Music – An Old Man Smiled (Live), Throbbing Gristle

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X-TG’s New and Final Albums

The Final Report of X-TG has been leaked onto youtube.

For some background, X-TG is an incarnation of Throbbing Gristle (who were at the forefront of the electronic noise scene in the late 70s and the founders of Industrial Records, for which the genre Industrial takes its name) sans Genesis P.Orridge, who quit the band in the middle of a tour. The remaining members continued on briefly as X-TG without P.Orridge until the untimely death of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson (also of Coil fame).

For awhile, I was a collector of all things TG and had amassed myself a pretty little collection, but lately have begun selling off chunks of it. Part of this comes from my own experience as an industrial musician who was involved in a spat with Genesis P.Orridge. My only real claim to fame was that Genesis P.Orridge very publicly shat all over my band’s facebook group, which was (though by no desire or inclination of my own) loosely TOPI affiliated. We were thus at the center of a (very) minor (and not the first) schism within TOPI, during which a handful of very active members of the online TOPI community very vocally left the ‘tribe’, condemning Genesis for her thought-policing and copyright of belief.

I, for one, have always kind of hated TOPY/TOPI and thought it was hella stupid, and circumstances proved my skepticism of Genesis and her fan-atics somewhat justified.

But I have nothing at all against any of the other members of TG; Cosey Fanni Tuti was actually an early fan of mine and offered some much needed encouragement early on in my music career. Considering that in every interview I’ve heard her say how much she hates all the bands that were coming up through myspace and claiming to be industrial, her private message telling me she liked my sound meant even more.

But all of that said, I’m just not ‘feeling’ TG anymore. And the Final Report of X-TG and the total rework of Desertshore are no exceptions. You listen to them, and immediately everything you expect of a TG ambient jam is there. And it is predictable. And if there’s anything that industrial/noise should not be, it’s predictable. The Final Report meanders and wanders like a ghost; in some ways, this is appropriate, because it’s the funeral march for one of the most varied and innovative musical bodies of the 20th century. TG, however, can be hit or miss, and this is a miss.

Most of the original Desertshore ended up recycled and thrown together into Third Mind Movements, with Gen’s vocals stripped out, so in some ways that album was a disappointment to someone who’d had the Desertshore Installation. But now the new Desertshore just sort of languishes on, like it’s strung out on heroin. Gen’s vocals, mediocre as they were, are superior to guest vocals, and both versions are inferior to the original gothic masterpiece by Nico.

You can judge for yourself.