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‘This Ain’t the Summer of Love,’ the proto-punk screamer covered by BÖC and Current 93
04.28.2017
09:20 am
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The sleeve of the Imperial Dogs’ lone single
 
Don’t let the unemployment office tell you rock merch is a waste of money. If I hadn’t purchased my hook of Kronos T-shirt at a Blue Öyster Cult gig, I never would have met Don Waller, the LA rock writer and singer in the Imperial Dogs. Waller, who died last November at 65, approached me on the patio of the Echoplex during a Mudhoney and White Flag show a few years ago—also the last time I spoke to the late, great Bill Bartell, a fellow BÖC fanatic—and identified himself as the author of “This Ain’t the Summer of Love.” He was a lovely guy, something to bear in mind when you get to the bottom of this post and Don is in front of a reversed swastika flag, addressing a seventies Long Beach audience as “trash” and “fucking scum.”

Fifty years after the fact, this is a song whose time has come. Has it ever felt less like the Summer of Love?
 

 
The Imperial Dogs’ 1974 version of “Summer of Love” is quite different from Blue Öyster Cult’s 1976 recording, on which Waller shares writing credits with BÖC drummer Albert Bouchard and producer Murray Krugman. According to Bouchard’s account in Blue Öyster Cult: Secrets Revealed! the reasons for BÖC’s changes to the song are not particularly heartwarming:

Basically, I gotta be honest, I really didn’t have much to do with that song. I wrote the melody. A guy named Don Waller wrote some of the lyrics. He had actually just sent the lyrics to Murray Krugman and Murray said, ‘Well, this sucks, but it’s a great idea.’ He had the first line about the garden of Eden. I don’t think he even had the part about no angels above. And Murray said this is a great idea and he came to me and said we should use this, and we should use the chord progression of this song by this Irish group that nobody had ever heard of. It was this Irish Republican Army group and they were very radical. You know, in the beginning days of punk, and it had some line like ‘You be pulling your grenade pin, I’ll be pulling mine’ and it was a real tough kind of thing. I took that and filled out the chords to make it a whole song. Murray really wrote all the lyrics, and I mean, he had a lot to do with that song. But it wasn’t his riff, and it wasn’t mine either. Legally you can take a riff from somebody as long as when it goes to the chord change, you don’t go to the same chord change.


 
Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.28.2017
09:20 am
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Members of Crass, the Pop Group, Killing Joke, PiL, and Current 93 are the New Banalists Orchestra


 
Mark Stewart titled the 2012 solo album he made with Kenneth Anger, Richard Hell, Tessa Pollitt, Keith Levene, Gina Birch, Factory Floor, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Youth, et al. The Politics of Envy. A proper dialectician, he prepared the way by singing about the “Envy of Politics” on 2011’s Mammon, a six-track digital album by London’s New Banalists Orchestra.

The orchestra appears to be the musical component of the New Banalists group founded by Stewart and the artist Rupert Goldsworthy. The Bandcamp page says only that the New Banalists “formed an orchestra to proclaim [their] manifesto”—which is refreshingly concise, as manifestos go, and seems to be slightly different in each iteration:

TASTE IS A FORM OF PERSONAL CENSORSHIP.
DENY THE POLITICS OF ENVY
TECHNIQUE IS A REFUGE OF THE INSECURE
SHADOW WAR

 

Rupert Goldsworthy and Mark Stewart’s beautiful logo for the New Banalists
 
On Mammon, Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine of Crass, John Sinclair of the White Panther Party and the MC5’s management, David Tibet of Current 93, and Zodiac Mindwarp (“The trick is to tough it out, sailor”) of the Love Reaction espouse a bohemian, psychedelic anticapitalism over music by Youth of Killing Joke and Michael Rendall, some of which will sound familiar to fans of Hypnopazūzu. Ex-PiL guitarist Keith Levene and the late cannabis kingpin Howard “Mr. Nice” Marks are on there, too.

