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Extreme Music – Michael Tau (2022)

An impulse purchase, but not a bad one. The author dove into different kinds of extremities within music and presents his findings in a 480 page book! Obviously, there is a lot of music that I do not know and there are also scenes that I never heard of.

The book starts with music with extreme sound, such as noise, goregrind, gorenoise, medicore, later going to ‘techno’ with things such as speedcore. In the beginning the sound and thematics run through each other a bit. You can read about people trying to make an extreme as possible sound (the epitome of which the author seems to see “harsh noise wall”, unchanging walls of distorted sounds). Also there are mentions of and interviews with artists with extreme visuals, band- and track titles (from medical encyclopedia for example). It is not all but shock value. Interesting in this part is techno in which the beats got so fast that they are no longer beats but tones which are then worked into music.

From loud sounds we go to silent music. There are artists who record nothing but the occasional plop or tick of amplifying equipment. In different parts of the world, bigger and unknown artists have experimented with silence.

Next up is lengthy music. There have been attempts to cram as much music on a medium (say: a 7″) as possible even if that means loss of sound quality. Boxes have been released with 500+ cds. Also pieces have been written to (ingeniously) last for 1.000 years and much, much longer. Some of these long pieces are actually performed.
Needless to say that short music is up next. From one-minute-tracks to numerous ‘tracks’ within one second. Also here there is a lot of variety in approach.

Leaving the music itself, Tau goes to carriers. All kinds of exotic carriers have been used. Debunked systems such as floppy disc labels, microcassettes, “lathe-cut” (cut your groves in a placemat or an x-ray photo), weird sizes (18″ or 2″ vinyl), even releases that you can only play if you also buy the equipment that allows you to listen to it, even wax cilinders are reused and made again.
Also there have been experiments such as putting liquid blood into a space within a vinyl record, miniature landscapes built on vinyl records, records made from chocolate or ice. Filed under “nontraditional” we encounter experiments with electric toothbrushes and “singing dolls”. The things people come up with.

Then we have the musicians who are not so much interested in using out-of-date formats, but making music with out-of-date means. “Chiptune” actually making music with hacked Commodore 64 computers or an ancient Gameboy. Taking this a step further you come to “Lobit”, music with a bitrate as low as possible, which of course limits the sound you can make. There is even “Lowrate” scene which produces music in as small files as possible.

Towards the end subjects such as “disgusting”, “body fluids”, damaged records, unplayable releases, elaborate packing, “anti-records” and “black midi” (a computer can play things a human cannot) are written about. A short chapter is about “outsiders”.

All in all a lengthy walk through the humongous world of non-traditional music. You can read about artists, labels, types of ‘music’ and what not, that you may have never heard about. There is -indeed- a lot to discover. There are only a handful of references to artists or releases that I know. Much is written about things that do not immediately appeal to me, but since Tau did a lot of interviews and has a nice, objective writing style, the book makes a book source of information if you want to find something out of the ordinary.

2022 Feral House, isbn 1627311246

Reden An Die Europäische Nation / Weapons Of Mass Instruction – Alexander Nym (2023)

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During the 2023 WGT the author/compiler of this book gave a lecture which was also a book presentation. The lecture was announced being about the NSK, the Neue Slowenische Kunst, an art collective that was co-founded by the band Laibach (the following lecture was strictly about Laibach). That much I knew. Much of what Alexander told was new to me though. I have never really followed Laibach and NSK even less so. NSK had an exhibition in the museum of modern art in my hometown in 2016, which I attended (but which is not mentioned in the book), which I attended, but apparently I did not pick up much of the idea behind it all.

In short. Laibach is the German name of the city of Ljubljana and the band was founded in 1980. The band name proved to be typical for Laiback from the start. Ljubljana is nowadays the capital of Slovenia but at the time this country did not exist as the region was part of Yugoslavia. So is the band name a form of ‘regionalism’? Provokingly the band chose the German version of the name of the city, a version that only the Nazis used during the WWII occupation of the region. The band also used a distinctive style for visuals. picking strong images from many different sources, but those that came from ‘contaminated’ sources caught the attention and it did not take long before authorities sought a way to forbid the Nazi band. The city dug up an old law and used it to forbid Laibach from using the German name of the city as a name.

With two like-minded groups of artists the project got the name “Neue Slowenische Kunst” which -again- ironically referred to a non-existing country. NSK had all kinds of provocative performances bringing them a rapidly raising star in the region and later also elsewhere in Europe.

