Although the prefered way to obtain a copy
is by reading r.m.i. where the list is posted about once a month, or
by Web at one of the following servers:

* Sewden
* Norway
* UK
* Canada



"In the gap caused by the failure of punk rock's apocalyptic rhetoric,
[the term] 'industrial' seemed like a good idea."--Jon Savage, London

Experimental. Aggro. Techno. Cutups. Alternative. Noise. Ambient.
Musique Concrete. Sound Collages. Avant Garde. Performance Art.
Difficult. Improv. Industrial?

So many names and so many labels. It gets confusing when from all
around us, publications continue to spew out more complex and
different names in an attempt to pinpoint a source, while at the same
time converging on one obvious thought: industrial. To demonstrate
this idea, we could even trace these origins of industrial back to
dadaism if we wanted to. This FAQ file is less an attempt to force
people into their place and more to widen the flow of information.
Sharing the precious information allows us to experience more in our
learning than by strange militaristic actions.



It is generally accepted that the term "industrial music" was coined
in 1976 when members of Throbbing Gristle formed Industrial Records.
It was to be a vehicle to explore a new form of expression through
analysis, presentation and aural stimulation. All of the individuals
involved used different means to achieve their goals, but the ideas
they shared were on common ground. Examples of early people on the
industrial label include Monte Cazazza, Clock DVA, Cabaret Voltaire ,
Throbbing Gristle, Leather Nun, and William S. Burroughs. Although
critics felt they were too deviant, their brand of confrontation
signaled a desire for a change in the political and social system
currently in place. However bleak and distressing, their music was
merely a reflection of the society that surrounded them. But what's
really important is that they cultivated ideas on topics ranging from
serial killing to sex and censorship as well as countless others which
are not encouraged in genteel discussions. This was the first strike
against the information war launched by the propaganda leaders and it
positioned them as more than just a musical movement, but an
alternative culture. To paraphrase, these essential ideas are the
makeup for the movement:

Organizational Autonomy. A conscious choice to record independently.
To preserve the intention of music and to take it away from the
tainted and greedy major record companies who enjoyed success at
others expense.

Access to Information. With the perception of control techniques
leaving any physical boundaries and moving into the realm of the mind
and the mouth, it was of vital importance to discuss and be aware at
all times.

Use of Synthesizers and Anti-Music. Using found materials and
unconventional means of composition industrial music was more
antagonistic to its intended audience, than being music true itself.
It was "sounds without content".

Extra-Musical Elementrs. Because television has become a more powerful
agent of control than any pop music song, the use of films and video
arrangements often accompanied these aural counter attacks.

Shock Tactics. The final blow in the scheme for control has to be the
use of hitting home what you have to say, making sure that it gets
noticed. By far, this last technique is what is most often used by
modern day "industrialists" and most probably the connecting puzzle
piece that gave them such a distinction at all. Unfortunately, we've
all witnessed death and war so often in this day and age, that we're
far too jaded to care, rendering such an attempt almost useless.

Does this mean that industrial is now dead? Perhaps. But it cannot
prevent the presence of their past actions from being muted or lost.
In the early to late 80's a number of other groups began to interpret
some of the audio ideas to formulate their own territorial grounding.
Mixing the use of new technology, imaginative found (or homemade)
materials, and the incorporation of percussion and rhythm helped guide
it into the new decade. Examples of some of these bands would include:
Non, SPK, Einstuerzende Neubauten, Test Department, Laibach, Rhythm
and Noise, Ono, and Trial.

By the end of the 80's, "industrial music" had more than just changed,
it had more or less, continued to progress and evolve alongside its
society. These days, it has often come to be known as electronic
instrumentation used to create a form of dance beats blended with
harsh noises and sound bites such as Skinny Puppy , Revolting Cocks,
Ministry, Front 242 and Front Line Assembly. Today, there are
musicians who create industrial music from both sides of the fence;
and the list is ever growing.