After the jump, watch the ad for Mammon and then stream the whole thing…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.03.2017
08:40 am
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A half-hour version of Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death’ celebrates 30 years of ‘Reign in Blood’
10.13.2016
09:46 am
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Reign in Blood, released on October 7, 1986, is the thrash album, and its first track “Angel of Death” is the Slayer song. The lyrics of “Angel of Death” concern the unspeakable deeds of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, but I believe the real subject of the song is Tom Araya’s opening scream: an announcement that the Lord of Misrule is back from summer vacation, “shred-ready,” and about to make some total posers eat his dust. A call to mayhem, its effect on a crowd is instantaneous. Dropping the needle on side one of Reign in Blood can transform your garden party from a summer idyll into a hellscape of exploding crockery, crushed sandwiches, and arterial geysers of tea toot sweet.

Having thrown this number into a few DJ sets at bars, I can tell you that patrons enjoy it a lot more than management does. Its signal to kill and destroy emboldens the laborer and frightens the capitalist. Maybe this is a distinctly Southern California phenomenon. In these parts, when one is behind the wheel of one’s Japanese sedan and “Angel of Death” comes out of the speakers, one simply knows to start shrieking, floor the accelerator, and close one’s eyes (or, I suppose, if you are a person of wealth, whimper, pull onto the shoulder, and call for help).

Thirty years is a long time to be conditioned. By now, reaction to this stimulus is involuntary and probably unconscious, too. I’m not sure what my own Pavlovian response would be if I were at a loved one’s funeral and “Angel of Death” came on, but I would not be surprised to find myself whacking my late friend’s body against a load-bearing wall when the music ended and the fog lifted.
 

 
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Reign in Blood, the musician and producer Andrew Liles has created a 30-minute version of this monster song. The original was only 4:52. A simple calculation will demonstrate that your new best friend Andrew Liles just made “Angel of Death” six times better for free. It’s the latest in what Liles calls an “ad hoc series of massive extensions of classic tracks.” Like his previous creations, “45 Minutes of Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath for 45 Years” and the Motörhead tribute “Overkill Overkilled by Overkill,” the extended “Angel of Death” is longer than the album on which it first appeared. I can’t help you interpret Liles’ main addition to the track, a female vocalist speaking in German. A non-Germanophone, I can only make out the part where she’s saying “Angel of Death” over and over; as far as I know, the rest of what she’s saying is as likely to come from Sing mit Heino as Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS.

Hear it after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.13.2016
09:46 am
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Number 666: The Aleister Crowley issue of Flexipop!


 
I learned many things during my recent conversation with David Tibet (Current 93 and related projects) and Youth (Killing Joke, the Orb, the Fireman, Brother Culture, Pink Floyd, et al.) about their fabulous new album as Hypnopazūzu. One of these was that during the early 80s, a British pop magazine had, at Tibet’s urging, numbered its final issue 666 and put Aleister Crowley on the cover. Tibet had written the cover story, too, about the Beast and his influence on pop musicians.

Both Youth and Tibet seemed to think the magazine in question was Smash Hits, but in fact Flexipop! was the one that employed Mark Manning/Zodiac Mindwarp as art editor and concluded with the Crowley issue. Though I wasn’t there, Flexipop! seems much hipper than Smash Hits from my vantage point: Every issue came with a flexi disc, and alongside the shit (and not) pop stars of the day, they profiled quality bands like the Birthday Party, Pigbag, Motörhead, Bauhaus, and Killing Joke (Youth dropped his pants in the pages of No. 19).

