Friday, 17 February 2017

Throbbing Gristle - Journey Through A Body (rec. 1981, first rel. 1982)

The final studio recording from TG's initial existence, Journey Through A Body was recorded in Rome over a week in March 1981 at the invitation of RAI radio studio, and released the following year, by which time of course 'the mission was terminated'.  In retrospect, and especially before the 2004-9 reunion, it became an intriguing what-might've-been had TG stuck around a few more years.

Kicking off with a fascinating 15-minute chunk of medical sound art that swapped the burns unit of Hamburger Lady for the maternity ward, the second track was more intriguing still.  Again with the benefit of hinsight, Catholic Sex (dedicated to the then 18-year-old Paula Brooking, who would become Mrs P-Orridge three months later) sounds like early Chris & Cosey fighting early Psychic TV to a draw and creating a strong, distinctive track in the process, proving that there could've been life yet in the parent band.

Cover from Mute CD reissue, 1993
The second half of Journey Through A Body, though, goes to perhaps the most uncharacteristic sonic plane of all, due to Chris Carter opting for acoustic piano throughout for perhaps the only time in his career (Certainly that I'm aware of; I haven't heard his & Cosey's entire ouput by a long chalk).  Exotic Functions wasn't that big a surprise for those who'd heard 20 Jazz Funk Greats, but what does make a difference is how sincere and fully-realised a Martin Denny tribute these mostly non-musicians managed to pull off this time around.  Violencia (The Bullet) sounds a bit more like traditional TG, but the crashing piano is still an oddity, as is the album's epilogue Oltre La Morte, presumably performed by Carter alone.  Would another album this good have been preferable to Heartbeat and Force The Hand Of Chance?  Who knows.  I'm still glad we have Dreams Less Sweet, though, by which time it might've definitely been time for the TG mission to be terminated.

"This record is dedicated to TG, now a terminated mission. It is also dedicated to the Vatican Gun Club and all 9 mm automatic users everywhere."
alt. link (zippy)

Previously posted at SGTG: In The Shadow Of The Sun

1 comment:

  1. T.G. along with SPK were my intro to industrial music. This I have not heard. Many thanks.