on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2011 17 Nov

Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats, or: the return of a classic

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Gute Musik,Musik vor 2011 | TB | Comments off

„When we are young we are a jungle of complications. We simplify as we get older“ (Graham Greene, aus: Der stille Amerikaner)

Dieses Jahr hat essentielle Wiederveröffentlichungen hervorgebracht, und darin kann man mehr sehen als das bloße Recyceln der Rockgeschichte. Die Smile Sessions der Beach Boys laufen eher unter „Ausgrabung“ und „Restauration“ als unter „Reissue“, die Dokumente von Miles Davies‘ Tour durch Europa anno 1967, unglaubliches Zeugnis einer Band, die immer die Grenzen testete statt den eigenen Sound zu kultivieren, sind einzigartig. Mickey Newburys „An American Trilogy“ öffnete einigen von uns die Ohren für einen einzigartigen Troubadour, den Bill Callahan auf „Apocalypse“ für seine Schattenarmee rekrutierte. Dann etliche spannende „Exotica“ des Jazzlabels „Impulse“ aus den 60er und 70er Jahren (Michael White, Alice Coltrane, Marion Brown u.a.), die noch heute manchem Mainstream-Veteranen das Fürchten lehren können! Juwelen von Grandaddy und Mercury Rev, die der Rockmusik eine neue Cinemascope-Version lieferten! Jetzt auch noch Cans „Tago Mago“ zum Vierzigsten, warum nicht!  Und Throbbing Gristle. O ja!

„I fell into this book like Alice down an unfathomable dark rabbit-hole. It reads like a riveting detective novel, so concisely has Daniel (AKA one half of Matmos) woven personal history (both TGs and his own), (un)reliable narration (thanks to the members of TG themselves, contradictory bastards the lot of them), close dissection (a forensic/anatomical tank being particularly appropriate with TG) and overarching pop-cultural critique…this tiny volume on only one album in the massive TG oeuvre situates the group so powerfully in the appropriate historical, personal, and musical contexts that I never wanted the book to end. It’s a vivid, revealing, and very personal work that is beautifully written from start to finish, and my favorite of the 33 1/3s so far. (Warped Reality Magazine)

Throbbing Gristle's Twenty Jazz Funk Greats (33 1/3)

(Diese Paperback-Reihe ist ausgewähten Klassikern der Rockhistorie gewidmet; Drew Daniels Buch gehört zu den Highlights der Reihe; Mountain Goats-Schöpfer John Darnielle steuerte ebenfalls ein feines Buch bei, über einen Meilenstein von – hört! hört! – „Black Sabbath“; das Buch über Brian Enos „Another Green World“ ist leider nicht so gut geraten.)  

At this point, Throbbing Gristle’s influence on modern music can’t be denied. Over 30 years ago, however, the idea of „industrial music“ and the links between Punk’s DIY ethos and knowingly confrontational performance art were anything but mainstream. Following TG’s first two albums, 1979’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats was a deliberate attempt to toy with the ideas behind marketing strategy and the purpose of musical genres. One can sense that the quartet felt more willing to indulge their predilections, and cared less about the band’s image. Featuring exotica (even using it as a song name), synth-pop motifs, and Kraftwerk-derived electronics, the album contains moments that could be confused with „friendly.“ The album’s kitschy photograph, showing the band in their finest ‘70s leisure-wear, is a perfect example — despite the pastoral look, the location, Beachy Head, was a well-known suicide point.

Bring You...20 Jazz Funk Greats

There’s little left to be said, really, about 20 Jazz Funk Greats after Drew Daniel’s book on the album — the Matmos member covers all of the details that anyone might want to know, from the front cover photograph to each individual song, and the album’s reception upon release. It’s a great read for anyone interested. Here’s the short of it: 20 Jazz Funk Greats didn’t fit in back in 1979; it still doesn’t today; and the smart money is on it staying that way. The electronic percussion should date it, and perhaps does slightly, but ultimately the morass of sound stands alone, unlike anything else before or since.

The crispness of the re-mastering represents a notable difference from the original, and it might be the only Throbbing Gristle release that sounds proper given such treatment. Clean rhythms, sparkling electronics, and — oddly — bursts of noise and mechanical creaks all sound distinct and shiny. From the reverb’d-to-infinity trumpet of the title track to the spikey shards of sound on „Still Walking,“ the tinkling bells of „Exotica“ and the perfectly-channeled Kraftwerk of „Walkabout,“ the album sounds…well, I’d say beautiful, but I’m not sure that word really applies to Throbbing Gristle. The ominous, doomed pulsing of „Persuasion“ and very modern-sounding guitar churn of „Six Six Sixties“ have had some edges honed without losing any of their dread.

Woran erkennt man eine gute Musikbesprechung: in diesem Fall z.B. an einem einfachen Satz wie„…well, I’d say beautiful, but I’m not sure that word really applies to Throbbing Gristle.“ Mason Jones beschreibt hier den Sound einer seiner Lieblingsplatten, erfreut sich an einem Zugewinn von Klarheit und Plastizität, ohne dass dadurch die Ursprungsqualität beeinträchtigt oder „aufpoliert“ wurde. Er ist in dieser Rezension mit  Sachkenntnis und Humor unterwegs, und wird einige Leser dieser Zeilen dazu anmieren, diese am Freitag erscheinende CD sofort ins Haus zu holen, oder sie, nach all den Jahren, wieder auf den Plattenteller zu legen. Diese Musikkritik macht hungrig auf Throbbing Gristle, und Lust auf eine Zeitreise. Und hiermit wurde eine neue Reihe bei den Manafonistas ins Leben gerufen: „commented reviews“. Weiter gehts so:

The reissue contains a live disc of performances from 1979, and hearing the band during its 20 Jazz Funk Greats period is a keen reminder of its performance intensity. The sinister mechanical pulse of „Convincing People“ sounds dank and dark, and the inclusion of „Five Knuckle Shuffle“ is a good one; Gen’s vocals are a bit loud in the mix, but the steamy chugging of the electronics is as affecting as ever. „What a Day“ has always had one of my favorite buzz-driven rhythms, and here they’ve added some particularly anarchic vocals. Two versions of „Discipline“ might be excessive, but it’s interesting to compare them, one from Manchester and one from Berlin.

It’s tempting to point out the way 20 Jazz Funk Greats‘s myriad musics have become ingrained in avant-garde circles during the past 30 years, but that might be giving it too much credit. I can’t confidently claim it’s had a tangible influence on any artist, simply because nothing else I’ve heard sounds anything like it. Having had 20 Jazz Funk Greats near the top of my record collection for so long, it’s difficult to step back and imagine anyone who hasn’t spent some time with it. But if you haven’t, now is the time.

Source: Dusted Magazine, Mason Jones

This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 17. November 2011 and is filed under "Gute Musik, Musik vor 2011". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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