The fascination with noise and machinery which is so much a part of
what one tends to think of as "classic" Industrial music had historic
precedents. In the late 1800's ideophones (noises, concrete sounds)
were used in orchestral music, Luii Russolo performed using his
"intonarumore" (noise machines) (1913) and around 1920 Erik Satie used
pistols and typewriters in the music for his surrealist play Parade.
The twenties also brought the "Futurist" and "Machine Music" schools
in both Italy and France. Other important historical figures include
Edgard Varese, whose "Ionisation" (1930) was the first piece of
Western music for percussion instruments alone and who produced an
important tape piece called "Poeme Electronique" in 1958; the "Musique
Concrete" works of Pierre Schaeffer and others (tape pieces made
exclusively from electronically altering recordings of natural sounds
like water drops, glass breaking, etc. He was also responsible for
probably the earliest 'loop' which used groves cut into vinyl
records); and John Cage, whose "First Construction in Metal" (for
metallic percussion) and "Imaginary Landscape No. 4" \ (for 12 radios)
were landmarks in American music.

[ for more information about industrial (experimental) music/history/
culture there are a few books you can read:

TAPE DELAY - SAF Publishing Ltd. (ISBN 0 946719 02 0)
REsearch #4/5: Burroughs/TG/Brion Gysin (ISBN 0-940642-05-0)
REsearch #6/7: The Industrial Culture Handbook (ISBN 0-940642-07-7)
REsearch #8/9: J.G. Ballard (ISBN 0-940642-08-5)
REsearch #11: Pranks! (ISBN 0-940642-10-7)

for more info on how to contact REsearch Publications or SAF
Publishers, see the directory listing in Part 2.]



rec.music.industrial is an unmoderated newsgroup which passed its vote
for creation by 411:80 as reported in news.announce.newgroups on 23
May 1991.

For your newsgroups file:
rec.music.industrial Discussion of all industrial-related music

The charter, culled from the call for votes:

Rec.music.industrial is for the discussion of all industrial-related
music styles, including traditional industrial (i.e. Einstuerzende
Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire , etc.),
dance-industrial ('cyberpunk' i.e. Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Front 242,
Foetus, etc.) and hard techno music (i.e. Kraftwerk, etc.). Reviews of
new releases, related news items, concert information, and other types
of discussion are encouraged.



The RMI-CD(s) now have their own home page.



* The ADRV in Crash Worship's name stands for "Adoracion de Rotura
Violenta," which more or less means "Crash Worship" in Spanish.

* No member of Front 242 is a member of Bigod 20. Jean-Luc DeMeyer,
the lead singer of Front 242, was a guest on Bigod 20's song 'The
Bog,' and he sang it and wrote the lyrics. Aside from the
similarities in the two bands' music, this is the only direct
connection between the two bands. (And also the fact that they are
five-letter words followed by numbers.)

* There is some confusion over what is at the end of Front 242's
album TYRANNY FOR YOU. According to Transmission 242
originally,the songs were called simply 'Bonus Track I' and 'Bonus
Track II.' However, upon further prodding, they replied that the
pieces do have titles. The first one is called 'Hard Rock.' The
second one, according to the letter received, is called 'Trigger
3.' However, it is believed that this is a misprint, and instead
it should be called 'Trigger 1,' because the band had released a
(longer) song also called 'Trigger 3' on one of their TRAGEDY
remix EPs.

* The footage for the video to 'Mindphaser' by Front Line Assembly
was taken from the Japanese movie 'Gunhed.' Gunhed stands for 'Gun
UNit Heavy Elimination Device'. The original release was in Japan
in July 1989. The US version followed in 1991.

* Laibach's politics does not take sides in anything. Laibach is
part of a collective of artists called NSK or Neue Slowenische
Kunst. Upon entrance you are supposed to get rid of your political
views. Laibach are merely 'by-standers' and commentators in our
world of chaos. The most important point though is that
totalitarianism and oppression are not exclusive to facism but
also to: communism, christianity and capitalistic consumerism.

Since the entire NSK bases its work on the retro principle, it
means that the facist imagery is real (taken from actual Nazi art)
and the music also is based on music originally not composed by
Laibach. The most clear cut examples are: the Beatles, Queen, and
Opus; the glorified Macbeth is nothing more than a re-make of some
classical stuff.