Then in 1990, following the demise of Yugoslavia, there suddenly was a real state called Slovenia and NSK decided to rebrand themselves into “NSK State” or “NSK State In Time”. This still is a virtual state which in the course of time made their own passports, printed their own money, etc., but all as provocative works of art.

Nym describes a “toolbox” for the way NSK State has operated for several decades. This includes methods found in the global art scene, but in a broader context. So when Duchamps takes a toilet into a museum and calls it art, NSK uses such “ready makes” in the art and music, but taken from any field available, from art to politics and back. These “ready mades” are presented without comment and without context. You can understand that Laibach’s use of WWII (type) elements is frequently mistaken.
Another part of the toolkit is: take something and take it to the extreme. So when Laibach decides to use Das Kapital, the result will be an extremely developped form of Communism with the idea to get people thinking. This NSK members do with any type of politics, art, social current or whatever.

Now the part that I mostly missed before is that NSK has many art performances, exhibitions, etc. by (who are left of) the founders, but also of “citizens”. These events usually have some provocative theme and/or imaginary. The book under review is a massive collection (350 pages) with a wee bit of history, but mostly manifestoes, declarations, speeches, visuals and what not. Often this is quite political, but not in a ‘this is how things should be’, but more as in ‘did you ever notice that?’ approach. The virtual NSK State is meant to hold up a mirror mostly to Western society.

I understand the approach. I now also see how this might just have been the inspiration of provocative music and art expressions such as martial industrial, but many of the texts (the author had quite a few speeches) I only quickly scanned. Still, it is interesting to have more context.

Oh, I must say that the book is bilingual. Pages on the left are in German, pages on the right are in English, so you only have half of the 350 pages to read. Unless you want to read both versions of course. Also, the first 99 copies are hand stamped and numbered, so if you are quick…

2023 Edition Outbird, isbn 3948887489

Our Darkness: Gruftis und Waver in der DDR – Sascha Lange & Dennis Burmeister (2022)

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I bought this book while in Leipzig (Germany) during the 29th Wave-Gotik-Treffen. The authors have written more about subcultures and an idea became a book about gothic culture ‘behind the wall’ up until the first Wave Gotik Treffen to be presented at the 30th WGT. Covid-19 had two WGTs cancelled so here we are.

Lange and Burmeister have tracked down people involved in the early gruti and wave scenes in Eastern Germany. During interviews and their own experiences they paint a picture of a subculture under a repressive regime.

The East is of course the part of Europe that fell under Russian/Communist regime after WWII. The border ran right cross Germany. Western Germany was, well, Western. Eastern Germany not so. Of course there was no total isolation. There were people with family on the other side of the wall and especially in the divided city of Berlin, people could listen to Western radio for example. Along different ways a wee bit of the up and coming postpunk and wave music from the UK reached the Eastern German youth.

Particularly The Cure had a big influence, but also a band such as Depeche Mode. Eastern pop magazine and radios did not include these new and decadent forms of Western music, but some people found a way to gather some information and music, started to copy the outfits and hair dress and when such people met, a bit of a scene started to emerge.

Wave and gothic were two very different things and this may explain why the Leipzig festival is called Wave Gotik Treffen. The first WGT was a meeting of both scenes. Both scenes had their own clothing and hair and there could be no overlap. The separation of the youthful mind I suppose.

The book describes the hardships of the youth to be ‘grufti’ (a term that outsiders came up with referring to the liking of the youth for graveyards). Some is recognisable also for Western people who like such music, other things are typically Eastern. How do you get black cloths when the fashion is full of colour? Grandparents cloths and dying were the solution. How do you find music when everything is banned? How do you find similar people?

Over time “cliques” started to emerge and places where gruftis met. Other emerging youth cultures, especially extreme rightwing groups, caused problems for the goths. The police was not exactly helpful. School mates thought they were freaks. Yet people found each other, there rose a black market for posters, dubbed cassette tapes and what not. When the music became bigger in the West, there even started to appear radio shows and later concerts for wave.

Then there was a big show in Western Berlin that Easterners had wanted to attend, but were not allowed to. This led to protests during Whitsun, the very weekend that the WGT is been held for decades. Finally things move towards the removal of the wall, a Cure concert between the time of the fallen wall and the fallen DDR, Eastern and Western gruftis meeting, etc.

