Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music

Assimilate A Critical History of Industrial Music Industrial is a descriptor that fans and critics have applied to a remarkable variety of music the oildrum pounding of Einsturzende Neubauten the processed electronic groans of Throbbing Gristle the

  • Title: Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music
  • Author: S. Alexander Reed
  • ISBN: 9780199832583
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Industrial is a descriptor that fans and critics have applied to a remarkable variety of music the oildrum pounding of Einsturzende Neubauten, the processed electronic groans of Throbbing Gristle, the drumloop clatter of Skinny Puppy, and the synthpop songcraft of VNV Nation, to name just a few But the stylistic breadth and subcultural longevity of industrial music sug Industrial is a descriptor that fans and critics have applied to a remarkable variety of music the oildrum pounding of Einsturzende Neubauten, the processed electronic groans of Throbbing Gristle, the drumloop clatter of Skinny Puppy, and the synthpop songcraft of VNV Nation, to name just a few But the stylistic breadth and subcultural longevity of industrial music suggests that the common ground here might not be any one particular sound, but instead a network of ideologies This book traces industrial music s attitudes and practices from their earliest articulations a hundred years ago through the genre s mid 1970s formation and its development up to the present and beyond.Taking cues from radical intellectuals like Antonin Artaud, William S Burroughs, and Guy Debord, industrial musicians sought to dismantle deep cultural assumptions so thoroughly normalized by media, government, and religion as to seem invisible More extreme than punk, industrial music revolted against the very ideas of order and reason it sought to strip away the brainwashing that was identity itself It aspired to provoke, bewilder, and roar with independence Of course, whether this revolution succeeded is another questionAssimilate is the first serious study published on industrial music Through incisive discussions of musicians, audiences, marketers, cities, and songs, this book traces industrial values, methods, and goals across forty years of technological, political, and artistic change A scholarly musicologist and a longtime industrial musician, S Alexander Reed provides deep insight not only into the genre s history but also into its ambiguous relationship with symbols of totalitarianism and evil Voicing frank criticism and affection alike, this book reveals the challenging and sometimes inspiring ways that industrial music both responds to and shapes the world.Assimilate is essential reading for anyone who has ever imagined limitless freedom, danced alone in the dark, or longed for noise.

    One thought on “Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music”

    1. A number of reviewers have slagged this book off for being only about Throbbing Gristle and Genesis P. Orridge, at least for the first half, but that is a rather unfair and inaccurate assessment. This is a scholarly and intensely researched historical analysis of industrial music, and thus it necessarily gives substantial attention to the group that actually coined the term for modern day industrial, but does not do so to the detriment of the many dozens of other important contributors. (The aut [...]

    2. This book seriously frustrated me – to the point where I started it last year and only picked it up again and finished it this week. I will preface the rest of my review by saying I grew up with industrial music. My parents had Front 242 records, they had their own band with industrial influences, they were influential DJs in the Arizona underground club scene (yes, there is such a thing) during the ‘90s, they ran their own record shop out of their bedroom so people in Arizona could get the [...]

    3. Who knew Sarah Mclachlin used to be goth? I learned so much.Other reviewers have kvetched about how this book focused too much on Throbbing Gristle, ~tarnished industrial's image~ by talking about the longstanding racism and racial segregation in the scene, and blunted its impact through engaging in academic rhetoric. I'm sympathetic with readers who find academic texts repellant--I can imagine Reed presenting this information more accessibly without compromising historical rigor, however this i [...]

    4. I absolutely loved this book front to back. Now with that in mind keep in mind I am a music obsessive. If you are a casual fan of the genre this book may not be for you. On the other hand if you want to learn not just about the history of industrial music, but also want to learn about it's musical and artistic precursors this is the book for you. It covers tape music, surrealist art, the fluxus movement and dadaism, all of them crucial to the genre's initial formation. The book is remarkably wel [...]

    5. I now know more than I ever knew, and likely also more than I ever wanted to or needed to know about the historical and political background of industrial music.And, quite frankly, this book was not any favorite of mine for several reasons:First of all it felt slightly unbalanced, given that the first 150 pages of a 300 page book more or less focused only on the band Throbbing Gristle (which I don't really like) and Genesis P-Orridge (whom I don't really know and after this intensive deep dive d [...]

    6. Even if you are not a fan of Industrial Music, Reed's treatment of music,art, and culture in the last half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century will offer an insightful and compelling read. However, if you are even a casual fan of Industrial Music this book is a must read.

    7. Consistently thought provoking and informative- well worth the read for any 'beginner' or 'jaded enthusiast'.

    8. In the long-running discussion of genre and its merits, one always hears breathless claims of "it's so good, even people who aren't fans of noise/film noir/paranormal young adult/arcane sexual practices/sandwiches will like it!" So we'll get that out of the way now: this is a book about a genre of music, so, therefore, it would most likely appeal to fans of that genre of music (in this case, industrial). If you're interested in that type of music, though, why wouldn't you be interested in readin [...]

    9. This book had a lot of potential discussing the older days of industrial when it was a series of cut-ups and occult techniques, picked up steam into the 80s, and then I lost real interest because it just went straight to a heavy dose of white guilt that just seemed shoehorned in. I understand it's important to discuss the role of race in a critical studies book but after that section it got derailed and focused on EBM and the only other part that really got my attention was the Skinny Puppy sect [...]

    10. This is not light reading. I really felt like I should have to answer discussion questions after each chapter. You should be serious about industrial music to take this on.I only wish it were a little more critical than it was. I felt like Reed sort of hand-waved away accusations of fascism bands like Death in June get.

    11. I really really wanted to like this book. But it suffers far too much for its academic origins. I read once that Straftanz arrived at their band name when one of the members observed that going out dancing in the local scene felt like a punishment. Reading this felt like a punishment. I hope Reed got tenure out of it.

    12. Illuminating, captivating, and entertaining. Also made me feel like an utter n00b toward a musical genre I've been listening to since 1995. The book takes an academic approach to its subject, but remains accessible and intelligent throughout.

    13. Very highly recommended for fans of industrial music and hard-edged or dark electronic music. A tremendously inspiring read. I wish I could forget that I have ever read this book for the pleasure of reading it again.

    14. finally, a definitive - or as near as it could be - look at industrial music, from someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

    15. Absolutely amazing book. IF you enjoy industrial music, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. Its great from page one till the end.

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