I have always thought that performing a song from another artist you admire is a chance to display your respect for their creativity and originality by exposing other aspects of light and shadow and possibility held within the framework of their creations. In short, what can you do differently? Imagine trying to stretch that notion across an entire album. That was the goal of the remaining members of Throbbing Gristle who had dubbed themselves X-TG after Genesis P-Oridge abruptly left the group via e-mail.
The idea apparently originally came from Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson, and the final double album plus bonus remix album is dedicated to his vision. Released two years after Sleazy's death, we can wrap ourselves in the warmth of these tendrils of music. No longer confrontational, these strands of sounds are welcoming and warm like an old friend. This is, I suspect, the point, and I think it is my favorite release of 2012.
The first disc is chock full of guest artists singing to laid back tracks of sound and noise. . . nothing too jarring; all wrapped in love and comfort. There are standout moments, for me in particular, Blixa Bargeld's takes on the German tracks. He sounds at home in these soundscapes. Where else would he be after all? Blixa sounds at home in the bowels of hell and damnation while singing of love. Of course, Cosey Fanny Tutti sounds great. This is her home. Sleazy, her friend, Chris, her partner. She brings a pathos to the words and the mood. The loss and the life are monumental and equal.
The noise and the fury that build only hint at that of the past fury. So again, it is comforting and warm. Dissonace becomes harmonious and sound as antagonist becomes sound as joy.
Of course, it is difficult to write about this without mentioning that absent voice you cringe to name. The second disc really sounds barren and cold and wanting. It really makes me miss the Voice of Gen.
i can feel the hole. I can feel its roundness and limits. Whereas the first disc has its presence and voices, the second disc is wholly lacking. I suspect this is the point. Peter is lacking as well. Well. . . It is I believe a reflection of the lack of the whole. And that is I believe the point. Sometimes the guiding light is just in the shadows like a conductor. You can see the motion, but there is no sound of the conductor. Only the sound.