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SPK – “Field Report San Francisco” – [Therapeutic/Adverse]

In their early years, Australia’s SPK brought unrivalled industrial brutality to their live shows, always maintaining they had a different intent than British groups like Throbbing Gristle (SPK was less occult-driven and even more morbid), Whitehouse (SPK was more versatile) and Nocturnal Emissions (SPK was more nihilistic). Shortly before his suicide in 1984, founding member Neil Hill claimed that “[t]he most important purpose of [SPK's] music is torturing the body and spirit.” Their fatalistic techno-fetishism and creative staring contest with complete annihilation was instrumental in creating the genre known today as ‘death-industrial.’ This so-called ‘eyes only’ recording (originally all one track) of their performance at San Francisco’s Odd Fellows Hall on 5/16/81 is some ugly shit. It’s beautiful, too, to those of us of a certain disposition. They only had one studio LP out at this point, and ‘interpet’ four of those tracks (1-4), the biggest similarity to studio versions lying of course in the preprogrammed parts. The best pre-structured piece is t.5, a studio instrumental version of which is included (t.9), but the other tracks (6-8) do not appear anywhere in non-live form, I think. Makes me feel like SPK was essentially a live project, assaulting their audience with extreme electronic tones, hypnotic programmed beats and macabre shouted rants, all backed by a slideshow of disturbing images. Sounds trite now, but this was 1981! From curiously bouncy, krautrock-influenced t.1′s seven minutes of drum machine, delicious distortion and authoritarian declamations, to the proto-’harsh noise’ ear genocide of t.2, 3 + 7, to the anti-American sound collage on t.6, this absolutely kills with pure universalist hate unbound by any doctrine. Gone but not forgotten.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD


    yesss. no. YES!

  • Comment by finch, April 7th, 2013 4:09 pm
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w86EdQvNsfU

  • Comment by finch, April 7th, 2013 4:10 pm
  • hurts so good

  • Comment by Lord Gravestench, April 7th, 2013 5:21 pm

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