Throbbing Gristle.

by Tim Soter

I had the pleasure of seeing Throbbing Gristle play their first ever NYC performance a few nights ago.  Brief explanation, Throbbing Gristle, who formed in 1975 and last toured the US (West Coast only) in 1981, “pioneered industrial music; exploring death, mutilation, fascism, and degradation amid a thunderous cacophony of mechanical noise, tape loops, extremist anti-melodies, and bludgeoning beats, the group’s cultural terrorism.”

Genesis P. Orridge, the group’s transgendered front woman (front “being?”) is someone to truly admire.  I told a friend recently that when I think about what Genesis has achieved, everything that I do is something that has already been done.  And actually everything that most people do has already been done or is within a narrow preconceived space, relatively speaking.  Maybe that’s being overly dramatic and change occurs slowly, but when was the last time you were immersed in something that was beyond you, bigger than you.  Bigger than the way you think.  Broader than your capacity to imagine and then implement. That is not simply the sounds that Genesis (and friends) created but the entire path of living chosen by her.  Knowing that the body modification and cultural havok that she’s going to constitute will permanently alienate her from ninety percent of the population… and still continuing with fervor, is a new definition of bravery.  It’s personal for me because I’ve always struggled between a duality (not gender/sexual identity related) between who I am and who I present, as many of us do.  I feel there is an unprecedented unity to the interior and exterior of Genesis. It’s like wearing your head on your sleeve.

I encourage you to see them before they’re gone forever.

Below is an excerpt from the earlier set, the live score to the Derek Jarman’s 1974 film, ‘In the Shadow of the Sun.’  Performance at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, April 16, 2009.

THROBBING GRISTLE In the Shadow of the Sun score MP3 EXCERPT