1977, Music

The Second Annual Report (1977) by Throbbing Gristle

What do we do with this, the official debut of one of the most important industrial bands ever?

On the one hand, it’s poorly recorded and rather boring; the kind of thing that might have been revelatory had you seen it at an impressionable age in 1976 or 1977 but the kind of thing that does not hold up at all with age.

On the other hand, Throbbing Gristle in general and this record in particular are extremely important to the history of music, knocking down a door into a world of performance art electronic music played by amateurs, music that was so provocative some idiot politicians thought it would destroy Western Civilization.

Most of the tracks have the same names but are, to my ears, totally different from each other, just one of their numerous “fuck yous” at convention. If you’re not paying attention, it’s hard to distinguish much of anything.

This is the kind of music that is influential but not a pleasure to listen to. I find pretty much every other early industrial band to be more approachable and more interesting than these guys. I get that they’re important. I would like to celebrate them for being important, but this record is pretty boring, less interesting than the more violent, closer to “rock” industrial music of their contemporaries and less interesting than the electronic krautrock being made at the same time.

It’s still important, but you won’t enjoy it.

6*/10 *I don’t know

  1. “Industrial Introduction” 1:03
  2. “Slug Bait – ICA” (live) 4:18
  3. “Slug Bait – Live at Southampton” (live) 2:43
  4. “Slug Bait – Live at Brighton” (live) 1:17
  5. “Maggot Death – Live at Rat Club” (live) 2:47
  6. “Maggot Death – Studio” 4:32
  7. “Maggot Death – Southampton” (live) 1:34
  8. “Maggot Death – Brighton” (live) 0:57
  • Genesis P-Orridge – bass, clarinet, guitar, violin, vocals
  • Chris Carter – synthesizers, programming, mixing, photography
  • Cosey Fanni Tutti – guitar, liner notes, photography, vocals
  • Peter Christopherson – processing, tape, trumpet

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