- Series: 33 1/3 (Book 54)
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (December 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826427936
- ISBN-13: 978-0826427939
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.4 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Throbbing Gristle's Twenty Jazz Funk Greats (33 1/3) Paperback – January 1, 2008
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“Daniel writes evocatively of his own experience with 20 Jazz Funk Greats, which he discovered as an adolescent looking for more extreme forms of music, but the best passages in the book are his Q&A's with the band members, who remain as confrontational and confounding as ever.” ―Stephen M. Deusner, Pitchfork
About the Author
Drew Daniel is one half of the acclaimed electronic group Matmos - successful in their own right, and also as collaborators with Bjork. Drew has taught the history of electronic music at the San Francisco Art Institute and a sound art seminar at Harvard. He has just moved to Baltimore, where he now teaches in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University.
Top Customer Reviews
With 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Throbbing Gristle attempt --in their own profoundly warped way-- to make peace with pop music's influence upon them; at the same time, the album plays out with such profound ambivalence --running hot and cold all at once, constantly vacillating between attraction and repulsion and back again-- that its exploration of "pop" becomes heavily weighted --its like a mille-feuille of ironic distance. Upon its release in 1979, TG's third full-length album was received with head-scratching condescension for the most part. Daniel's artfully written little volume makes the case for this strange, unlikable album and its often unpalatable charms.
Alluring and repellent in equal measure, the group's masterwork remains indelible for the ways in which it reworks the last vestiges of 60s optimism (as evinced in psychedelia and prog) with the darker, more ambivalent strains of punk and post-punk. In this way the band doesn't simply straddle genres but whole philosophical, moral and sexual divides. This is what makes their music so enduringly strange and repugnant --yet fascinating.
I fell into this book like Alice down an unfathomably dark rabbit-hole. It reads like a riveting detective novel, so concisely has Daniel (AKA one half of Matmos) woven personal history (both TG's and his own), (un)reliable narration (thanks to the members of TG themselves, contradictory bastards the lot of them), close dissection (a forensic/anatomic tack being particularly appropriate with TG) and overarching pop-cultural critique.
I haven't read Steven Ford's Wreckers of Civilisation, but this tiny volume on only one album in the massive TG oeuvre situates the group so powerfully in the appropriate historical, personal, and musical contexts that I never wanted the book to end. It's a vivid, revealing, and very personal work that is beautifully written from start to finish, and my favorite of the 33 1/3s so far.
Unfortunately there is precious little TG reading material available out there at a decent price-do a search for "Wreckers Of Civilization" and you'll see what I mean-and as such this book is a great find for a good price. My ONLY complaint is that I feel he should have covered an earlier album. "20 Jazz Funk Greats" remains for me an ok album by a great band. But the passion he devotes to this album more than makes up for its deficiencies.
I was especially drawn into the discussion on the artwork as critique of the audience, where, as with Michael Haneke's film Funny Games, songs like Persuasion and Convincing People struggle to walk a fine line between artistic statement and hypocritical exploitation of subject matter.
The trivia gem that Cosey appears briefly in the nightclub scene to Sylvester's extended video for Mighty Real was worth the price of admission alone. It's that sort of attention to detail you can't put a price on but the publisher did and thank goodness it was so reasonable.