Friday, April 17, 2009

Throbbing Gristle @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple

In their first US performance since 1981, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's sound vision, Throbbing Gristle, captured an enrapt Fort Greene audience. I could only stay for the first part of the show, so you'll have to refer to my cohort's blog here, for a different perspective.

From the start, the integration of audio and video that was created as TG spun a live soundtrack to Derek Jarman's In The Shadow of The Sun was entirely absorbing. The film was made in 1974, and it was dated in the best possible way. Dated in the sense that it included imagery of Ancient Greece and Rome and across the Middle East with the perfect amount of distress and crackle to draw you in further. Reds, golds, blacks and whites brought bodies and faces forth, both ocluded and concealed - a woman's dress became an undulating landscape and a man's forehead dissolved into sky. TG's drone was both synthetic and organic as it swelled and broke apart while Genesis controlled the distortion on his headless guitar and Chris Carter and Peter Christopherson worked on two laptops.

At times, each would turn their head to glance at the film intently, as if the visuals were absolutely necessary to guide the extended improvisation. Vocal samples were few, but did add a sacred element to the burning effigies and fallen figures that oozed neat rivulets of blood onscreen. Aside from those who couldn't take it and left without haste, there were few faces not turned quietly toward the stage, entranced -- and those aesthetically-endowed audience members seemed to be lulled into a sonic stasis. TG's reverberations were powerful enough to to crawl up your spine and nestle in your chest. It was warm, primeval and beautiful. I left the Masonic Temple with a clear head.


Anonymous said...

Cosey plays the headless guitar.
Genesis plays the violin and does the vocals.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I was there. For the first half Gen played the headless guitar.