What makes Laibach very unique though, is the overall designs of
their work. They ususally manage to collage one idea with its
opposite. Some of the artwork included on their disks was
originally done by anti-Nazi activists; however, its
out-of-context use leads one to associate it with Nazis. Laibach
stresses the idea that one can't be sure of the real meaning of
symbolism, that no one knows all of the history.

There are at least two radically different versions of Kapital,
the CD version is missing a track and most tracks are remixed from
the MC version.

* The proper spelling for the band Negativland is without the 'e'.
Their name was lifted from the Neu album BLACK FOREST GATEAU. On
that album one can find tracks named "Negativland" and "Seeland."
The first one is obviously the band name, and the second is the
name of the band's record label (before they signed to SST, of
course). Negativland means "negative country" or "country of
negativity" in German and Seeland means "country of the sea."

* It is important to note that Nine Inch Nails is essentially one
person, Trent Reznor from Cleveland (he does tour with a band but
they don't appear on the album Pretty Hate Machine). However, on
the more recent albums, Reznor is joined by other
performers/producers on various songs (Martin Atkins plays some
drums on Broken, J.G. Thirlwell remixed two songs on Fixed, Adrian
Belew plays guitar on a couple songs from The Downward Spiral).

* Butt Fuck Parlor Time (a.k.a. BFPT) is not a real NIN album.

* The correct definition of Einstuerzende Neubauten is "collapsing
new buildings" where "collapsing" is an adjective, not a verb.

v., to collapse

adj., collapsing, in a state of collapse

* According to the radio-promo release of 'Interim' the name is

* "Neubauten" generally refers to buildings built in a particular
style, rather than to any recently constructed buildings. The
style in question is the impersonal concrete-box modernist style.
Most housing projects (especially the huge towers built in the
60's) are perfect examples of Neubauten.

* Einstuerzende Neubauten chose their name when the Berlin
'Kongresshalle' collapsed around 1980. The building is located
close to the Reichstag and was a gift of the US allies to the city
of Berlin. The Kongresshalle is shaped a bit like an oyster, was
used for all kinds of exhibitions and meetings and finally
collapsed due to its cheap 60's concrete/metal construction. A
journalist died, a few more were injured and several cars were
smashed. After a rather long public discussion the Berlin
government decided to rebuild the Kongresshalle since it was a
symbol for the friendship between Germany and the US.

Additionally, to be strictly correct on a Western keyboard, it
should be Einstuerzende (the proper way to indicate an umlaut [�]
over the 'u' is to just write it as 'ue').

Note, that I have chosen to use the "ue" instead of " [�]." This
makes the formatting correct when this is converted to HTML.

* Alain Jourgensen (of Ministry fame) is not and never was a member
of Pigface.

* "Sozialistische Patienten Kollektiv" (I've also seen it as
"Sozialistische Patienten Klink") or SPK named themselves after a
group of mental patients who formed an anarchist collective
(inspired by the Baader-Meinhoff Gang) and then blew themselves up
trying to make explosives. Their name changed on every release to
phrases such as "Systems Planning Korporation", "Surgical Penis
Klinik" and "SePpuKu."

* Concerning folks in sKINNY pUPPY: Nivek Ogre's real name is Kevin
Ogilvie. He grew up in Calgary.

* David Ogilvie is of no relation to Ogre, the same last names are a
coincidence. He moved to Vancouver from Montreal in the very early
80's. David Ogilvie's nickname is "Rave" and has been for a very
long time. Rave's wife (Rosie) is credited as "Mowse" on the old
CLEANSE, FOLD & MANIPULATE track 'Tear or Beat'.

* All of the above (and the other members of the Vancouver cadre)
are very nickname-happy. cEVIN and Dwayne both have nicknames as
well. Other people outside the camp get branded with nicknames if
they're around Rave or Ogre too long. Just because sometimes
"Rave" is listed and sometimes the more formal "David Ogilvie" is
listed doesn't mean they aren't the same person. There are credits
that say "Ogre" just as there are credits that say "K. Ogilvie".

