Industrial music has always been around. Simply put, industrial is a form of self-expression that plays with the experimental. Woman has, since the dawn of time, been pushing the limits of her creativity through experimentation and the transgression of existing mores. I think that industrial music is one of the places that real art can still be found. Whether it is in the abandon factories of Berlin or right here in some young punks house in Atlanta, industrial continues to push the boundaries of music and art.
A Modern History, Briefly
The German band Kraftwerk is widely considered to be an early innovator in the modern industrial music scene. Throughout their career, Kraftwerk continued to push the limits of music by adding industrial sounds to music. While Kraftwerk was certainly influential, I think that Suicide was the greater influence on industrial as it stands today. Founded by Alan Vega and Martin Rev, Suicide combined guitars, keyboards, and haunting vocals to create eerie still-lives of New York City’s 1970’s depravity.
Still though, it wasn’t until Throbbing Gristle came around in the mid 1970’s that “Industrial” as a term, really took off. Throbbing Gristle founded and released their albums under the Industrial record label. It was this label and the bands, Like Cabaret Voltaire and NON, that really cemented the industrial genre.
Acts that continued to push the genre in the late 1970’s and 1980’s include: Whitehouse, SPK, and Merzbow. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will guide those interested to learn more onto a fruitful path.
Instruments, (Including Water Softeners)
What are the instruments that these industrial musicians use? Well, anything that can be found. Founders of the genre often restricted themselves to the use of standard instruments like guitars and keyboards. But as the genre progressed, found objects became more prevalent. This is especially true when it comes to percussion. I have seen everything from a keg of beer to an industrial water softener being used as drums! The industrial water softener is a huge system that is often found in old factories and is composed of control panels and giant metal cylinders. The artists used every component of the water softeners to achieve different sounds and create a crazy wall of sound. It is the clanging of pipes that really make the industrial sound.
Many people consider Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor to be the modern purveyors of Industrial Music. While NIN has its detractors, there is no doubt that they have pushed the boundaries of Industrial and made it accessible for a new group of kids to push the boundaries.
Calling Bullshit on Huffington Post Article, “11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Beatles, Even If You’re A Superfan” I’m more than a Superfan. You might say I’m an extreme superfan. See, there’s the Fab Four myth, which is the very sunny version of the Beatles story that most … Continue reading
Remember the 90s? Roseanne. Nirvana. Howard Stern. Slap bracelets. All of these things are thoroughly documented in The 90s: The Last Great Decade? (well, except for the slap bracelets.) I had a chance to view two (illegally-downloaded) episodes of this riveting documentary over the weekend. It takes a comprehensive view of the decade … Continue reading
Like most sentient, breathing, Netflix-enabled Americans, I am a Breaking Bad fan. Not only am I a fan, I’ve watched the entire series several times. In fact, I think I’m on my 4th re-watch. (And my third re-watch was in February. It’s July. Yeah.) And I know I’m not alone. Scads … Continue reading
A trending topic on Facebook today is the Sony Walkman — it’s been 35 years since the Walkman first hit the market. Techradar did a great piece about the history and evolution of the Walkman, from its introduction in 1979 to it’s final incarnation as an MP3 player/phone. The article … Continue reading
Ok, it might. You’ll have to excuse the sensationalist headline. But that is the first thing I thought when I read this NPR article about the new Apple headphone jack. One of the benefits of this new headphone jack? It lets noise-cancelling headphones draw power from the phone. From the article: … Continue reading
And I thought butter sculptures were bad enough. In what basically amounts to an ad for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, a group of artists demonstrate the work that went into making a replica of Mount Rushmore out of beef jerky. When you see the video, you’ll notice that it’s a … Continue reading
Led Zepplin fans everywhere, you might want to cover your ears. The legendary band is being sued for plagiarisim. Over “Stairway to Heaven.” According to this article posted by National Public Radio, 43 years after the release of the much-loved song, Led Zepplin is facing a lawsuit over its originality. … Continue reading
There’s a scene in Hitchcock’s Rebecca in which Joan Fontaine’s character tells her love interest that her father was a painter who painted one tree. “You mean he painted the same tree over and over again?” the love interest, Maxim deWinter asks. “Yes,” says Joan Fontaine, “He believed that if you … Continue reading
I’m not old enough to have seen A Hard Day’s Night on the big screen. My mom did, though, and she introduced me to the film when I was 12 and discovered the Beatles. We walked to a small video store that was tucked away in a quiet part of … Continue reading
Lizzo isn’t from Atlanta, but she’s from Houston and that’s close enough. Lizzo is currently based in Minneapolis, but she’s traveling all over the world, introducing audiences everywhere to her witty rhymes. What you need to know about Lizzo is that she’s versatile as hell. She’s a classically-trained flute player … Continue reading