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This Way

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Album Review

This Way is Wire guitarist Bruce Gilbert's first solo album, and it took a few by surprise. Suddenly, the man revealed himself to be a strong experimental industrial composer. This Way combines Wire's lumbering rhythmics with Einsturzende Neubauten's noise, Conrad Schnitzler's approach to the synthesizer, and a little of Stockhausen for good measure. This is not a rock guitar player's album — although the guitar is in there providing raw materials — but an avant rocker's take on abstract music. The bulk of the album is taken up by "Work for Do You Me? I Did/Swamp," a piece commissioned by Michael Clark for a dance piece entitled Do You Me? I Did/Swamp. It takes up all of side A of the original LP and most of side B (Editions Mego's 2009 reissue retains the split). This piece starts off moody and ambient, with distant sirens and other disquieting sounds, then establishes a musique concrète-like atmosphere, before entering an industrial crescendo in its last third. It is a strongly evocative work, dark and definitely of its time (1984), but also forward-looking and experimental. The album rounds up with two shorter tracks: the six-minute "Here Visit" and the three-minute "U, Mu, U." The latter is a typical industrial chugger, the type of piece that could just as well announce the destruction of the world by machines or the destruction of machines. This album has aged surprisingly well, thanks to Gilbert's sense of drama. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: May 18, 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 work outside of that group, however, is at least as intriguing. Born in 1946, Gilbert was already 30 when Wire formed, a former art school student with a background in the British avant-garde music underground of the late '60s. This atypical interest is an enormous part of what made Wire so unlike the other...
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This Way, Bruce Gilbert
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