From The Archives Podcast: 7. Dementia Soiree - 80s Industrial

At its inception, industrial music was as much a musical genre as a new a way of thinking.

"Cabaret Voltaire and other first-wave industrial music groups, including Throbbing Gristle (London), NON (USA), Z'EV (USA), SPK (Australia) and Einsturzende Neubauten (West-Berlin) followed in the footsteps of the Dada movement and 1960s and 1970s avant-garde art. They used electronic and synthesised sounds or pure noise produced by machines or home-made instruments, and stated that they played anti-music: they saw their performances as disconcerts and portrayed themselves as non-musicians. They declared themselves independent and recorded for their own labels and saw their music and performances as a form of discussion. Industrial music shared similarities with 1960s psychedelia, especially in terms of sensory overload and obsession with extreme sound effects, but it replaced hippie utopia with hopeless, dehumanising brutality. Industrial music is , a dark side of the 20th century with torture, cults, wars, unusual murders, concentration camps, psychological techniques of persuasion and psychological suffering.''

Post-industrial emerged in the early 1980s, with artists pushing the boundaries and exploring this unusual yet rich new artistic movement that later became known as industrial culture. Post-industrial took the dark and mechanical aesthetic of early industrial and combined with elements of varying styles, from noise, ambient, psychedelic and electronic dance music, as well as other mutations and developments, collages and fusions that continue to this day, giving birth to an array of weird rhythms and disjointed melodies, all wrapped in a blanket of ominousness. It is ugly and beautiful at the same time, it makes you uncomfortable yet you can't help but sway to that demented tune.

''Industrial musicians were theoretically up-to-date, making direct references to Walter Benjamin, Marshal McLuhan, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The phrase 'post-industrial society', established by Daniel Bell, was picked up early. Although the music was labeled industrial, it mainly described the decay of industrial societies and the rise of the societies that would follow. They frequently referred to an 'information war' that is going on, and to 'control', a term they took from William S. Burroughs and which was later applied by Deleuze in his writings on societies of control. Industrial musicians also acknowledged a debt to authors such as Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard, who write about consequences of technology and the media. Before the 1980s cyberpunk literature and films they strove for an understanding of the society that would eventually replace the old industrial societies.''

*quotes from Anti-Musical Becomings: Industrial Music and the Politics of Shock and Risk by Atte Osanen.
*artwork by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - Origin ov thee Species, 1998
*mix & words by Marina Oprea


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