Friday, November 26, 2010

Farewell To An Inspiration: Peter Christopherson

Throbbing Gristle
Peter Christopherson (electronics and a number of other weird things; pictured far right)
Genesis P. Orridge (voice, electronics)
Chris Carter (electronics)
Cosey Fanni Tutti (electronics, trumpet, voice)

Today as I'm sure some of you may have read, Peter Christopher, a founding member of one the most influential bands of the last 35 years, Throbbing Gristle (along with Cosey Fanni Tutti, Genesis P. Orridge and Chris Carter, passed away. The band reformed twice in the last six years; recently on short world tour last year.

Throbbing Gristle is one of my favourite bands of all time. Christopherson was also a member of two off-shoots of TG after the band's first disbandment in 1981, Coil and Psychic TV (with TG lead singer Genesis P. Orridge). You will probably be able to find a good bit of their history online today I'm sure of it. I'm actually going to keep this short because I can really find all the words.

This is definitely one of those moments where a musician's passing actually hits you hard. Especially when the group has been inside your head for a good portion of your life. I have been fortunate to have seen TG, PTV, Coil and Chris and Cosey, so I can say my life is full.

For those you who may not be familiar with Throbbing Gristle, let me say you have to be of a certain warped mind set to enjoy them. But let me also say, without them you don't get bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Test Dept. Liabach and countless others. You might also have not gotten some of the more experimental ideas that have come out of European jazz in the last decade from groups like Supersilent, Humcrush, Nils Petter Molvaer and more. So there is there is reason for both alternative and jazz fans to be saddened today.

Throbbing Gristle utilized electronics and an early 50s art form known as "cut ups" advanced by the great author William Burroughs. This method could be similar to what most kids called "mashups" but it is allot more calculated and takes some real skills, unlike "mashups". What they created was something more visceral, cerebral and spiritual than most bands could even come close to imagining.

Either way, TG represents a very important stamp on the culture of music and in my heart. This more than likely will mean the end of the band completely.I am truly devastated today.

If you've never listened to THROBBING GRISTLE before, you may end up digging them. You might want to start with the compilation Greatest Hits (Mute Records). If you have Throbbing Gristle albums in your collection, please take a spin today and remember one the musicians and bands that truly had a monumental effect on our artistic culture. I promise to do a full scale piece on TG in the coming days. For now...Farewell to our inspiration...

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