Gristleizer + Reagan + Jones = Proof of Concept That There Is No Concept


Instead of working on actual songs this week, I decided to put the newly-finished Gristleizer mark II through its paces.  The goal was to use it to make a reasonably convincing pseudo-Throbbing Gristle track within the space of an afternoon. I was very happy with the results.

Therefore, I give you Throbbing Reagan Jones.  I’d say “Enjoy,” but it’s not really that kind of track, now, is it?

It’s nothing to take seriously, and it’s in no way shape or form the work of The Long Afternoon as a group, but since it sounds kinda creepy and we are coming up on Halloween, I thought I’d share it.

Here’s the details, if you’re interested:

All the “instrumental” audio was generated by a Casio WK-3000 keyboard on various audio settings run through the Gristleizer.  The low pulses and high whines were created by manipulating the Gristleizer’s speed control, and various tonalities were also tweaked by changing the Gristleizer’s wave form and adjusting the bias.

The four basic tracks — two low drones, the high-pitched whine, and the percussion — were dropped into Logic.  Aside from a little compression, no additional processing or manipulation was performed, so what you’ll hear is pretty much all due to the Gristleizer.

On top of this bed of noise, in acknowledgment of Throbbing Gristle* and the inspiration they drew from the work of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, I decided to use found audio and employ parts of the cut-up technique to see if any new meanings could be derived from melding two ostensibly independent documents.

Courtesy of the always-reliable archive.org, I soon had my elements.  (If you’re suspecting this is going to be in poor taste, you are absolutely right.)

First up was a recording of a pre-politics Ronald Reagan inveighing against the eeeeevils of socialized medicine.  I cut that into bite-sized snippets and dumped those, in order, into Logic.

My second audio source was the infamous final tape from Jonestown.  (This is a truly horrific document, and what I’ve done with it here in no way endorses, excuses, minimizes, nor mocks the cruelty and suffering that took place there. If the very idea of my using this audio this way disturbs or offends you, you shouldn’t bother listening to this.)  Again,  the document was cut into snippets, which were then dumped, sequentially, into Logic.

I decided to start and end with Jim Jones.  Each statement from Jones was followed by one from Reagan, creating a sort of conversation that begins about 30 seconds into the track and ends about 30 seconds before the entire track concludes.

I could pretend that I was trying to make some big point by juxtaposing the words of two leaders whose appeal always eluded me, and who left their followers in much worse shape than they were before.  (You’re entitled, of course, to feel differently about either one of them.)  The truth, though, is that I just needed to throw some audio on top of this horrible noise and the idea of putting these two together had a certain sick appeal to me.

Your mileage, as always, may vary.

*even if you know about/love/hate TG already, you really should do yourself a favor and read Mark Prindle’s reviews of their albums.  And everybody else’s albums.  He’s the best rock writer since Lester Bangs.  No, really, he is.

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