The book gives a nice insight into an interesting phenomenon. The authors light the subject from several angles. The youths are a bit presented as teenagers too much with singers being ‘idols’ and kids sleeping room walls with bands of their loved artists. The end is a bit in minor as well. The first WGT was not the first, but at the time the biggest meeting of different undergrounds. About 1000 people attended. The second edition was already much bigger (about 6000), but the ‘original goths’ already complained about things being too commercial, “weekend gruftis” and the like.

Anyway, much of anecdotes, many photos. A fun read.

2022 Ventil, isbn 3955751678

Fight Your Own War * Jennifer Wallis (editor) (2016)

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I have recently reviewed a few books about (extreme) industrial music and wondered why there is so little information about the German scene in them. To me it seems that German industrial culture has made (and still makes) a big mark on the industrial underground. Well, here we have a book with a title referring to Genocide Organ, so that is a good start.

Fight Your Own War: Power Electronics and Noise Culture is a collection of essays from a variety of authors and with a variety of subjects. After a foreword by Mike Dando (Con-Dom) and an introduction by the editor, we set of with The Genesis of power electronics in the UK. This is, of course, a historical view on early British power electronics with anecdotes. This is probably the better known part of the book, but we also get a similar insight in the Finish, Japanese and American scenes. In Japan noise seems to be experienced differently from Europe or America. There are essays more circling around one project or one person, but also one about the ‘zine culture.
The second part of the book is more focused on the experience of noise and power electronics. The texts here are about experiencing the music life, the shock tactics that are used, the making of these types of music, the development of the scene, etc.
The third part puts the stress on philosophy and ideas, or the lack of them, used many artists. Power electronics as comedy; but also texts more critical towards the scene such as the fiercely feminist text by Sonia Dietrich.

Fight Your Own War is informative, not specific to any part of noise music (not excluding noise rock for example) or a period in time (we go from the early days to 2015). There are reviews and reports of live events, but no interviews. The book is styled like a magazine of times past and makes a descent read. It seems to aim at a more academic level in approach. What stroke me as a bit odd, is the use the terms that appear to be established, but I never ran into them before. “HNW” (‘harsch noise walls’) and “ANW” (‘ambient noise walls’) to refer to certain styles of noise also written as “wall noise”. This appears to be a different style from what I calls “walls of noise”. I guess in Gangleri terminology “HNW”, and especially “ANW” would be “noisescapes” since both appear to be hardly changing sound collages.

Not every text is as interesting as the next, but it is nice to read how artists are either deliberately ambiguous or not at all, why some artists use the imaginary (on stage, in artwork, etc.) that they use, etc. the thought of the artist or the listener. It also becomes clear that listening to noise is something different from listening to ‘normal music’. Indeed you cannot say that you like noise because of the melodies or because of the interplay of the different instruments. You can even ask yourself if listening to noise is enjoyable. Is it a ‘pleasure received through pain’? Such notions are also dealt with in the book.

The book is certainly not an encyclopedia. Many projects are not mentioned and many just in passing. There are a whole lot of names that I never heard before though, nicely mentioned in the index at the end. I do not think that this is ‘the ultimate book about noise’, but it is certainly more varied in approach than other books that I read, so in that regard it may be the best so far if you want to get an idea not just about the music and its history, but also about the artists and the listeners.

2016 Headpress, isbn 1909394408

Noise/Music A History * Paul Hegarty (2007)

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The author is “a Lecturer in Philosophy and Visual Culture” in Ireland. Also he has a label (Dot Dot Dot Music) and he “occasionally performs in the noise “bands” Safe, and Working With Children.” He writes books about music and about philosophy.

In the current title you will find many references to philosophers such as Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Georges Bataille and more. Also, the term “noise” is not used in the same way as I use it on this website, to refer to a specific kind of (industrial) music. For Hegarty “noise” can be anything from consciously playing with the listeners’ expectations, to intentional ‘mistakes’, to unruly ‘messages’ (or the lack of them) to sounds that are unpleasant. Therefor the book is not just about industrial music.

The book has chapters about early musical experimentations, jazz music, rock music, industrial music and hiphop and then more in depth about the scene in Japan and then Merzbow in particular. The last chapters are about sound-art and about sampling. The author knows a massive amount of bands and projects, largely unknown to me (except for in the chapters about industrial). He discusses the (possible) functions of noise in music and the different ways of making noise. Somewhat generally speaking, the book is about the history of experimental and avant-garde music. It is not always clear how one type of music ‘grew’ from another, but I can say that the book will teach you a bit about the context where much of the music reviewed on this website can be placed in.

