|Stylistic origins:||Musique concrete, Fluxus movement , Performance art, Electronic art music, Noise music|
|Cultural origins:||Early 1970s, London, Sheffield, United Kingdom,Germany, Vancouver, San Francisco, Chicago|
|Typical instruments:||Synthesizer - Drum machine - Tape loops - Drums - Guitar - Found objects - Modified electronics (in latter incarnations were added Sequencer - Keyboard - Sampler)|
|Derivative forms:||Techno - IDM - Trance - Synth pop - Futurepop - Glitch|
|EBM - Noise - Neofolk - Martial - Ambient industrial|
|Industrial metal - Industrial rock|
|List of subgenres|
Industrial music is a loose term for a number of different styles of electronic and experimental music. First used in the mid-1970s to describe the then-unique sound of Industrial Records artists, a wide variety of artists and labels have since come to be called "Industrial". This definition may include avant-garde performance artists such as Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten and Laibach; noise projects like Merzbow or Whitehouse; electronic body music/elektro acts such as Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb; electronic rock acts like KMFDM, Nine Inch Nails or Ministry; or writers J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs.
The term was meant by its creators to evoke the idea of music created for a new generation of people, previous music being more "agricultural." Specifically, it referred to the streamlined process by which the music was being made, although many people later interpreted the word as a poetic reference to an "industrial" aesthetic, recalling factories and inhuman machinery. 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."
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.
Also important in the development of the genre was the Dada art movement, and later the Fluxus art movement. Such an antecedent, maybe only by name, was Erik Satie terming his second set of Furniture music Sons industriels ("Industrial sounds", 1920).
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 and around the Atomium.
20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle
Industrial Music for Industrial People was originally coined by Monte Cazazza 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).
Early industrial performances would often involve taboo-breaking, provocative elements, such as mutilation, sado-masochistic elements and totalitarian imagery or symbolism.
The first wave of this music appeared in 1977 with Throbbing Gristle and NON, and 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.
Bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Factrix, DAF, Autopsia, Nocturnal Emissions, Esplendor Geometrico 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. Like their punk cousins, they enjoyed the use of shock-tactics including explicit lyrical content, graphic art and Fascist imagery. 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.
In the rest of Europe, particularly in Italy, the roots were planted by the non-musician/artist 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" LP's).
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 Germany, Einstürzende Neubauten were performing daring acts, mixing metal percussion, guitars and unconventional "instruments" (such as jackhammers) in elaborate stage performances that often damaged the venues they were playing.
Subgenres and related styles
- Main article: List of industrial music subgenres
It should be mentioned that there is much disagreement within the industrial scene as to the current state of industrial, to the extent that some are of the belief that there is no "current state of industrial", saying that industrial music ended with the demise of Throbbing Gristle and Industrial Records and that the idea of genre is antithetical to industrial music, while others use 'industrial' to refer to music having the industrial aesthetic such as noise/power electronics/death industrial, power noise and ambient industrial or as an umbrella term for genres that combine elements of the original wave of industrial music with other genres, such as electronic body music/elektro, industrial metal, industrial rock and industrial techno. The terms post-industrial and alternative electronic have also been used to describe genres spawned or influenced by the original industrial music movement.
- The rec.music.industrial usenet group FAQ file
- industrial.org: Providing an exhaustive industrial culture resource since 1994.
- Industrial Music Library: On-line repository for documents chronicling the origins of industrial music
- Page by music professor, includes several articles and copy of a PhD written about industrial music
- The Unacceptable Face of Freedom: Totalitarian imagery & industrial music
- Discover In Depth Reviews and Interviews of Industrial Music at Heathen Harvest
- Kunsthaus Promotions Official Website: London clubnights focusing on all aspects of Industrial Music