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Throbbing Gristle - Mission Of Dead Souls - LP Colored Vinyl

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Mission Of Dead Souls
Throbbing Gristle
12" Vinyl

Product Description

2018 repress on white vinyl - Mission Of Dead Souls starts with a faint scream. It's probably from the crowd, but as with so many of the sounds on this 1981 recording of a Throbbing Gristle gig, their last before splitting up, its source is not entirely certain. It's animalistic, even demonic, pitched just at that point of frenzy where excitement and terror are indistinguishable. And it sets the tone perfectly for this fever dream of a concert. The San Francisco audience is clearly keyed right into it. If you check out the video of the performance—it was released on VHS and is on YouTube—you can see a young Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys in the front row, grinning and staring intently, clearly taking mental notes of how Genesis P-Orridge was commanding the audience.

Throughout the show, Genesis P-Orridge seemed to redefine rockstar charisma, taking the nastiest, most sardonic sides of John Lennon, Iggy Pop and John Lydon above and beyond, adding a dash of sadistic schoolmaster, and prefiguring the bona fide cult leader he eventually became with Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth, which formed that year. He coaxes and teases the audience, most obviously in his intro to the Throbbing Gristle favourite "Persuasion," a psychedelic analogy for social control but also just prurience. It's horrible, predatory sleaze, but the audience lap it up. In turn, P-Orridge relishes turning the creepy into the consensual, the horrific into the pleasurable.

But it's by no means The Genesis Show: Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson generate extraordinary sounds. Often they're unplaceable, as with the opening of "Circle Of Animals," a monstrous growl that could quite easily be Sunn O))), or the many blurred reverberations that you can still hear echoing through Rabit, Regis and Amnesia Scanner. Other times you can recognise guitar, or the kind of grossly processed drum machines heard in the work of Powell or Jamal Moss. There are no melodic hooks—just rhythm, chanting, noise: a pure accumulation of intensity that leads up to "Discipline," which, for all the sound's harshness, was bizarrely funky, too.

It's impossible to know what was going through the hive mind of a band for whom too many drugs and too many dark thoughts were only a starting point, and who were hell-bent on going as far beyond everyday experience as possible. Whether you subscribe to the occult thinking that fuelled this sound, or whether you are just concerned with sound itself, there's no denying its focus and power. This was only a beginning in many ways—"Sleazy" in Coil, Genesis P-Orridge in Psychic TV and Chris & Cosey would all go on to do incredible things after Throbbing Gristle. But as a final statement, the band's reformation from 2004-10 notwithstanding, Mission Of Dead Souls is a phenomenal document of what must have been a phenomenal gig.
A1Dead Souls
A2Guts On The Floor
A3Circle Of Animals
A4Looking For The Oto
A5Vision And Voice
B1Funeral Rites
B2Spirits Flying
B3Persuasion U.S.A.
B4Thee Process
B5Discipline (Reprise)

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