2007/2015 Bloomsbury, isbn 0826417272

England’s Hidden Reverse * David Keenan (2003/2016)

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I knew about this book because it was (is?) high up the wish-list of a few friends. It has been out of print for ages and has long been up for a reprint. I was reminded about it because it is advertised in the back of “Industrial Evolution“. That book is about Cabaret Voltaire, but it also describes the foundation of SAF Publishing who published the first version of “England’s Hidden Reverse” in 2003. That print is now exchanging hands for preposterous prices. By the time I was reminded of the title, I had no problem of getting the Strange Attractor Press reprint for a descent price.

The book is subtitled “A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground” which suggests (to me at least) that the focus may not be entirely on music. That is not really the case though. You will learn something about the (developing) interests of the people described, but the focus is by far mostly the music.
Amazon lists a first-print hardcover with has “Coil-Current 93-Nurse with Wound” in the title. There -indeed- you have the main players of the book. The book is mostly built on inderviews with David Tibet (mostly known for Current 93), (ex-)members of Coil (John Balance, Drew McDowall, Ossian Brown, Peter Christopherson, Stephen Thrower) and people involved in Nurse With Wound (Steven Stapleton, Andrew Liles, Heman Pathak, John Fothergill). Also people like Genesis P-Orridge, William Bennett, Douglas Pearce and Rose McDowell have been interviewed along with (ex-)partners of the ‘main characters’.

The book has a bit of an odd style. It is divided into chapters, but within these chapters the different alinea can suddenly be about another person, so you are reading about the youth of David Tibet and the next thing you know you are reading about John Balance. The content is often very personal. The interviewees talk about their lives, dreams, drug experiments, addictions, relations and sex-lives. Of course you will also learn a lot about the musical development of the people involved. What and who influenced them? How did they get to know all the people they collaborated with?

The result shows a rather diffuse net (or “family”) of people who grow towards eachother and apart again, who live together and split up again and of course: who sometimes make music together. This “family” also consists of other kinds of artists such as writer William S. Burroughs or director Derek Jarman.

“England’s Hidden Reverse” makes a nice read with people with broad interests in all kinds of fields, whose personalities develop (like Tibet from a shadowy occultist to a Buddhist to a Chritian and who started making electronic (noisy) music and would shift towards a more folky sound). Especially numerous names of vague bands and projects are mentioned, forgotten releases and many, many albums of the mentioned projects that I never heard.

It would have been nice had the book lived up a bit more to my expectation based on the subtitle. Here and there you get a glimpse of the philosophy of some person, the weird rituals that they performed, the authors that they are interested in and the way they meet musicians because of a shared interest in (for example) Crowley. Speaking of Crowley, there are some odd family ties to him for more than one person in the book. These occult, esoteric, philosophical and religious sides of the people involved are usually just mentioned in passing and nowhere goes into any depth.

My conclusion would be that this book is mostly of interest of people curious about the musical (and to a certain extend personal) development of the members of “family” around Current 93, Coil and Nurse With Wound. For a peek into the ‘occult underground’ you may need to find another title.

2003 SAF Publishing, 2014 Strange Attractor Press, isbn 0946719403

Industrial Evolution * Mick Fish (2002)

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During the 25th Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig (2016) Loki-Found decided to not rent a 2 metre stand at the Agra market, but a cellar somewhere in the city: a “pop-up store”. There my eye fell on a book with “Cabaret Voltaire” on the cover, so I thought: “A book about early industrial, interesting” and took it home.

There is a long story to this book. The author is a weirdo living in London. However he went to university, his interests mostly laid in drinking a lot of beer and talking about strange music, such as punk which had its peak halfway the 1970’ies. When he saw an announcement of a concert of Throbbing Gristle, Fish expected this to be a punk band and he rattled up some friends to check it out. “TG” proved to be something wholly different: electronic noise terrorism. He did not even know if he liked it or hated it, but lateron he came to think that this sort of music could well be ‘the next thing’.

One of Fish’ drinking buddies moved to Sheffield to study. “Paul” (Widger) would grow into the upcoming experimental Sheffield scene and would later become involved in Clock DVA. Travelling to Sheffield often, Fish also got involved in the Sheffield scene and became friends with “Mal” (Stephen Mallinder) and the rest of Cabaret Voltaire. “The Cabs” were more Fish’ taste than TG, but he and his buddies started to dive into the world of industrial and experimental electronic music.

