Monday, 13 August 2012

Throbbing Gristle - Heathen Earth

Heathen Earth is a live album by Throbbing Gristle. Tracks 1- 8 document their performance in 1980 on "Saturday the 16th of February between 8:10pm and 9:00pm". Track 9 is from a performance on July 06 1978 . Track 10 is from a performance on May 18 1978.

The first pressing was limited to 785 Copies on blue vinyl. The second pressing was on black vinyl.

CD tracklisting:
  1. Cornets - 4:38
  2. The Old Man Smiled - 6:39
  3. After Cease To Exist - 7:17
  4. The World Is A War Film - 7:46
  5. Dreamachine - 7:44
  6. Still Walking - 4:56
  7. Don't Do As You're Told, Do As You Think - 7:33
  8. Painless Childbirth - 1:05
  9. Adrenalin - 3:59
  10. Subhuman - 2:53
  • On the CD release, only tracks 9 and 10 had titles, though Genesis P-Orridge later revealed the names of the untitled songs.

An exceptional piece. TG started playing live in a studio right at 10 p.m. in front of a small selected audience. At 10:50 the playing stopped and without *any* post-production the tape went to the plant. Who believes that classic industrial is noisy and agressive only, will experience TG at their most contemplative and sometimes almost jazzy recording. Wonderful.

When I first found Throbbing Gristle's live album, I expected it to be the ultimate TG time capsule--preserving TG's live sound for future generations—but the band had other plans.  Rather than a live recording made at a public gig, Heathen Earth was a contrived and controlled affair that captured the sound of Throbbing Gristle performing for an invited audience in their studio. Rather than a blistering assault, it played more like a subdued (albeit menacing) jam session. They never made it easy.

After all these years, the aspect I find most striking about Heathen Earth is how it defies TG's confrontational image.  The track list seems to be chosen specifically to avoid the freakout energy of tracks like "Hamburger Lady" and "Subhuman," and while Heathen Earth is far from easy listening, it is generally smoother and less difficult than many other TG records. The record's most abrasive moments come early in "The Old Man Smiled" and are then followed by a noisy jam of synth noodles, hisses, and feedback on "Improvisation," the creepy if relatively mellow "The World is a War Film," and the synth-driven "Something Came Over Me," that serves as a blueprint for early Skinny Puppy if ever there was one.
Matthew Jeanes
Brainwashed review

A live-in-the-studio séance recorded in one take in front of a posse of friends and associates, I've always regarded Heathen Earth as the dog in the manger, sounding slightly stiff relative to the unhinged and abrasive live sound captured on the TG24 boxset, which archives their scalding live gigs before frequently hostile crowds with less fidelity but more heart. The opening salvos of this concert draw upon songs and rhythmic tapes already deployed on 20 Jazz Funk Greats, and they sound tentative, fragmentary, slightly inhibited. But things begin to erupt when the whistling-led mirage of "The World Is a War Film" dissolves into a ripping version of "Something Came Over Me", turning that single into a propulsive, masturbatory launchpad for a swirling noise-dub overload which Carter's remastering has pumped into startling new prominence. Gen holds back from taking much of a vocal frontman position, and the result is a greater awareness of TG's ear for texture. It would take a spicerack of adjectives to do justice to the gnarled, twisted, flanged, and serrated soundworld conjured by the band's unique gear and more-is-more approach to processing. But it's a testimony to their precision that, for all their influence, nobody quite sounds like them when they are truly on blast, as they are here. Things come to a suitably frenzied peak in the stomping, cornet-led "Don't Do as You're Told, Do as You Think", in which Cosey's horn-through delay finally makes good on the clammy flirtations with jazz from 20 Jazz Funk Greats. Having promised a séance on a rainy afternoon, a relaxation technique cassette concludes the jam.
Drew Daniel

Throbbing Gristle - Recording Heathen Earth (1980) by lostfiles


Jose Acevedo said...

my first day on this blog.greetings from a lost coastal town in Asturias,on the north of fucking Spain.What a surprise to watch at last "HEATHEN EARTH" video.We need Throbbing Gristle so much on this ugly days from our bored and lost world.Thanks man!

_Black_Acrylic said...

Hi Jose! Thanks for your comment. People rarely comment here for whatever reason, so it really is very much appreciated. Yeah TG seems like the ideal austerity soundtrack for all the bored and lost out there in the world.

Jose Acevedo said...

thanks for answering.People rarely comment because they don´t have time in our fast and crazy world.But I am an another spanish unemployed,so I have ALL THE TIME,for art.Music is my life.And i was very surprised when I read about the music you like.From the first to the last name,I like them all.Every music has its moment.So what´s the problem with listening ABBA and Whitehouse and enjoy both of them?I´m listening "Alternative",the b sides compilation by Pet Shop Boys,while i´m writing this.And yesterday I have been listening "Black antlers" by COIL,before i went to sleep.Stay in contact!!!!from the real underground I´m producing music with a Roland and writing something like a novel,I call it poetic narrative.Very influenced by Burroughs and Dennis Cooper.TO BE CONTINUED.....