Industrial music

Industrial music

Infobox Music genre
stylistic_origins=Musique concrète, Fluxus movement , Performance art, Electronic Music, Krautrock, Noise music, Post-punk
cultural_origins=Mid 1970s; United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, United States
instruments=Synthesizer - Drum machine - Tape loops - Drums - Guitar - Found objects - Modified electronics (in latter incarnations were added Sequencer - Keyboard - Sampler)
popularity= Underground since its creation, a moderate peak during the mid-1990s
derivatives=EBM - Aggrotech - Industrial metal - Industrial rock - Ambient Industrial - IDM - Martial Industrial - Glitch
subgenrelist=List of electronic music genres
other_topics=Notable artists - List of noise musicians - List of post-industrial music genres and related fusion genres
Industrial music is a loose term for a number of different styles of experimental music, especially but not necessarily electronic music. The term was first used in the mid-1970s to describe the then-unique sound of Industrial Records artists. Since then, an extremely wide variety of labels and artists have since come to be called "Industrial."

The first industrial artists experimented with varying degrees of noise, production techniques and what, at the time, were considered controversial topics. Their production was not only limited to musical output. It also included mail art, performance art, installation pieces and other art forms. V.Vale. "", 1983.]

Originally, the term solely referred to music created by Industrial Records and related artists. As time progressed, the term began to refer to artists either directly influenced by the original movement, artists using an "industrial" aesthetic such as imagery devised around mechanical objects and industry itself and, more distantly, artists who were only minimally, often not at all, influenced or inspired by Industrial Records and related artists. The broadening of the term's musical definition has led to an overwhelming number of sub-genres and lines of influence.


"Industrial" was a term meant by its creators to evoke the idea of music created for a new generation of people, previous music being more "agricultural". A fatalist-but-realistic, slightly misanthropic and often intensely dehumanized or mechanical atmosphere was present in the music and the utilization of gritty, hands-on technologies and techniques, rather than any concrete compositional detail, was a common practice. Another common matter of industrial music is the use of found objects, such as trash cans and bottles.

On this topic, Peter Christopherson of Industrial Records once remarked, "The original idea of Industrial Records was to reject what the growing industry was telling you at the time what music was supposed to be."Fact|date=June 2007


Early influences

Luigi Russolo's 1913 work "The Art of Noises" is often cited as the first example of the industrial philosophy in modern music. After Russolo's "Musica Futurista" came Pierre Schaeffer and musique concrète, and this gave rise to early industrial music, which was made by manipulating cut sections of recording tape, and adding very early sound output from analog electronics devices.

Aside from the Futurism movement, also important in the development of the genre was the Dada art movement, and later the Fluxus and Surrealist art movements, as well as the 'found object' aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement. More recently, industrial acts have come into conflict with avant-garde art movements such as the arguments between Death in June and the Neoist Alliance.

Edgard Varèse was also a major pioneer in electronic music. His composition "Poème électronique", for example, debuted at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair in the Philips Pavilion.

Ralf Hütter initially described the music of Kraftwerk as "Industrielle Volksmusik" (Industrial People's Music)" in the group's earliest interviews.

Industrial Records

filename=Throbbing Gristle - What A Day.ogg|title="What a Day!" | description=Sample of "What a Day!" by industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle, from 20 Jazz Funk Greats|format=Ogg

"Industrial Music for Industrial People" was originally coined by Monte Cazazza TG CD I liner notes. P. Orridge states: "Monte Cazazza suggested our business slogan should be INDUSTRIAL MUSIC FOR INDUSTRIAL PEOPLE." [] ] as the strapline for the record label Industrial Records (founded by British art-provocateurs Throbbing Gristle, the musical offshoot of performance art group COUM Transmissions).

The first wave of this music appeared in 1977 with Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, and NON. These releases often featured tape editing, stark percussion and loops distorted to the point where they had degraded to harsh noise. Vocals were sporadic, and were as likely to be bubblegum pop as they were to be abrasive polemics.

Early industrial performances often involved taboo-breaking, provocative elements, such as mutilation, sado-masochistic elements and totalitarian imagery or symbolism, as well as forms of audience abuse.

Swedish rock act The Leather Nun, were signed to Industrial Records in 1978, being the first non-TG/Cazazza act to have an IR-release. Their only IR-release, Slow Death EP (IR 007, nov '79), rapidly climbed the alternative charts in the UK and was on power play on the influential John Peel BBC1 radioshow for two weeks in December '79.Fact|date=June 2007Bands like Test Dept, Clock DVA, Factrix, Autopsia, Nocturnal Emissions, Esplendor Geometrico, Whitehouse, Severed Heads and SPK soon followed. Blending electronic synthesisers, guitars and early samplers, these bands created an aggressive and abrasive music fusing elements of rock with experimental electronic music. Artists often used shock-tactics including explicit lyrical content, graphic art and Fascistic imagery; at the forefront of this were Croc Shop and Laibach. Industrial Records experienced a fair amount of controversy after it was revealed that it had been using an image of an Auschwitz crematorium as its logo for a number of years.

