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The Shivering Man

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Album Review

Bruce Gilbert's second solo album, originally released in 1986, has had a strange history in the marketplace. Never previously available in the U.S. on compact disc, it has been reissued in conjunction with his first solo album, This Way, as This Way to the Shivering Man, and in Japan as part of a three-disc box set. For the album's 25th anniversary, the Editions Mega label finally gave it a full individual reissue with the addition of a video for the title track. The music will come as no surprise to fans of either Gilbert's solo work or his only slightly less strange work with post-punk idols Wire: it's certainly of its time, and its sound is arguably dated, but it's interesting nonetheless. "Angel Food," the heavily episodic, eleven-minute-long opening track, starts out with sounds of industrial dub, then shifts abruptly into a sort of briskly minimalist rock, then descends into grumbling, ambient industrialism with creepily distant vocals. The ideas are strung end to end rather than integrated in any meaningful way, which gives the proceedings a strangely amateurish feel, but not an unattractive one. Elsewhere, "The Shivering Man" comes across like the work of a more intellectually serious version of the Residents; "Net in the Feather" combines the sound of clanging iron bars and an electronic train engine with a mutant one-drop beat and cut-up bagpipes, and "Eline Cout II" creates a stark, trancey ambience with the help of swelling samples and a robotic new wave drum-machine beat. A must for fans of vintage avant-post-punk.

Biography

Born: 18 May 1946 in Watford, Hertfordshire, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Were his pioneering art punk work as the most experimentally inclined member of Wire Bruce Gilbert's only claim to fame, he would still be an important figure in the avant-pop world. Gilbert's...
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The Shivering Man, Bruce Gilbert
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