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Desertshore / The Final Report

X-TG

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Album Review

This emotional release from the remaining members of industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle began its incarnation in 2007 when the band re-formed for a series of dates at London's ICA. Interpreting Nico's classic 1970 album Desertshore in the only way TG could, the full lineup performed six two-hour sessions, with Genesis P-Orridge on vocals. But by 2010, after a couple of comeback shows, Genesis walked out, leaving Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and the late Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson to continue under the X-TG moniker. Sadly, in November 2010 and after only two shows together, Sleazy passed away. X-TG's Desertshore was Sleazy's project, and this release is a moving and personal tribute to him, as is The Final Report, which Cosey explained as a "signing off report" and a celebration of their time with Christopherson. While it takes a moment to get over the nagging unease over Genesis' absence (a very public fallout between the Psychic TV frontman and Chris & Cosey ensued after the release was announced), this two-disc package starts strongly with "Janitor of Lunacy." Sung by Antony Hegarty, it proves that it was an inspired idea by Sleazy to use guest vocalists in place of Genesis. The use of Einstürzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld on the tracks "Abscheid"

and "Mutterlein" is a snarling masterstroke, while European director Gaspar Noé provides a gnarling and powerful version of "Le Petit Chevalier." Additionally, Marc Almond lends his theatrical and unmistakable voice to the dramatic and shivering track "The Falconer," working beautifully with that of Cosey. However, it is Cosey herself who provides Desertshore's definite highlights. Taking the lead on "All That Is My Own" and "My Only Child," she gives the record its center. Recording two of what are considered to be Nico's most haunting and personal songs, Cosey underpins the emotional heart of this material with dark and grueling electronics on the former and a comforting change of tack on the latter. Former porn star Sasha Grey joins Noé in the surprise guest category with an anemic and misjudged version of "Alone." Finishing with "Desertshores," the album closer bids farewell to their beloved friend. "Meet me on the desert shore," requests each performer. Whether that's in the next life or beyond, it's hard not be moved by such a heartfelt and sincere tribute. The Final Report — the dense and fascinating second disc — was recorded by the three members of Throbbing Gristle before Sleazy's death and delivers the dark and punishing sounds that most TG fans value. Murky and claustrophobic, each track envelops you. Having named the record as a nod to their illustrious and bewitching history, one can't help but imagine what it would have sounded like with Genesis P-Orridge's input. Apart from this major quibble, The Final Report works cohesively and deserves to be heard in its entirety. Tracks such as "Stasis," "Um Dum Dom,"and "Gordion Knot" serve to remind listeners of the glorious and brutal beauty of a band that has sadly waved its final goodbye.

Desertshore / The Final Report, X-TG
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