Album Review

X-TG – “Desertshore / The Final Report” – [Industrial Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/15/2013   12-inch, A Library

The agony and the X-TG. The former arising from the death of Peter
“Sleazy” Christopherson ) and the latter being Throbbing Gristle
with its P. Orridge all gone. Christopherson actually dying in
his sleep Nov 25th, 2010 before this double album was completed.
More than a swan song, it’s a schizophrenic taunt of what else
might have happened. The first disc, “Desertshore” reworks Nico
numbers into pop industrial incarnations, all Gristle has been
neatly trimmed, and the spotlight falls on the guest vocalists,
who in deference to the fallen Velvet princess, hover between
detached and morose. The harmonium in an opium den sound is
replaced by well-oiled synths and well-mannered drum machines,
if any thing the X-TG trio could have given themselves more
room to run and more room for ruin. But either as gracious
hosts to their vocalists, or wanting to leave pretty sculpted
flowers of sound on Nico’s grave and remain pure to the
original simple songs, X-TG’s work here is often subtle, tucked
in between verses or fading in the song’s denouement (like on
“The Falconer” where you want an extended mix to add on 5 mins)

Antony kicks things off, and never has the former linebacker sounded
more the ingenue. Blixa’s blitz on “Abschied” is hard-pressed
to match the power of the original, although the X-TG touches
here are excellent. He returns on “Mutterlein” I think his vocal
personality just overpowers these numbers. He’s marching where
Nico was moaning. “Le Petit Chevalier” features Gaspar Noe as a nasty
sexbot on vox. Cosey Fanni Tutti steps away from the sound engine
and into a gentle reverb blurbed mic for “My Only Child” an icy
sweet lullaby cradled in whooshes.

That’s not even all of the Nico tracks, but there’s a whole second
disk awaiting. For those of you who prefer to be far from the human
voice (and perhaps from humans as well), dig into the Final Report.
Granted voices may be buried in fluttery vacuums (“Breach”) or
inhumanely doctored (“Um Dum Dom”) but the focus on these is pulled
from factory tribe rhythms, and then curved electronics carve out
time-space slices. Connections to 35 years of “Jazz Funk Greats”
emerges into “Space Jazz.” I do think fans of ambient drift will dig
here the headspace (especially with headphones superglued on)
the mix of pretty and creepy are well measured here.

If the last track here is “The End” this is a german Abschied…
-Thurston Hunger

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