Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music

Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music

Title:Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780199832583
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:361 pages

"Industrial" is a descriptor that fans and critics have applied to a remarkable variety of music: the oildrum pounding of Einsturzende Neubauten, the processed electronic groans of Throbbing Gristle, the drumloop clatter of Skinny Puppy, and the synthpop songcraft of VNV Nation, to name just a few. But the stylistic breadth and subcultural longevity of industrial music suggests that the common ground here might not be any one particular sound, but instead a network of ideologies. This book traces industrial music's attitudes and practices from their earliest articulations--a hundred years ago--through the genre's mid-1970s formation and its development up to the present and beyond.

Taking cues from radical intellectuals like Antonin Artaud, William S. Burroughs, and Guy Debord, industrial musicians sought to dismantle deep cultural assumptions so thoroughly normalized by media, government, and religion as to seem invisible. More extreme than punk, industrial music revolted against the very ideas of order and reason: it sought to strip away the brainwashing that was identity itself. It aspired to provoke, bewilder, and roar with independence. Of course, whether this revolution succeeded is another question...

Assimilate is the first serious study published on industrial music. Through incisive discussions of musicians, audiences, marketers, cities, and songs, this book traces industrial values, methods, and goals across forty years of technological, political, and artistic change. A scholarly musicologist and a longtime industrial musician, S. Alexander Reed provides deep insight not only into the genre's history but also into its ambiguous relationship with symbols of totalitarianism and evil. Voicing frank criticism and affection alike, this book reveals the challenging and sometimes inspiring ways that industrial music both responds to and shapes the world.

Assimilate is essential reading for anyone who has ever imagined limitless freedom, danced alone in the dark, or longed for more noise.


    Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music Reviews

  • Baal Of

    A number of reviewers have slagged this book off for being only about Throbbing Gristle and Genesis P. Orridge, at least for the first half, but that is a rather unfair and inaccurate assessment. This...

  • Mary K

    Who knew Sarah Mclachlin used to be goth? I learned so much.Other reviewers have kvetched about how this book focused too much on Throbbing Gristle, ~tarnished industrial's image~ by talking about the...

  • Vrinda Pendred

    This book seriously frustrated me – to the point where I started it last year and only picked it up again and finished it this week. I will preface the rest of my review by saying I grew up with ind...

  • Ed Erwin

    I listened to lots of Industrial music from the mid-80s to mid-90s. There were few resources (that I knew) for information about the groups and their albums. So I had little choice but to pick albums ...

  • David Nesbit

    I absolutely loved this book front to back. Now with that in mind keep in mind I am a music obsessive. If you are a casual fan of the genre this book may not be for you. On the other hand if you want ...

  • Mikael

    I now know more than I ever knew, and likely also more than I ever wanted to or needed to know about the historical and political background of industrial music.And, quite frankly, this book was not a...

  • Nate

    Even if you are not a fan of Industrial Music, Reed's treatment of music,art, and culture in the last half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century will offer an insightful and com...

  • Mills College Library

    781.64809 R326 2013...

  • Leftjab

    3.5 stars. I found it uneven, but it is a must-read for even the most neophyte-ish listeners of “industrial” music. Came of age in the 90s so I loved Nine Inch Nails but then dove into Coil, Front...

  • Benjamin Manglos

    One of the better contemporary books about music I've read, particularly concerning an "alternative" musical genre. It still suffers from a bit of the excessive politicizing that blights most contempo...