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“Industrial” is a descriptor that fans and critics have applied to a remarkable variety of music: the oildrum pounding of Einstürzende 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 question.

Assimilate 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 more noise.

 
              S. Alexander Reed

              S. Alexander Reed

ICONIC / ARCANE PLAYLISTS FROM ASSIMILATE

(click chapter titles to hear the music)

 

Assimilate Ch. 4: Northern England

Iconic:

  • Cabaret Voltaire – “Nag Nag Nag” (1979)
  • Cabaret Voltaire – “Yashar (John Robie remix)” (1982)
  • Clock DVA – “4 Hours” (1981)
  • Throbbing Gristle – “Hamburger Lady” (1978)
  • Throbbing Gristle – “Discipline” (1980)

Arcane:

  • Wendy Carlos – “Timesteps” (1971)
  • COUM Transmissions – “73 Vibrant” (1971)
  • The Future – “Blank Clocks” (1977)
  • Hula – “Feeding the Animal” (1982)
  • Thomas Leer and Robert Rental – “Perpetual” (1979)

Assimilate Ch. 5: Berlin

Iconic:

  • Deutsche-Amerikanische Freundschaft – “Kebab-Träume” (1980)
  • Die Krupps – “Wahre Arbeit—Wahrer Lohn” (1981)
  • Einstürzende Neubauten – “Armenia” (1983)
  • Einstürzende Neubauten – “Kollaps” (1981)
  • Liaisons Dangereuses – “Los Niños del Parque” (1981)

Arcane:

  • Borsig – “Hiroshima” (1982)
  • Die Tödliche Doris – “Tanz im Quadrat” (1981)
  • Din A Testbild – “No Repeat” (1980)
  • Mona Mur – “My Lie” (1982)
  • No More – “Suicide Commando” (1981)

Assimilate Ch. 6: San Francisco

Iconic:

  • Monte Cazazza – “To Mom on Mother’s Day” (1979)
  • Chrome – “The Monitors” (1977)
  • Factrix – “Anemone Housing” (1980)
  • The Residents – “Constantinople” (1978)
  • Tuxedomoon – “No Tears” (1978)

Arcane:

  • The German Shepherds – “I Adore You” (1981)
  • Minimal Man – “Loneliness” (1981)
  • Negativland – “#12” (1980)
  • Boyd Rice – The Black Album (1975)
  • Uns – “Aldo’s Bar” (1980)

Assimilate Ch. 7: Mail Art, Tape Technology, and the Network

Iconic:

  • Maurizio Bianchi – “Treblinka” (1981)
  • Iron Curtain – “The Condos” (1984)
  • Konstruktivists – “Andropov ’84” (1983)
  • Lustmord – “At thee Mountains of Madness” (1981)
  • Severed Heads – “Dead Eyes Opened” (1983)

Arcane:

  • Bourbonese Qualk – “Return to Order” (1985)
  • Data-Bank-A – “Group Six” (1984)
  • P16.D4 – Distruct (1984)
  • Romans – “Membrum Lucis” (1983)
  • Smegma – “Can’t Look Straight” (1979)

Assimilate Ch. 8: The Tyranny Of The Beat: Dance Music and Identity Crisis

Iconic:

  • Cabaret Voltaire – “Sensoria” (1984)
  • Die Form – “Masochist” (1984)
  • Nocturnal Emissions – “No Separation” (1983)
  • Einstüzende Neubauten – “Yü Gung” (1985)
  • Hunting Lodge – “Tribal Warning Shot” (1985)

Arcane

  • Esplendor Geométrico – “Moscú Está Helado” (1980)
  • Laibach – “Panorama” (1984)
  • Les Vampyrettes – “Biomutanten” (1981)
  • Pankow – “God’s Deneuve” (1984)
  • Warning – “Why Can the Bodies Fly” (1982)

Assimilate Ch. 9: “After Cease To Exist”: England 1981-1985

Iconic:

  • Chris & Cosey – “October (Love Song)” (1982)
  • Coil – “Panic” (1984)
  • Nitzer Ebb – “Warsaw Ghetto” (1985)
  • Psychic TV – “Just Drifting (For Caresse)” (1982)
  • Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel – “I’ll Meet You In Poland, Baby” (1984)

Arcane:

  • 23 Skidoo – “Porno Bass” (1982)
  • Portion Control – “If I Could Spit” (1982)
  • SPK – “Twilight Of The Idols” (1983)
  • Mark Stewart – “Hypnotised” (1985)
  • Test Dept. – “Hunger” (1983)

