PRINT December 2008


Robin Rimbaud

Brian Borcherdt (left) and Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck, Ontario, Canada, 2007. Photo: James Mejia.


1 Holy Fuck, “Lovely Allen” (Young Turks) Compulsively percussive, the motorik beats of this Toronto quartet hover on the edge of deconstructed electronica, channeling a new age of symphonic, carillon disco. If we lived in outer space, this single would be topping the galactic charts.

2 “Punk. No One Is Innocent” (Kunsthalle Vienna) Focusing on the ciphers of revolt in London, Berlin, and New York as they arose in music, fashion, and photography during the late 1970s, this exhibition showed history ripped open by the possibilities of anarchy and individuality.

3 Greater Than One, three-CD set: London, G-Force, All the Masters Licked Me (Brainwashed) This three-album reissue finally makes available the missing puzzle pieces of the sampledelic underground music scene of late-’80s London. By lovingly remastering the tracks in this considered series, the techno duo Lee Newman and Michael Wells offer up a surreal cut-and-paste tapestry.

4 Throbbing Gristle, TGV (Industrial Records/Mute) The original “wreckers of civilization” assemble a comprehensive seven-DVD set (a limited edition of two thousand) of largely unseen concert footage in which they unfurl the demons of past and present. Sticky, granular music is buried under layers of nervous energy and inspiration. Open your mind, but close the blinds.

5 Wire at the Seaport Music Festival, New York Having walked the tightrope between perfect pop and focused experimentalism since 1976, Wire brought their smart, edgy sound to the city’s downtown skyscrapers this past May in anticipation of their Object 47 (Pink Flag) release. A crowd of thousands jumped around as the melodies sailed across the East River against a night sky.

 The Notwist, 2008. Photo: Jon Bergmann.

6 The Notwist, The Devil, You + Me (Domino) A never-ending mournfulness drifts around the music of the Notwist, breeding a heartbreaking melancholy in the union of voice, electronics, and acoustic instrumentation. Equally sumptuous and achingly beautiful.

7 Health, Health//Disco (Lovepump United) This remix of Health’s self-titled debut of last year rescores the group’s itchy, propulsive sound through a filter of infectious beats, reinventing LA noise as grainy, dissonant pop tunes.

8 Coil, The Ape of Naples/The New Backwards box set (Threshold House) Navigating a route through sculptured noise, chaos magic, psychogeography, cut-ups, and alchemy, Coil’s fiery vision of the future is presented in a deluxe, four-LP edition that is an elegant art object in itself.

9 Loris Gréaud and Thomas Roussel, Cellar Door (La Manufacture du Disque/EMI Music France) An operatic work to accompany Gréaud’s multimedia manifestations—a fusion of art, architecture, and the dark universe of his cinematic production—at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris this past year. The recording balances a spoken narrative against ornate string arrangements and soaring vocals.

10 Apparat, HoldOn (Chris de Luca vs. Phon.o Rmx) (Shitkatapult) Channeling German electronic ambient music through the spirit of animalistic R & B, this skanking mix throbs with sweet desperation and sensuality. It’s music to grind to, hip-to-hip, in close quarters.

Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner) is a British artist and musician. His six-hour immersive sound work, Of Air and Ear, produced in collaboration with Sophie Clements, premiered at London’s Royal Opera House last September.