Having reached the kabbalistically significant number 32 with their second-to-last issue in June 1983—featuring both Killing Joke sans Youth and Brilliant, Youth’s new band with Jimmy Cauty—Flexipop! made a daring editorial decision at its perch atop the Tree of Life. For the cover of their valedictory number, instead of Paul Young or Sting, they took a chance on this fresh-faced, golden-voiced up-and-comer with a song in his heart and an Enochian key on his lips.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.29.2016
08:28 am
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Current 93’s David Tibet and Killing Joke’s Youth discuss their first album as Hypnopazūzu


David Tibet’s cover for Create Christ, Sailor Boy
 
My main impression of Create Christ, Sailor Boy is of its grandeur—not so much in the sense that it’s musically fancy, but more that it has the dignity and courage of a bravura theatrical performance. Where recent Current 93 records have presented David Tibet’s voice as vulnerable, or naked, on Hypnopazūzu’s first release he sings out, summoning a voice he acknowledges he hasn’t used much before, if at all. Youth’s sound-world draws it from him: Here, that means the mad scientist of Space Mountain is using a psychedelic orchestra of strings, bells, horns, synths, tamburas and God knows what else to play compositions that draw equally on 20th-century art music and raga-rock. But all you really need to know is that the album is gorgeous and moving, for which reasons I hereby declare Hypnopazūzu “the hottest new group of 2016.”

Tibet and Youth are two of my musical heroes, as my long-suffering friends will attest; to ride in my car is to enjoy Youth’s Killing Joke in Dub and Current 93’s Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain at high volume. So when I learned of Hypnopazūzu, I immediately began writing sweaty-handed emails to their publicist.

This is Tibet and Youth’s first collaboration since Youth played bass on Current 93’s first LP, Nature Unveiled, released in 1984. (Get the Andrew Liles remix before they’re all gone.) Since the last person I interviewed for Dangerous Minds, Little Annie, also appeared on C93’s debut, I started by asking about that 32-year-old apocalypse.

(When they weren’t busy kicking members of Hypnopazūzu off the conversation, Skype gremlins were hard at work garbling Tibet’s bons mots. I had to resort to “[inaudible]” more than once.)
 

 
Dangerous Minds: Coincidentally, the last person I interviewed was Little Annie. So I feel I ought to bring up Nature Unveiled, since I’ve now spoken to so many of the participants in the session. What do you remember about it?

David Tibet: Me, or Youth?

Both of you, since you both participated.

Youth: Let David go first, because it’s his album, really, that I guested on.

Tibet: Well, that’s a shame, because I’d always thought of it as Youth’s album, and I’d wanted to put it out as Youth, featuring me.

Youth: [laughs] I remember the studio in Shepherd’s Bush.

Tibet: Yeah, the studio was a really weird place. It was called IPS, as in “inches per second,” and it was run by a guy called… Pete. Pete something. And the odd thing about it was, Steve Stapleton from Nurse With Wound used to work there, and when I became friends with Steven, he said, “Oh, come and join Nurse With Wound and come down to this studio.” So I went down there. It was in the basement. And we worked there for years. Steve actually had—I think it was Wednesday—every Wednesday booked for something like [inaudible] years in advance, we would go down there on Wednesday. And then the last time I went down there, just before it closed, all the sewers had backed up, and so there was urine everywhere, and other stuff which I didn’t choose to identify. But it was a great studio.

But the bizarre thing is that I was down there getting things ready for Youth, and there was a guy in the studio, working there. And he said, “Oh, what are you doing?” And I said, “I’m working on a new album; I’m waiting for my friend to come down.” And it was Jaz [Coleman], from Killing Joke.

Youth: That’s right! He was walking out as I was walking in. [laughs]

Tibet: It was a time when Youth wasn’t, uh—well, you had—

Youth: I’d left the band, yeah.

Tibet: —you’d left the band, and you were very uncomplimentary about [each other]. But I didn’t know who he was at first, because I thought you said he was working [in] jazz. [inaudible] And I thought, Oh, that sounds horrible.

Youth: There was some serendipity.

Tibet: [laughs] It was just bizarre, looking back. But Youth and I met, I think—it must have been through Kris Needs, mustn’t it?

Youth: And Mark Manning, Zodiac.

Tibet: I think I met Mark through Kris, or Kris through Mark, and then I met Youth. And we used to go clubbing.

Youth: I was sharing a coach house with Kris at the time.

Tibet: You were! Yeah.

