Sunday, 11 January 2009

Test Department

Today I was rediscovering Test Dept, a UK group from the 1980s who used large pieces of metal, assorted hammers, buzz-saws and so on to create a mesmeric industrial sound that was hugely original at the time, and ultimately lead to the whole "industrial music" scene I guess. They still sound good to me. Check them out here. I always appreciate musicians who are sensitive the economic and political context of their music. Too much music is de-contextualized and lacks meaning. This stuff might not be to everyone's taste, but at least you can see where they are coming from! This is not sugar-coated, over-produced, escapist pap. I wonder what happened to these guys. The bass player from one incarnation of the group is Vic Reeves, and he's been quite successful with his surreal brand of knockabout comedy.

Presumably this would be called performance art these days, and I guess that anyone making this kind of noise these days would create the sounds with synthesizers and sampling, rather than smashing real lumps of metal with huge great hammers! They were good.

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Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

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