Cabaret Voltaire set off in 1978 and already a few years later Fish took up the idea to write a book about them. This would take another couple of years and in a way, “Cabaret Voltaire, the art of the sixth sense” is the basis of the current book, since the first book was reworked once and would become a wholly different book for the third version. Whereas the original book really was a book about Cabaret Voltaire, lateron Fish not only wrote about “through the eighties with Cabaret Voltaire” (as the subtitle goes), but also his own life and his occupation (“and the local government” as the subtitle ends on some websites), as the got an occupation in the local government and remained more than a decade between his weird colleagues. This results in a strange book with a chapter about Fish himself and then a chapter about music, etc.
Fish shows himself to be a fanatical consumer of beer. Lateron he starts to use different kinds of drugs and describes how this heavily influenced his life. With a lot of humour and a lively style we follow a strange guy tumbling into a strange musical world about which he can be both praising and critical (he does not spare “The Cabs” either). He also describes his own musical efforts, how he the book came to be and how he became a publisher. Of course you also learn about the early experimental music scene in the UK and a bit the USA.

I learned a few things too. The upcoming experimental scene did not so much come after punk, but (almost) simultaneously. Also, it seems that the UK may have been earlier experimenting with extreme electronic music than the “no wave” scene in New York. Brian Eno might have been the person to bring over the virus.

When you like reading about early experimental music, this is a nice book to get. Also to get an idea of the strange days of the 1980’ies under Tatcher seen through the eyes of a person with a somewhat hippie upbringing.

2002 SAF Publishing, isbn 0946719462

Written In Blood * Mindaugas Peleckis (2015)

I am not completely sure how Numen Books came to publish this book. It is a collection of interviews that Peleckis did, mostly with musicians. I cannot say what period the interviews span. Initially I had the idea that Peleckis was a youngster interviewing band for some website, but the man is actually as old as myself and he has published more books. Peleckis is from Lithuania (but lives in London?) and this is his first book in English. I think there are other interviewers whom I would prefer to collect their interviews and publish them in a book.

Most interviews are not too interesting. Peleckis tends to ask the same questions over and over again. This is perhaps not so noticeable on a website, but when you read a book with interviews, it can be quite sad. “Could you please tell me about your main influences. What books, music, films and other things impress you?” Almost every person, no matter from what background gets the question: “What do you think about the thousands of World Music / Neofolk / Industrial / Ambient / Tribal / Electroacoustic / Avant-garde bands/projects? Is it a kind of trend, or just a tendency toward better music?” Or what about: “When I first heard your music, it impressed me so much I still can’t forget the impression.” Every person’s who is interviewed who has written a book, this book is “revolutionary”. And not to forget: “The sound is magic. You’ve proved it. But what ends when there’s no sound?”
With just a handfull of questions, the length of the interviews depend on how much effort the artist put in it. Some only give two-line answers, some complete epistles. This does result in a few nice to read interviews. Patrick Leagas gives his view on the early days of Death In June. Robert Taylor a nice lecture on Asatru. Peter Andersson (Raison d’Être) gives a peek into his soul.
There musicians that I know, but many that I never heard of. Many of them seem to be “sound artists”, others doom or stoner metal artists, even a group that makes music with vegetables. The variety of people involved is a merit to the book. The biggest surprise to me is Alexander Dugin, the controversial Russian thinker, who does not really come out too well from the interview. I do not know if the interviews are presented chronologically, but the last artist, Z’ev, is about the only person who has an answer to the “when there is no sound” question. What what answer. What a guy!

“Written In Blood” is an alright read, but not much more than that. If one of the artists involved interests you and (s)he happens to have been in the mood to give some proper answers, the book could be a good buy. More out of general interest, I could say that you can just buy it, put it somewhere and read an interview every now and then like you would when you follow Peleckis’ website.

2015 Numen Books, isbn 0994252560

Death In June, Verborgen Unter Runen * Aldo Chimenti (2012)

While in the Grassi Museum in Leipzig during the 2015 edition of the Wave Gotik Treffen, my eye fell on this massive book about Death In June for what seemed to be a very reasonable price. However I am not a huge fan of Death In June, I was curious enough to bring back home the book to read the story of Douglas Pearce and his friends.

The book was originally written in Italian. The German translation was published two years later. The original edition has the notorious ‘death’s head’ logo on the cover (the ebook version even more clearly). My guess is that that cover on the German edition would lead to the book being banned like some of Death In June’s albums. It looks like there is no English translation. This immediatly makes me wonder: did Douglas give his interviews in English and were his answers first translated to Italian and then again to German? I certainly would have preferred to read the man’s answers in his native tongue. What is more, the German in the book already does not always seem too good to me, but some Germans confirm this. This already starts with the title. The Italian title is Death In June, a l’ombre des runes which (I think) means “in the shadows of the runes” rather than “hidden below runes”. Perhaps the German title make a little wordplay with the Hagakure that Pearce seems to love.

