Jul 13, 2010

Chosen Words: T is for 242

Fat Roland's A-Z guide to the most important words or phrases in electronica and their associated "facts"

Front 242 were my first introduction to a more industrial side of electronic music.

They were an example of EBM (Electronic Body Music), and indeed their releases No Comment and Tyranny For You could be seen as bookending the popularity of the genre.

EBM rose from the industrial movement, which is still propogated by the likes of Einstürzende Neubauten, Nine Inch Nails and Nurse With Wound. That scene took much of its feel from the darker side of human nature. It's for this reason I'm surprised Simon Cowell isn't the world's leading industrial musician.

EBM was known for its primitive beats, barked vocals and electronic repetition. Basically, imagine Mark E Smith if he'd become part-android, doubled the amout of fags he was smoking, then began recording inside a metal pipe.

I came late to EBM. In fact, too late: my first introduction was Front 242's twin albums 06:21:03:11 UP EVIL and 05:22:09:12 OFF. You can only understand those titles if you use the A=1, B=2 code.

I was too busy listening to 18:09:03:08:01:18:04 03:12:01:25:04:18:13:01:14 at the time. Tragic, really.

Top five sexiest industrial or post-industrial band names:

- Android Lust
- SPK (Surgical Penis Klinik)
- Thobbing Gristle
- Armageddon Dildos
- Revolting Cocks

For more Chosen Words, click the tag at the bottom of this post.


JPM said...

Who can forget the joy of Test Department - a full on industrial band who were SO industrial, they one performed in a derelict Railway Works in Glasgow (called St Rollox, snigger at that!)

Fat Roland said...

That's massively industrial.

I should post more about EBM on this blog really, but apart from a few artists, it pretty much passed me by.

Anar Green said...

I don't think any of those bands would appreciate being in any way associated with "fascism"; "the darker side" of life, or of human nature, is more apt.

If I may, I'd make more of a distinction between some of these bands. EBM included the later, relatively danceable, forms of Front 242 and SPK; their earlier, pre-crossover, stuff was closer to industrial. (And, though not a perfect fit, I have to mention Skinny Puppy.)
Neubauten and Test Dept. were of the found-sounds industrial. I never felt them to be particularly dark--though I may be wrong wrt certain albums. They were more percussive than (at all) electronic.
At the farther, utterly non-commercial, end of the spectrum lay TG and Nurse with Wound. These truly fell under the Difficult Listening umbrella, with an explicit focus on dark themes, electronic experimentation, and dissonance.

Fat Roland said...

Anar - you make excellent points and I haved deleted the clumsy fascism reference. EBM is a massive web of genres and deserved way more than this blog post, but it had to fit into my limited template for this blog series. Sorry, EBM, you deserved more! (I like your writing very much, by the way.)