Across the Atlantic, similar experiments were taking place. In San Francisco, shock/performance artist Monte Cazazza (often collaborating with Factrix and Survival Research Labs/SRL) began working with harsh atonal noise. Boyd Rice (aka NON) released several more albums of noise music, with guitar drones and tape loops creating a cacophony of repetitive sounds. In New Zealand, experimental / art rock groups sprouted from the underground such as The Skeptics, Hieronymus Bosch (NZ), Fetus Productions, Ministry of Compulsory Joy and The Kiwi Animal.

In the rest of Europe, particularly in Italy, work by Maurizio Bianchi/M.B./Sacher-Pelz at the end of 1979/beginning of 1980, with some electronic/radiographic extreme works edited in a very limited edition ("Cainus", "Venus", "Cease To Exist", "Velours", "Mectpyo Blut" cassette-tapes, and "Symphony For A Genocide", "Menses", "Neuro Habitat" LPs).

In France, early artists influenced by Industrial Records included Vivenza, Art&Technique, Pacific 231, Étant Donnés, Le Syndicat and Die Form.

In Spain, industrial influenced projects are Esplendor Geométrico, La Otra Cara de un Jardín, Comando Bruno, Neo Zelanda, Avant Dernieres Pensees, Melodinamika Sensor and 32 Guajar´s Faraguit.

In Germany, Einstürzende Neubauten were performing daring acts, mixing metal percussion, guitars and unconventional "instruments" (such as jackhammers and bones) in elaborate stage performances that often damaged the venues they were playing in.

Conceptual elements

Industrial groups typically focus on transgressive subject matter. In his introduction for the "Industrial Culture Handbook" (1983), Jon Savage considered some hallmarks of industrial music to be organizational autonomy, shock tactics and the use of synthesizers and "anti-music". [Vale & Juno 1983, page 05.] Furthermore, an interest in the investigation of "cults, wars, psychological techniques of persuasion, unusual murders (especially by children and psychopaths), forensic pathology, venereology, concentration camp behavior, the history of uniforms and insignia" and "Aleister Crowley's magick" was present in Throbbing Gristle's work, [Ibid., page 09.] as well as in other industrial pioneers.

Post-industrial developments

filename=NIN - Closer.ogg|title="Closer" | description=Sample of "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails. The song, released in 1994, shows a fusion of industrial and rock music, and was described as "one of the year's unlikeliest hits". [cite web| url =| title = Nine Inch Nails: Biography| accessdate = 2008-07-19| author = Steve Huey| publisher = "allmusic"] |format=Ogg

Throughout the early to mid 1980s, the post-industrial movement began to emerge around the world. Coil, arguably the largest contributor to the evolution of Industrial music's original ideas, was formed by Jhonn Balance and Peter Christopherson after departing from Psychic TV in 1982 (debuting with "How to Destroy Angels" in 1984). Highly eclectic, through their career they touched on everything from acid house to drone music, the occult always a major influence in the group's themes and approach. Other acts like Skinny Puppy from Vancouver, Canada (debuting with Back and Forth in 1984), Front 242, the pioneers of EBM from Belgium (debuting with Geography in 1982), and Foetus from Australia (debuting with Deaf in 1981) are some of the most notable second-wave artists who helped popularize and redefine the genre amongst the underground music culture (and laying the foundations for most future sub-divisions of the genre).

In the early 1980s the Chicago-based record label Wax Trax! successfully helped to expand the industrial music genre into the more accessible electro-industrial genre. At the forefront were bands such as Chicago's Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Die Warzau as well as the German import, KMFDM. Wax Trax was one of the first labels to carry this new strain of punk-influenced Industrial music. It was one of the most widely respected labels of the genre.

By the late 80s, the scene had grown considerably as the music became a staple of the club scene - artists were emerging from all over the world and record sales of key artists were increasing rapidly. One of the biggest contributors to the new brand of industrial music was Nine Inch Nails' comparatively commercially-structured "Pretty Hate Machine", released in 1989. NIN performances began breaking the style into mainstream rock and punk culture at that point. Ultimately the band's accomplishments, alongside the likes of Ministry, led to the further development of not only the style as a whole, but of a number of rock and to an even greater degree, metal fusion sub-genres to later emerge.

The genre enjoyed relatively popular mainstream attention throughout the mid 1990's. Thanks to the charting success of albums such as Ministry's "" and Nine Inch Nails' "Broken", eventually leading to the multi-million selling releases of Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral". Soon thousands of new distantly industrial influenced musicians came onto the scene. In 1991 IndustrialnatioN Magazine began as an effort to document industrial music and culture.


ee also

* Cyberpunk
* Industrial (disambiguation)
* Cassette culture
* Martial music
* Neofolk
* Post-punk
* Rivethead

External links

* [ The "" USENET group FAQ file]
* [ The Unacceptable Face of Freedom: Totalitarian imagery & industrial music]
* [ IndustrialnatioN Magazine]
* [ Industrial music magazine]
* [ Essay on the Industrial Dance subgenre.]
* [ Musicology thesis on Industrial music.]
* [ Fabryka Industrial Rock webzine]
* [ Industrial music]

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