Assimilate Ch. 10: Body To Body: Belgian EBM 1981-1985

Iconic:

  • Front 242 – “U-Men” (1982)
  • Front 242 – “Take One” (1983)
  • The Klinik – “Sick In Your Mind” (1985)
  • The Neon Judgement – “TV Treated” (1982)
  • Luc Van Acker – “Fear In My Heart” (1984)

Arcane:

  • à;GRUMH... – “New Fashion” (1985)
  • Absolute Body Control – “Weaving Hands” (1981)
  • Arbeid Adelt – “De Dag dat het Zonlicht Niet Meer Scheen” (1982)
  • Snowy Red – “Never Alive” (1982)
  • Vomito Negro – “Radio Silence” (1985)

Assimilate Ch. 12: “She’s A Sleeping Beast”: Skinny Puppy And The Feminine Gothic

Iconic:

  • Diamanda Galás – “Wild Women with Steak Knives” (1982)
  • Moev – “Cracked Mirror” (1981)
  • Skinny Puppy – “Assimilate” (1985)
  • Skinny Puppy – “First Aid” (1987)
  • Skinny Puppy – “Worlock” (1989)

Arcane:

  • Bauhaus – “Antonin Artaud” (1983)
  • Doubting Thomas – “Blowfish” (1989)
  • Front Line Assembly – “A Decade” (1986)
  • Images in Vogue – “S&M” (1982)
  • The Tear Garden – “You and Me and Rainbows (Parts 1–6)” (1987)

Assimilate Ch. 15: Wild Planet: Waxtrax! Records and Global Dance Scenes

Iconic:

  • Clock DVA – “The Hacker” (1988)
  • Ministry – “Everyday Is Halloween” (1985)
  • Ministry – “Stigmata” (1988)
  • A Split-Second – “Flesh” (1986)
  • The Young Gods – “Envoyé” (1986)

Arcane:

  • Fini Tribe – “I Want More” (1987)
  • Moskwa TV – “Generator 7/8” (1985)
  • Organum – “Horii” (1986)
  • Pig – “It Tolls For Thee (Pig Breath)” (1988)
  • Thug – “Fuck Your Dad” (1987)

Assimilate Ch. 16: Q: Why Do We Act Like Machines? A: We Do Not

Iconic:

  • And One – “Techno Man” (1991)
  • Ministry – “Thieves” (1989)
  • My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – “Sex On Wheelz” (1991)
  • Nine Inch Nails – “Terrible Lie” (1989)
  • Nitzer Ebb – “Join In The Chant” (1987)

Arcane:

  • Brighter Death Now – “Great Death” (1991)
  • Leæther Strip – “Antius” (1991)
  • Out Out – “Admire the Question” (1991)
  • Think Tree – “Hire a Bird” (1989)
  • Will – “Father Forgive” (1990)

Assimilate Ch. 17: Death

Iconic:

  • Beborn Beton – “Another World” (1997)
  • Chemlab – “Codeine, Glue and You” (1992)
  • KMFDM – “Juke Joint Jezebel” (1995)
  • Project Pitchfork – “Alpha Omega” (1994)
  • X Marks The Pedwalk – “Facer” (1995)

Arcane:

  • Gridlock – “From Zero” (1999)
  • La Floa Maldita – “Sorcière (Das Ich remix)” (1995)
  • Oneiroid Psychosis – “Box” (1996)
  • MindFluxFuneral – “Flesh” (1994)
  • Wumpscut – “Mother (Oral Staircase remix by Haujobb)” (1996)

Assimilate Ch. 18: Wonder

Iconic:

  • Apoptygma Berzerk – “Kathy’s Song (Come Lie Next to Me)” (2000)
  • Combichrist – “Get Your Body Beat” (2006)
  • Covenant – “Brave New World (Radio version)” (2006)
  • Haujobb – “Grounds”/“Overflow”/“Doubleyou” (1999)
  • VNV Nation – “Solitary” (1999)

Arcane:

  • Chrysalide – “I Do Not Avert Eyes” (2012)
  • Coil – “Batwings (A Limnal Hymn)” (2000)
  • I, Parasite – “Thirst” (2003)
  • Index AI – “Aerial Fossils” (2009)
  • Whitehouse – “Wriggle Like A Fucking Eel” (2003)