X-Tg ‘Desertshore/The Final Report’ (Industrial Records)
2x Vinyl LP, 2CD, DL
Available now

Let me paint you a picture. Since the announcement of this release, myself and a few of my friends have been waiting in barely concealable excitement and anticipation to get our hands on it. I could fill a whole essay on the trials and tribulations we had getting hold of a copy in the record shop I work at. At one point, there were three of us hanging around just waiting for the delivery like it was Christmas day, or if we were ‘waiting for the man’. I have not felt a buzz like this about a release in many many years.

Why the excitement you ask?

Well, me and said friends are all massive fans of the band Throbbing Gristle. A band so unique, that it made you feel like part of a special club if you “got it”.

One of the main reasons for loving TG were the sounds created by muti-instrumentalist Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson. A multi-media expert who created his own instruments, directed many seminal music videos, and with the art company Hipgnosis, created many classic album covers for bands such as Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel.

Sadly, on the 10th November 2010, Sleazy passed away in his sleep at home in Thailand.

At the time of his passing, Sleazy was working with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti on the Desertshore project. The project was Sleazys’ idea, and it was to create a reinterpretation of the seminal Nico album using artists that they were fans and friends of.

After a live 3 day event, the group release the ‘Desertshore Sessions’ and now we get the album proper complete with a second disc, ‘The Final Report’ of tracks the group were working on before Sleazy passed.

So, with the vinyl in hand, I place it on the turntable, turn down the lights, put on the headphones and off I go…

Desertshore

Opening with the Gothic heartbeat of ‘Janitor Of Lunacy’ we get Antony singing over trumpets, synths, and industrial texture. This track is such an elegiac hymn and a beautiful opener. It transports the listener into a snow covered cemetery, beautiful yet bleak. A stunning opener.

‘Abscheid’ rolls along like a marching army fully aware of what the future holds for them when they reach their destination. German vocals by Blixa Bargeid add to the dread.

‘Afraid’ is where the album takes us into the true dark heart of the album. Off-kilter rhythms, random bursts of noise, and swampy sub-bass, give this track a feel of dread. When Sasha Grey comes in with her slightly behind the tune vocals, the track feels like industrial dub step.

‘The Falconer’ is a track of pure torch-song brilliance. Marc Almonds’ perfectly pitched vocals give this track a tortured hymn feel and, I believe, a slightly more mainstream edge. This should be released as a single!

‘All That Is My Own’ is where the TG fan will really get excited. Industrial, heavy, relentless, with a glorious Cosey Fanni Tutti vocal……Perfection!

‘Mutterlein’ and ‘Le Petit Chevalier’ (vocals by Gaspar Noe) continue in the same challenging vein. The true experimental side of Sleazy, Carter, and Tutti are most present on these tracks.

‘My Only Child’ brings things back with a more melodic edge. Cosey singing into the ear of the listener as if singing to her own child. Thoroughly beautiful.

‘Desertshore’ finishes the album off and what an end it is. Layer upon layer of vocals from numerous artists sends the album to its climax (the shore) with blissful, mournful, brilliance.

The Final Report

I am not going to do a track by track account of this LP. This album does not need me telling you how great it is. The album is more TG than ‘Desertshore’. Where Sleazy, Cosey, and Carter find these sounds

If you are a fan, you will not be disappointed, if you are new to the group and this is your first experience, I’m envious…

Sadly, in the music world, quite a few albums become ‘memorial’ pieces. ‘Closer’, ‘In Utero’, ‘The Holy Bible’ etc are always tied to the events surrounding the creation and the sad passing of a main contributor.

‘Desertshore/The Final Report’ serve as a stunning, dark, and beautiful epitaph for Sleazy and the band Throbbing Gristle themselves. With Gen concentrating upon Psychic TV and Carter and Tutti concentrating on their own projects (if you’ve not heard ‘Transverse’ (LTW review)by the duo and Nic Void yet then you seriously need to), this is most likely to be the end of an era for many music fans.

Throbbing Gristle were uncompromising, bleak, humorous, forward thinking, frustrating, and a basic thorn in a lot of peoples sides.

For this, we are eternally grateful……

 

All words by Simon Tucker. More of Simon’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here.

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