Friday, December 28, 2012

Conversation about doom music, Throbbing Gristle and Nico

I went around to my mate Nigel's house tonight - he had got two tickets for a Miko Vainio gig at Cafe Dalston in January so I went to give him the money for my one.

He put on a Miko Vainio CD.  It is stop-start.  No vocals or drums. A long piece of feedback mixed up with what seems like an electronicly generated noise which is like a long slowed down hooter.   Except apparently the noises aren't electronically generated - they are done with a guitar and effects pedals.  From time to time the noises suddenly intensify.  His cat didn't like it.  She was fidgety on the sofa.

So he switched it off and put  Animal Collective on (he had been to see them at the Roundhouse - said they were fantastic).  A melodic singer, drums, but in the middle a kind of ambience of swirly interesting electronic sounds,  in the place where the driving guitars would be in a rock band.

He put on a CD by Earth, and taled about a gig he had seen at the Union Chapel.  Said Earth were the first doom band.  Like heavy metal only slowed down almost to a standstill.  The guitarist would play a long low note and would hold it and hold it.  The drummer appeared to be in slow motion.  Nigel had gone on his own and drunk Camomile tea instead of beer at the gig, just to absorb it all.  His mate had speeded up an Earth LP and reported the drummer's rythymns are very complex, but you can't detect the complexity at the usual playing speed.

Then he talked about another doom band - Sun O)))) .   He saw them at Camden Koko.  A guitarist and bass guitarists.  Playing long deep notes on their guitars.  No drums or vocals. He said there was nowhere you could get away from the noise. Conversation was impossible, it invaded your whole nervous system.

I told him I had never really grasped what Throbbing Gristle was about.  He said he doesn't listen to it anymore but it made a huge impression on him at the time.  It was a whole package, no-one had done anything like it before.  They had a porn star in the band (Cosey Fanni) who carried on with her porn career in parallel with the music career.  Three of the band used to do performance art before the band started up.  Not very nice performance art - blood, semen etc.   He said they are going to release the last album they did which was a cover of one of Nico's albums.  Apparently Throbbing Gristle wanted to work with Nico a couple of decades back but it never transpired.

We talked about Nico.  I have still got her Chelsea Girl LP on vinyl (bought when I was 17 and I tried to get hold of anything that Morrissey mentioned or said he liked).  He said that Nico had very little artistic control over Chelsea Girl.  The producer put cheesy strings as the backdrop to it.  After that she did three LPs with John Cale and Brian Eno, and it is one of the collaborations with Cale and Eno that Throbbing Gristle have covered.

Nigel out on the third of these LPs then the second.  The famous Nico voice, and in the background experimental sounds.  'Eno having a laugh'.

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