Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Throbbing Gristle
Five Knuckle Shuffle b/w We Hate You Little Girls


Released 1981 on Adolescent
Reviewed by Lugia, 06/01/2004ce


Sometimes, the amazing stuff isn't on an album. Sometimes the really amazing stuff comes in fits, bursts, and conniptions.

Like this one.

This is one of those things by Gen, Sleazy, Chris and Cosey that's sort of evaded a lot of attention. And I'm not sure why, as it's really fun in an abrasive sort of way. Sort of like snorting Bon Ami cleanser; the pain and such is a total bitch, but the adrenalin rush from the sheer mindlessness of it MAY be worth the hassle.

Side A of this 7" is the 33 RPM side. And it's TG in a really Luddite, thuddy style. Lo-fi? U bet! Over this "chunka-cha-chunk-chunk" bass thud that your dog could play, the rest of the group keeps making that amazing TG sound...Cosey's 'vacuum-cleaner-from-hell' guitar, Chris's plinger-squee-phaseo keyboards, and then Sleazy's audio manglification. It's classic TG as Gen gets into this chant-rant that starts off sounding like "Yer gonna do situuuuups", but which probably is Enochian or a quote from porn film dialogue or something. At one point, police sirens make an appropriate intrusion. It all just clatters and thuds along nicely, like you'd expect, for about 5 minutes. Nice stuff. It's not one of the jaw-dropping TG things, like, say, "Subhuman" or "What A Day" (to cite a couple in a similar style), but it's satifyingly industrially good.

Then you flip the record over. Holy mother o' god...

You're immediately greeted at the door by Jean-Luc Ponty. However, something's wrong. It doesn't sound right. He's been into the ether and phenobarb. Then this wash of total audio CRUD, like some sort of serious equipment failure coupled with a ruptured LP gas tank, wells up with ultra-cheapo phase-shift, and Gen starts screaming bloody frickin' MURDER..."WEEEEE HAAATE YOUOOO...LITTLE GIIIIIIIRRRLLLSSS!!!! IIIIIII HAAAAAATE YOUUUUUUU!!!!" and so forth. As things progress, the band blasts away at the ventilator-damage noise only as Gen's screaming is on, and then pauses, and blasts, and pauses...it's short, maybe only 2 minutes, but it's an astounding assplosion of SHEER RACKET that's right up there on the richter with The Stooges "LA Blues" or Lou's glorious "MMM" or Merzbow's tinnitus problem! Oh, yeah...THIS is what you bought the record for! When it stops, dentures are clean, all bugs are dead, and the shine's been sandblasted clean off your beautiful kitchen linoleum.

I'm sure Gen was trying to be scary, but that's not the effect you get here. Instead, it's one of those evil glee moments, when you've found this amazing new device that can obliterate any rational thought. Sort of like ketamine, but much shorter-lasting. I give it an eleventy-three out of five, Dick.


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