* "Green guy" is a context-sensitive descriptor. It can mean a
particularly potent form of Pot, or the person who is the delivery
boy for said Pot. it is also used as in the credits for some pUPPY

* Everyone thinks that BACK AND FORTH exists in 50 copies. After
all, it does say words to that effect on it, right? This is not
the case. There's only 35 real copies. cEVIN made all of them
himself. He "pooped out" after those 35, so #36-#50 don't exist.
There's more. Of those 35 copies, there's "Mark I" and "Mark II".
The first 10 (or was it 15?) were hand- dubbed by cEVIN from the
four-track master. Those are the "good" ones. The remainder were
dup'ed on a high-speed double-cassette deck, and are thus deemed
(by cEVIN) to be of "lower quality".

* BACK AND FORTH has been re-issued on CD. it is the first part
along with other "rarities" and unreleased material as part of a
"10 year Skinny Puppy retrospective CD" that is in the works. The
BAD news is that it (B&F) is *re-mixed* and not just re-issued :-(
It is being re-done by "Hi-Watt" Marshall, the guy who engineered
the last Hilt album. (Rave Ogilvie is livid over this.) There are
two flavors of the re-issued Back and Forth CD: the regular
limited edition release and the "ultra" limited edition release
that comes packaged in a steel box with a numbered and signed

* the recording of sKINNY pUPPY's AIN'T IT DEAD YET was mastered as
one long track because it's intended to be listened to from start
to finish, like watching a concert. In order to get the whole
experience, you have to listen to the whole thing.

* For LAST RIGHTS, "song 4 on side 2" of the cassette is the same
thing as "song 10 on the CD" which is the same thing as "Left
Handshake", the track that samples Timothy Leary from "Tune in,
turn on, drop out" which is the same track that isn't there
because the copyright holders on said Timothy Leary quoted speech
rescinded permission for the band to use the samples. It may
emerge as a one-sided 7", to be given away to people at their
upcoming tour shows if you buy some tour merchandise; or it may
suddenly appear out of (K)nowhere courtesy of some annoited
bootleggers. It has also been reported that Leary is working to
get the rights to his speech back so SP can use it. It is now
available on the FTP site listed below.

* Skinny Puppy does maintain an FTP site. ftp.netcom.com in the
/pub/puppy directory.

* Re: Tear Garden's album, TIRED EYES SLOWLY BURNING, the credits in
vinyl copies for the song "You and Me and Rainbows" clearly state:

Edward Ka-Spel: Voice, keyboards, tapes
cEVIN Key: Keyboards, rhythm box, guitar, radio, tapes, voice
D. Rudolph Goettel: Keyboards
Lee Salford: Drums
N. Ogre: Voice
Lisa: Lady voice
Rave: Guitar, tapes

Note that "Lee Salford" was the drummer for Section 25 at one
time, and "Lisa" is a woman who I believe was Cevin's girlfriend
at the time.

* 1000 Homo DJs work was originally done as an Al Jourgensen solo
project concurrent with the LAND OF RAPE AND HONEY work. The vinyl
EP of APATHY was released about six months post LORAH. When Al
decided that Trent Reznor should do the vocals for 'Supernaut',
Steve Gotlieb (president of TVT), who was already unhappy with
Trent because of his legal filings against him, told Wax Trax that
any productions using Trent Reznor's voice is in violation of
Trent's contract with TVT. So the CD5 was released with the
original Jourgenson vocals. the CD5 itself was released containing
the two new songs, 'Supernaut' and 'Hey Asshole' as well as what
was on the APATHY EP, 'Apathy' and 'Better Ways'.

* KMFDM stands for Kein Mitleid fuer die Mehrheit which in English
means "No pity For The Majority." It has been argued that the name
really means nothing because the liner notes for their album, WHAT
DO YOU KNOW, DEUTSCHLAND (WaxTrax! Records) have it listed as

"Kein Mehrheit fuer die Mitleid"

however, the proper use of the prhase would be:

"Kein Mitleid fuer die Mehrheit"

(mit=with,leid=pain -> Pity; Mehr=more,heit=-ness -> Majority)

which also uses the genders correctly.

* Other uses such as "Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode", "Krispy
Mutant Fish Dealing Mescaline" or even "Kyle Minogue Fans Don't
Masturbate" is just a joke.

