Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Skinny Puppy ~ The Singles Collect (hits comp)

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Style: industrial, techno, greatest hits
Label: Nettwork
Year: 1999
Home: Vancouver, British Columbia

Members: Nivek Ogre ~ keyboards/guitar/vocals
cEvin Key ~ drums/keyboards/bass/guitar/vocals
D.R. Goettel ~ keyboards/sampler/bass

Additional: Dale Plevin ~ bass
Tom Ellard ~ tapes/samples
Wilhelm Schroeder ~ bass synth/b. vocals
Alien Jourgensen, Rave ~ guitar


I like industrial music, but the Marilyn Manson thrashing guitar type that verges on moody assaulting insanity. But, this ignores a whole spectrum of industrial where the guitars are replaced by synthesizers, loops, electronic drum beats, sound effects & odd vocals. The more ambiant, perhaps even dancefloor, end of the industrial genre ... though I'll let you try to define dance in this context, its not ballet anymore. A leader for the industrial goth movement is SP. Actually, they're more than a leader, but many consider them one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre back in 1984. I used to work with an industrial DJ here in NYC named DJ Angztek that loved this band, & introduced me to them. Now, he didn't make me a fan - I still don't know how to approach this music to truly appreciate it - but he introduced me to a wider range of industrial than I was familiar with. So, for him, I can't ignore the rest of the spectrum. For me, I still prefer the crunchy guitar industrial over this, as I hear too much of the synthesizer heavy New Wave in this ... for me New Wave brings to mind Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Depeche Mode & countless others. But, I find that New Wave full of lush melodies while this is cold & repetitious where the music feels like a background to wanna-be shocking vocals with the casual sound effect or sample thrown in for variety. But, I can see how some might find enjoyment in the sparseness of this, the modern industrial society feeling, the almost do it yourself looping & sampling, the anti-dance dance beat. It's music of rebellion as much as punk was. My problem is I'm unable to connect emotionally to any of its message & the music is just too barren for me except for a few songs. But, for those that want to investigate further, this compilation is a generally considered a good starting point. It brings together all of SP's career highlights over seventy minutes. You probably won't be disappointed. Well, most of their singles, while a few alternative or remixed versions are substituted that were released as singles. SP is famous for extensive amounts of remixes, so including such here only makes sense. This compilatoin is also nearly comprehensive. Nothing from their debut, Back & Forth, is featured, though this may be understandable given it was self-released, limited to 35 copies, & was previously reissued as part of SP's Back & Forth album series of remixes & outtakes. While their 1996 release The Process is also absent. Though this album, panned by critics, feature the label pressuring for a more Nine Inch Nails goth sound, & led to the departure of Nivek Ogre because of it. After its release SP was dropped by the label, while keyboardist Goettel died of a heroin overdose just before release. It's the album that killed the puppy so its understandable that it would be left off of this compilation. But, it's inclusion would make this compilation truly a historically spanning set of songs for the first part of SP's life, considering liner notes on The Process wrote "The End". Though, that album should be heard on its own in complete as it's a concept album about a psychotherapy cult from the 1960's known as The Process Church of the Final Judgement, which Ogre was introduced to by Trobbing Gristle member & pan-sexual experimenter Genesis P. Orridge. In 2000 Ogre brought SP back to life with a new album in 2004, with three more following through 2011 forming the second part of SP's life ... to be chronicled, one hopes, on The Singles Tion. But, outside of these two omissions & a few singles - which the casual or new fan probably won't mind the loss of or even realize - there's only one other fault & that is that the songs are not in chronological order, which would make this more interesting in terms of hearing a musical progression from dance to industrial goth, telling society to screw off all along the way. But, I will say as a non-fan, repeated listeners do wonder for wearing off the coldness & getting into some of trance-like moments & the heavy sound effect bits ... though, its very Rob Zombie in that way, so a bit of a bridge to the industrial I prefer. So, I might not be listening to SP much in the future, but I've given them a chance & for me that goes a long way in discovering & appreciating music. I was paying attention DJ Angztek when you had the radio blasting & you were doing your silly dance, though you didn't think I was! Yeah, I could dance to this in a club, though if I ever make it to the club Friday night we'll see as I'm so lazy about getting out, you know!

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