Youth: And we were all going down to the Batcave. And also, I’d just done this album with Ben Watkins on Illuminated, The Empty Quarter, just around that time. And Zed had done the artwork; Zed had been doing the layout for Smash Hits. Weren’t you doing something for Smash Hits as well, David?
 

Youth and Ben Watkins’ The Empty Quarter
 
Tibet: Yes. Oliver, Zed is Mark Manning, became Zodiac Mindwarp, and that’s who Youth means, I believe, as Zed.

Youth: Yeah.

Tibet: I wrote an article on Crowley for them.

Youth: That’s right! The Crowley edition. They had Crowley on the front cover of this pop magazine.

Was there a special issue of Smash Hits?

Tibet: It was their last issue, and I said “It has to be number 666.”

Youth: [laughs]

Tibet: And it had an interview, I remember, I think in that same issue, with, there was a band called—oh gosh, what were they called? They were a new goth band or positive punk or something, and the guy who was interviewed was interested in Crowley. And then they spoke about somebody that had been killed who was interested in Crowley, who was knocked over in a car accident, and they said to the guy, “What do you think about that?” And he said: “Well, it’s love under wheels.” Which I thought was pretty funny, but I can’t remember the name of the band.

Youth: Good name for a band.

Tibet: Yeah. That’s how Youth and I met. Then I said to Youth, “I’m doing my first album,” and Youth probably looked at me and said, “Who are you again?” And I said, “I’m a friend of yours; we go clubbing, and doing other things that go with clubbing, together.” And then he kindly came down and played amazing bass, and Annie was there swearing in Spanish, and then Youth and I didn’t see each other for… 30 years or so.

Youth: Yeah. That’s right. But I did know who you were, because Zed had been hanging around Sleazy, he’d had his penis pierced by Sleazy and was hanging around the Psychic TV clique of people. There were interesting, alchemizing scenes at the time that were all coming together, and weirdly enough, the Batcave was one of the nexus points. Not just for goths and punks, but also the emerging New Romantics and electronic scenes that were bouncing up. And—

Tibet: It was the guy from Doctor and the Medics. Was it Clive?

Youth: Oh, that was Alice and Wonderland, wasn’t it. That came after the Batcave.

Tibet: Then that was Olli from the Specimen.

Youth: Yes, yes, yes.

Tibet: ‘Cause they got loads of bands to play there. I mean, I saw the Jesus and Mary Chain there before they were—I think that was the same show that Alan McGee saw which made him want to sign them.

Youth: At the Batcave?

Tibet: Yeah, definitely.

Youth: Really? I don’t remember that. But I do remember the club was more based around DJs than bands, with Hamish and Sex Beat. It would go on until two in the morning, so the DJs carried on. It was the dance floor in that club where I thought, this is the sort of beginning of indie dance, really. There was a real special chemistry and alchemy going on there. Lots of ideas came out of that place, and Alice in Wonderland, actually. There’s a new Derek Ridgers book, actually. You know Derek, the photographer who was around those clubs all the time?

Tibet: No, I don’t remember that, no.

Youth: He always looked a bit straight, and he had a beard, but he was doing everything—the S&M clubs, everything. And he’s got a new book out where there’s pictures of me and Zed, I think you might even be in it, from the Batcave in those days.

Tibet: No, I don’t remember him at all. I do remember it wasn’t Sleazy that pierced Zed, it was Mr. Sebastian.

Youth: Ah.

Tibet: Because recently I got a lot of footage of Mr. Sebastian in action. And I was hoping Zed would be there, because I remember, I was actually down there when Zed was pierced—

Youth: Really!

Tibet: But yeah, the footage wasn’t there. There was other footage, which I’ll be releasing soon if people don’t [inaudible] making huge amounts of money.

Youth: Did he have a semi-chub on, or was it just flaccid?

[laughter]

Tibet: I can’t remember! I was young; I was too busy admiring myself in the mirror, probably.

