Throbbing Gristle - Part Two: The Endless Not

Throbbing Gristle
Part Two: The Endless Not

Released 2007 on Mute
Reviewed by Serotonin, 09/04/2007ce

When TG broke up in 1981, I was 15 months old, and on discovering and becoming hooked on their albums 18 years later, I never thought I'd see the day when a new TG album appeared. But then first TG NOW came out, and now The Endless Not develops on from that disc.

The album begins with 'Vow of Silence' to show that TG NOW was a work-in-progress, evolving further here - it's a powerful, twisted electronics piece that sets out the stall for the latter-day refined sound of TG.

After that, the album's pace shifts down a gear for a few tracks. 'Rabbit Snare''s slow, loping jazzy piano & cornet track sounds a lot like Coil circa Musick To Play In The Dark. Then the Chris Carter solo track, 'Separated', takes the album further into subtle dark ambience and atmospherics, building in intensity towards the end. 'Almost A Kiss' is a cleaned-up, condensed version of 'Almost Like This' from TG NOW - I can see the early-PTV comparisons that this track's been getting, but my instincts would be toward preferring the original. Perhaps that's just because The Endless Not's momentum seems to be getting alarmingly lost for such a legendarily extreme group by this point...

The next track, 'Greasey Spoon', puts things right though, and we're back into noisier electronic territory. Towards the end of this, the longest track on the album and a standout for me, it starts to sound reminiscent of the 1978 studio session known as 'TGCD1'. 'Lyre Liar' expands again on the TG NOW experiments; it's another solid rhythmic, electronics-laden track with GPO (sorry, GBPO now) chanting the title.

Cosey Fanni Tutti's spotlight piece, 'Above The Below', is next, and returns to similar dark ambient territory as her long-time partner's track earlier. It's good, but its 21st-century digital gloss did suddenly make me miss the audio-verite charm of Tutti's previous solo venture within TG, 'Hometime' on DOA.

Into the final quarter of the album (it's the vinyl I'm on here), and the album's title track is a beat-driven, melodic piece with a PTV feel and a subtle Coil undertone. Maybe this track more than most highlights the feeling that The Endless Not logically sounds like the summation of all the musical activities undertaken by the group members since TG's first incarnation. The penultimate track 'The Worm Waits Its Turn' certainly points to GBPO's last decade-or-so of work, its lyrics of death and decomposition recalling the Splinter Test album 'Thee Fractured Garden'.

The album closes with the all-too-brief 'After The Fall', the Peter Christopherson track. It's the definite standout among the tracks which make up the more subtle, ambient half of The Endless Not; whether or not, as many have read into it, it's an elegy for Jhonn Balance, it's still a superb dark, droning ending to TG's official return.

Apparently TG are recording more publicly-attendable studio sessions this summer. Here's hoping they continue to sound this good, and progress even further with their updated sound - although streamlined and refined for the 21st century, Throbbing Gristle still sound like no-one else could.

Side One:
Vow Of Silence (6:57)
Rabbit Snare (8:51)

Side Two:
Separated (4:46)
Almost A Kiss (6:43)
Greasey Spoon (9:27)

Side Three:
Lyre Liar (7:47)
Above The Below (4:27)

Side Four:
Endless Not (7:57)
The Worm Waits Its Turn (5:46)
After The Fall (4:02)

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