* Survival Research Labs now has an answering machine system which
you can get info from. Unfortunately, the current messages do not
give any dates for performances. It does however have a menu which
allows you to get info on past shows, legal problems, being an SRL
volunteer, and current machines working or being developed. Call:
1 + 415 641-8065.

They also have an FTP site, but I lost the address. If someone
could forward it, I'd appreciate it.



* The anonymous FTP address for the rmi FAQ is:

rtfm.mit.edu /pub/usenet/rec/music/industrial

Not only will you find the rmi FAQ there, you will find about
every other FAQ as well.

bradley.bradley.edu or (

Contains the EFN back issues. Also present are transcribed lyrics
(currently Ministry and Negativland) and a few discographies.

* The discography archives are currently available via e-mail
request from Dave Datta and/or (preferably) via anonymous FTP at:

ftp.uwp.edu (

The archive is organized by letter, then by name. So, if you were
looking for Coil, you would look in:


This directory then has the following links in it:

discog -> /pub/music/discog/c/coil
lyrics -> /pub/music/lyrics/c/coil
pictures -> /pub/music/pictures/c/coil
reviews -> /pub/music/reviews/c/coil

There are thousands of discographies in the archives as well as
tons of lyrics at this time. Submissions are always welcome. A
sample FTP session/help file is also available via mail request
from the administrator.

* The files that comprise Factsheet Five Electric (the zine of
zines) are available for online reading or downloading from the
WELL, via ftp from either:

ftp.msen.com ( /pub/newsletters/F5-E
src.doc.ic.ac.uk /literary/newsletters/factsheet-five

These are freely distributable. Questions regarding F5 Electronic
should be addressed to Jerod Pore jerod23@well.sf.ca.us.

* The general rule for all anonymous ftp sites is:
1. When prompted for a user name, type 'anonymous'.

2. When prompted for a password, type your full e-mail address.

This will work for the vast majority of ftp sites, including the ones



This list is woefully incomplete, so if you maintain a list or are on
one let me know and I'll get it included. In no particular order:


Posts of NEC show dates, tour schedules, band-news, bios and the NEC
e-zine. Anything relating to Northwest Music is accepted.

Send mail to listproc@u.washington.edu with the subject subscribe
nec full name.


Taking its name from the early Skinny Puppy song, it exists for the
disucssion of (you guessed it) Skinny Puppy's music.


The Indie-List is a digest of reviews and other info for listeners of
idependent music (not just industrial). Requests for addition to
the list should be sent to grumpy@access.digex.net (a person, not
a program)


For guitarists wishing to exchange tabulature.


For all net bands on the net industrial/ebm/cybercultre band list to
chat, share trade secrets, etc


For the 4ad record label. listserver@jhuvm.hcf.jhu.edu
Leave subject line blank. Place only this in message: subscribe
4ad-1 {your name}


Any subject, with the text only "ADD". nin-request@nin.wariat.org


A useful list maintained by Dave Datta, unmoderated, available as
digests or individual mail.
Requests to join to: kraftwerk-request@cs.uwp.edu


For the discussion of Legendary Pink Dots and related projects. (Tear
Garden, MIMIR, Delerium, Nurse With Wound) Or for anything
inspired by the above.

There is also an associated FTP site: ftp.cs.mcgill.edu in the
/pub/mail-list/cloud-zero directory.


For discussion of same. himmelfahrtstransport-request@dover.cerf.net
(Say that three times fast.)


The original versions of the FAQ were maintained by Dan Kletter-- yol@netcom.com.

Many thanks to: (in no apparent order)

Al Crawford Mason Jones Jeff Dauber
David Vessell Dave Stein Greg Earle
Adam Weitzman Rob Vaughn Seth Robson
Joshua Buerge "Uncle Klaus" Dave Datta
Valerie Ohm Andrew Russ Adrian Le Hanne
Leo Breebaart Ben Cox Terry Reed
Mark Gunderson John Davison Kritt Gierlefzen
Georg Wallmann "hortonee" Jutta Degener
orcist Paul Moore Anders Holmberg
Franck Arnaud "@Man" Bob Haskins
Piotr T. Prussak Jennifer Davis Jester
Michael Lucas Pete Ashdown Peter Cigehn
Kevin "white law" Michael Gendreau

Last Modified: Apr 3, 1995