Youth: Zed’s got a legendarily big dick, goes down to his knee.

Tibet: I heard about that, and Sleazy told me about that, but I—

Youth: I gone on holiday with Zed, the first time he’d ever been on a plane, and I took him to Formentera in Ibiza when we were 21. And we woke up on this nudist beach, totally naked, and the ring in his cock had heated up in the sun [laughs] and he’s fallen asleep and woken up in agony.

And then he had these eagle wings coming out the top of it, tattooed, right? So he’s coming out of the sea with his snorkel and flip-flops, with massive dick dangling between his knees, his eagle wings and a big ring hanging out of it—and all these German families just gathered their children and ran to the other end of the beach. [laughter]

Tibet: Those were the days.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.13.2016
12:22 pm
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When Tiny Tim met Current 93, Nurse With Wound, and ‘the Antichrist’
08.12.2016
09:24 am
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Cover art for Tiny Tim’s Songs of an Impotent Troubadour by Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound

Another one of those things they don’t teach you in school: Current 93 and Nurse With Wound collaborated with Tiny Tim on a song called “Just What Do You Mean by ‘Antichrist’?”

David Tibet’s Durtro label released a few Tiny Tim albums. The first of these was Songs of an Impotent Troubadour, a career-spanning collection of solid gold Tiny Tim hits like “I Used To Love Jessica Hahn, But Now I Love Stephanie Bohn,” “Santa Claus Has Got the AIDS This Year,” and “She Left Me with the Herpes.” “Just What Do You Mean by ‘Antichrist’?” ended the album; it consisted mostly of those TG-style glissandi that make your intestines cramp a bit, laid over a tape collage of Tibet and Tiny’s phone conversations about the latter’s bizarre eschatological views.
 

Cover for the Durtro release of Tiny Tim’s Christmas Album
 
The definitive book about the Coil, Current 93, and Nurse With Wound gang, England’s Hidden Reverse, reports that Tiny Tim’s crackpot opinions about gay people provided the occasion for a break between Tibet and his close friend, Douglas P. of Death in June:

Not everyone in the Current circle swooned before Tiny Tim’s bigheartedness. Douglas Pearce took his views on homosexuality as an excuse to irrevocably cut all ties with Tibet, on the grounds that friendship with both Tiny Tim and himself was incompatible.

Tibet had become obsessed with Tiny Tim in the mid-90s after listening to his work on the recommendation of Boyd Rice. And it was Rice who suggested Tibet call Tiny up:

On Rice’s suggestion, Tibet made contact through Big Bucks Burnett, who ran Tiny Tim’s fan club. To his surprise, Burnett suggested that Tibet call Tiny right away, as he loved to talk on the phone. It was the start of a beautiful long distance telephone relationship. ‘I rang up his hotel, where he had checked in under the name Peter Poker,’ Tibet recalls. ‘Straight away he was like ‘Hi, Mr. Tibet, nice to speak to you, have you got a girlfriend? What does she look like?’ His phone calls always lasted at least an hour.’ Tibet and Tiny Tim only met once, when he flew over to play at London’s Union Chapel in 1995, in a mismatched lineup that featured Red Dwarf‘s Norman Lovett and Al Murray, ‘the comedy landlord’. As a result, Time Out listed the concert in their comedy section.

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.12.2016
09:24 am
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David Tibet of Current 93 and Killing Joke’s Youth debut their new duo, Hypnopazūzu
07.22.2016
09:56 am
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This is a welcome development: Hypnopazūzu, a duo comprising Current 93’s David Tibet and Killing Joke bassist Youth, will be releasing an album and playing a show in London this year. (Youth’s other duo is the Fireman, with Paul McCartney of Wings fame.) The date of the show has not been announced, but the record, Create Christ, Sailor Boy, is coming out on the House of Mythology label in August; it will be a three-sided LP (with side four devoted to “a laser etching of a Youth/David Tibet Hallucinatory Cartoon”) and a single CD.

