Throbbing Gristle - Journey Through A Body

The final studio album of Throbbing Gristle before the split in 1981 marked a change in direction from previous work. Now the emphasis was only long progressive workouts as opposed to short sharp experimental or noise tracks. The music itís self it quite different with the incorporation of piano and more traditional sounding percussion. Very odd start to the album with high pitched sounds, recordings of nurses milling around, an E.C.G. machine and low dissonant breathing. Perhaps meant to represent the environment a new born baby might experience. Itís certainly a change from TG albums of before. This goes on for over fifteen minutes before the environment breaks down to a wall of noisy feedback to reveal a cornet synth beat combo much like some of the material from heathen earth, there are some quite kinky sounding moans and groans along with the electronics. This track is called Catholic sex and includes some very downbeat sounding vocals from Gen as a sombre organ melody drifts in and out of the mix. The track ends with various percussive hits and warped electronic squall. Finishing with distant footsteps and voices. The third track is even more bizarre sounding like some sort of possessed vaudeville zoo. Bongo like drums, piano, and animal sounds begin the track, but before long the track is speeding up giving a chase like feel and the piano turned into some sort of childrenís toy. Exotic functions indeed. The end of the track is signalled by water before the sounds of a woman screaming, guns being cocked and dissonant distortion ring in the ears. The track is called Violencia (the bullet) and has a rather nurse with wound feel to it. Nurse with wound circa Homotopy to Marie, which is interesting because that album and this were released in the same year. The odd piano playing adds to the surreal atmosphere. Lots of tape cut-ups of people screaming and angry distorted guitar. Itís like a chase through an exotic jungle. Very disturbing. The final track Oltre la morte, birth and death has a beautiful beginning with sweet melodic piano playing and some distant drones not what you would expect from TG at all. And thatís it!!, the piano playing does get a little bit random in parts but for the most part itís very pleasant. So this was the last studio album of Throbbing Gristle, there were many post-split releases mostly live shows and best ofs, but how the sound of TG would have developed is anyoneís guess. By the sound of this album it seems they were moving into a more academic and refined area more akin to avant-composers than wreckers of civilisation. For the most part this could be an album by Nurse with wound, if that sort of audio surrealism was their preferred direction I would have been very excited to see what they would have produced next, but it was not to be. They left a legacy that is still felt today and formed other groups that are still at the forefront of audio experimentalism and alternative social headspace. God bless um.