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Industrial Revolution A new publication aims to catalogue the UK industrial underground through the voices of those who were there

Industrial Revolution

A new publication aims to catalogue the UK industrial underground through the voices of those who were there

by Alan Rider, Contributing Editor
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

New forms of music driven by electronics were being combined with performance art, video, sculpture, re-imagining of industrial detritus and heritage, accompanied by an innovative DIY approach and an international network of like minds

D-GenD-Generation (or How We Got Here From There). Volume 1.1
(Ultra Mail Prod)

There are, of course, a plethora of magazines out there boasting cover CDs and inserts, but what makes D-Generation different is the counterculture subjects it covers, the overall presentation and attitude, and the independent nature of its publication, being very much a labour of love by Kevin Thorne (WeBeEcho).  This reminds me more than a little of the legendary Bay Area underground publication Re-Search, even down to the way it spells its name.  It is no coincidence then that this first edition also contains an article and interview with V.Vale, the creator of Re-Search and publisher of the iconic Industrial Culture Handbook that inspired so many on both sides of the Atlantic to form a new underground scene in the early ‘80s. I came across it myself then, and still treasure my well-thumbed and dog-eared copy now.

Also included in this first instalment is a description of activity at the Centre Iberico anarchist centre, reflections and recollections on life in the UK industrial underground, a piece on early adventures into electronics by Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder, and features on the acts WeBeEcho and Chandra Shulka.

The central theme running through D-Generation though is Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, mainstay of both Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, who appears on the cover pretending to play a violin and features in multiple photos, anecdotes, stories and articles inside from collaborators, witnesses, friends and band members including Jordi Valls (Vagina Detentata Organ), Dave Farmer (Nanavesh), former PTV member Alice Genese and Temple of Psychic Youth member Carl Abrahamsson.  The only thing missing is an article by Genesis himself, which is sadly not possible now he has passed away. The presentation of all of this is exceptional, including not only a CD full of rare tracks, but also a set of reproduction polaroids by Dave Farmer from the Beck Road, Hackney headquarters of Throbbing Gristle and Industrial Records, dubbed The Death Factory. They offer the feeling of peering into the viewfinder of a time machine. Genesis had the knack of being completely and strikingly photogenic at all times, as evidenced by the photos here and elsewhere in D-Generation.

To the uninitiated the events, places and personalities of the time can all sound like a dark, violent, almost cult-like counter culture, which was often how the authorities perceived it, but that would be wrong. Viewing it from the inside, as I did, it was a hugely creative period in the UK (and despite being produced in Hong Kong, D-Generation is entirely centred on the UK early industrial scene) where taboos were being explored and exploited, new forms of music driven by electronics were being combined with performance art, video, sculpture, re-imagining of industrial detritus and heritage, accompanied by an innovative DIY approach and an international network of like minds. As the writer Nick Soulsby aptly states in one of the articles, “1984-85 was an underappreciated and crucial fulcrum in the development of the UK’s underground music scene.” The merging of punk sensibilities and energy with early electronics, art and performance, and a confrontational style came together at just the right time to create a scene that still influences today.

As evidenced by the descriptions of the making of underground videos, early marketing techniques, and views from across the scene, it is clear that that short period in the UK was both formative and unique, very much a one off, an almost alchemical combination of elements that will not be repeated, and D-Generation can be seen as a valuable resource, capturing the thoughts and experiences of those who were present and active instigators before it is too late.


essentials
D-Generation is available from online sellers and through Bandcamp

Alan Rider
Contributing Editor

Alan Rider is a Norfolk based writer and electronic musician from Coventry, who splits his time between excavating his own musical past and feeding his growing band of hedgehogs, usually ending up combining the two. Alan also performs in Dark Electronic act Senestra and manages the indie label Adventures in Reality.


about Alan Rider »»

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