It figures these guys are old pals. Youth, along with Annie Anxiety and Steven Stapleton of Nurse with Wound, joined Tibet on Current 93’s first album, 1984’s Nature Unveiled. As for Pazuzu, whose name I will forever hear as intoned by Richard Burton in Exorcist II, he is among the evil deities William S. Burroughs invokes at the beginning of Cities of the Red Night:

Pazuzu, Lord of Fevers and Plagues, Dark Angel of the Four Winds with rotting genitals from which he howls through sharpened teeth over stricken cities…

 

 
Pazuzu is also the subject of a number of Tibet’s recent paintings. Tibet explained (sort of) his interest in the Mesopotamian demon king in a very condensed memoir published by Dazed three years ago:

I started painting Hallucinatory Prayers, which consisted of biblical verses written thousands of times in white ink on black paper. Revisiting my pubescence, I did an MA in Coptic and started translating mainly Sahidic texts. Then I began to learn Akkadian after dreaming of metal doors covered with cuneiform, which meant I had also to paint Pazuzu. Anaku pazuzu, as the Akkadians wrote.

While you search for your copy of Huehnergard’s Akkadian grammar, hallucinate with “Magog At The MayPole,” from Create Christ, Sailor Boy.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.22.2016
09:56 am
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‘The Sound of Progress’: Coil, Current 93, Foetus and Test Dept star in Dutch TV documentary
07.23.2015
02:26 pm
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Scraping Foetus off the Wheel
 
Broadcast on Dutch TV’s Videoline program in 1988, the forward-looking documentary The Sound of Progress combines interview and performance footage of some of the period’s most thoughtful and articulate musical extremists. If you have any interest in what Coil, Current 93, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel or Test Dept thought about, sounded like, or ate for lunch three decades ago, these 40 minutes will whiz by. And if you don’t have any interest in these four artists, might I recommend, as your personal medical adviser, that you remove the shit from your ears?
 

 
Let the anger, despair and hatred of these musicians, who all recognize the total emptiness of their cultural moment, stand as a corrective to ‘80s nostalgia. Their diagnosis still applies because the whiny, sedative, garbage-ass clown music saturating everyday life was just as bad then, though it might be twice as pervasive now. Here’s David Tibet’s take on the hot sounds of 1988, which he concludes by prescribing “a good kicking” for the anesthetized pop audience:

People listen to pop music for an easy way out, just for enjoyment of the most shallow and tedious type, really. The problem with Western music—contemporary Western music—is that it offers nothing except shallow pleasure, petty enjoyment, and the promise of dancing the night away and drinking, fucking, picking people up, all completely pointless things to do. Western music used to have something important in it if we look back at the classical composers, but even the classical music of the West now can’t offer anything to people, because it exists in its own sphere. It’s a finished sort of music.

 

“Maldoror Is Dead”: Current 93
 
As you might expect, Tibet speaks for C93 and JG Thirlwell for Foetus, while everyone in Test Dept—the most explicitly left-wing of the industrial groups—gets an equal say. John Balance and Stephen Thrower do most of the talking for Coil, though you’ll catch glimpses of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson sticking his fingers in Balance’s mouth over a champagne lunch and playing a Fairlight in the studio. Everyone looks really young.
 

Sleazy pops the cork
 
Aside from their shared disgust with the popular music of the time, the four groups don’t necessarily agree on much. Coil’s insistence on the primacy of mystical experience is met by Test Dept’s stark social realism; Tibet’s conviction that Western civilization is stone dead is balanced by Thirlwell’s professed love for cultural trash. Nor do the occultists in the bunch agree on what is to be done: as the members of Coil turn inward, Tibet prepares to abandon the moldering corpse of Western civilization and seek truth in India. (It’s worth sticking around until the end of the doc to learn what he found there.)
 

Some of Test Dept’s instruments
 
For years, the only version of this documentary on YouTube was of fucking ghastly quality. I salute user vortexeyes for uploading this sharp copy in December 2014.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.23.2015
02:26 pm
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