Chimenti proves to be a big and longtime fan of the band. This is often quite annoying, because everything the band does is brilliant and everything that can be explained negativelly is incorrect. (Towards the end the publisher of the German edition felt to need to correct Chimenti on a few occasions.) Even everything people did who at some point worked with Douglas Pearce seems to be idolised. This makes the book too praising and uncritical to me.Read More »Death In June, Verborgen Unter Runen * Aldo Chimenti (2012)

Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music * S. Alexander Reed (2013)

A while ago I was ‘in between books’. I had finished the ones I was reading and the ones I had ordered had not yet arrived. A friend just mentioned a few titles about industrial music and “Assimilate” proved to be available for my ereader. That is buy and start reading, very convenient.

Reed makes interesting remarks about early industrial musicians who were inspired by experimental classical music, free jazz and art movements such as Futurism. Experimental electronic music dates back further than I expected. The style and ethics of early industrial music are pretty much the same as they are today. Shock value in sound and appearance, ambivalent messages, anti-modernism, it was already there around 1975 and beyond. Reed continues describing the early scenes of Northern England, Berlin and San Francisco and the way early artists and labels were in contact: tapetrading.

Slowly industrial, in Reed’s view, would shift more towards pop when the music went from unstructured experimentations to songs with structure and refrains, beats and the like (the upcoming of subgenres like EBM).

Part IV is about industrial politics. Interesting is Reed’s approach to imaginary and (alledged) politics of industrial. All of which is ambivalent on purpose, more to shock the audience and make it think than to portray a clear message. When the author writes about the ‘whiteness’ of the industrial scene (and he comes back to this several times later on), I get the idea that Reed theorises too much. He likes to make references to the hiphop scene, but nowhere does he say that this is primarily a ‘black thing’. Is this because these scenes are afraid of ‘the other’ or simply because (of cultural background?) not many coloured people like industrial and not many caucasians hiphop?

Towards the end of his book, Reed seems to be ‘over-theorising’ more and more. Does music indeed try to change the world? Do industrial musicians, their labels and their audience seek to alter world using this particular form of art? Should industrial music have to update its message and, for example, target current criseses to remain ‘relevant’? Reed suggests several times that making and listening to industrial music could indeed be simply for pleasure (masochistic or not), but he keeps insisting on the message of the music for the world. Does Reed think that blood-and-gore deathmetal bands or anti-christian black metal bands have a ‘larger plan’? What is the message of the rockabilly or the psychobilly scene where the lyrics are often about booze and women? And what about the empty popmusic which only seems to be about hedonism?
To speak for myself, the first reason for listening to music is simply because I like it. Industrial music can make an atmosphere that I enjoy whether this is dark or downright violent. I do prefer bands which (seem to) have something to say over empty lyrics about nothing, but it is not like I am looking for the ‘real’ message of albums or try to unravel the artists’ ideologies. Neither do I mind if an artist (seems to) have ideas opposital to my own.

The biggest downpart about the book is that Reed almost exclusively concentrates on the popular side of industrial music. When the style became known, industrial grew bigger than I ever thought. After this first wave came more accessible styles such as synthpop and EBM and rock-oriented bands like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. Coming closer to the current, we are reading about Skinny Puppy, Covenant and Apoptygma Berzerk while subgenres like neofolk and martial industrial are only touched upon. What is more, Tesco and Cold Meat Industry are only mentioned in passing and there is nothing about Genocide Organ (first release 1989), Anenzephalia (1991) and the whole scene around Tesco, CMI, Cylic Law, Steinklang, Cold Spring, Malignant and a range of smaller labels that still offer extreme electronic music. It is like Reed missed the complete current underground.

The author has another strange trait, but this one is positive. Sometimes he drops into ‘technical mode’ and starts to analyse the music himself. This goes from simple explanations about why music made with certain machines like it does, to complete analyses of rhythm, melody and song structure. These elements may make the book interesting to people who make electronic music themselves and/or those who are more generally interested in early electronic music.

Not the book that will answer all your questions, certainly not about the current underground. Still a nice read about how it all came to be though.

2013 Oxford University Press, isbn 0199832609