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Author Topic: A Foetus Buyer's Guide (UPDATED)  (Read 30897 times)


poetryslam
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A Foetus Buyer's Guide (UPDATED)
« on: March 11, 2009, 02:05:14 AM »
UPDATED 11.19.10

so, i was thinking the best way to introduce someone to the world of jim Thirlwell, and i was thinking it might be cool to come up with a buyer's guide to new fans and potential fans of foetus.
 
i am sure i'll have different ideas than other fans of clint ruin, so i am eager to hear other input. either way, it's all about honoring my favourite creative entity of the last 30 years. so bring it.
 
here are my recommendations. first, let's cover Classic Foetus, which covers the '80s to the very early '90s.
 
1] THE FIRST CD YOU SHOULD BUY
 
Nail
 
you have to start somewhere, and this, in my less than humble opinion, is as good a place as any to begin a life-love love affair with all things foetus. to me, this is the very best of the classic foetus sound, the very apex of his creative peaks of the '80s. it's got everything i love about his music: the twisted stories, the alienation, the growling vocals, the command of atmosphere and tension, and it's a masterpiece showcase of those foetus drums. that intense sense of rhythm and mayhem is in full effect here, and if you want to witness j. g. Thirlwell at his very best, this is it, his magnum opus. if you only have one foetus album in your entire collection, make it this one.
 
Highlight Tracks: descent into the inferno; enter the exterminator; di-1-9026; pigswill. (really, all of them... it's all brilliant.)
 
2] THE NEXT TWO ALBUMS YOU NEED TO BUY
 
Hole
Thaw
 
with the addition of these two crucial albums, the trilogy that makes up the mountain range of creative peaks of jim Thirlwell's '80s output is complete. Hole features work that is just as rhythmic and vital and kick ass as anything on Nail, but it also displays the transition between the early style of foetus displayed on Ache and Deaf and the more complex genius of Nail and Thaw. and Thaw takes the masterpiece that is Nail and advances it and enfuses it with an anger and bitterness that burns deep.
 
if you want the very best work in the most creative time of j.g. Thirlwell's musical life, you cannot do without Hole, Nail, and Thaw. absolutely fucking brilliant, and not a weak track on any of them. this is Classic Foetus.
 
Highlight Tracks of Hole: street of shame; i'll meet you in poland, baby; satan place.
Highlight Tracks of Thaw: english faggot; don't hide it, provide it; hauss on fah.
 
3] FILLING IN THE GAPS
 
Sink
Butterfly Potion
 
now, you ain't done yet if you are looking for that mighty mountain of '80s work excreted by the man once known as clint ruin. some of the best work issued under the foetus moniker was released between albums in the form of 12-inchers and as tracks on compilations. if you only collect the trilogy of Hole, Nail, and Thaw, you are really missing some brilliant work, and you can fill in those gaps with one purchase: Sink. it's a career-spanning collection of old shit, new shit, and instrumental shit that would otherwise be very difficult to gather on your own, and the whole album stands toe-to-toe with the best works on the trilogy albums. plus Sink serves as a great introduction to jim Thirlwell's orchestral and atmospheric works that serve as soundtracks to movies yet to be made. this albums serves as a perfect capper to a tremendously creative period for jim Thirlwell, and... for a long time... i really thought it was the headstone on his career. that sucks to type... but that's how it ended up feeling, like Sink was the last gasp of a great man... thank goodness i was SO wrong. and you gotta get the Butterfly Potion ep to get the kick ass stragglers Free James Brown and the title track.
 
Highlight Tracks of Sink: boxhead; ramrod; dead christian; okfm.
Highlight Tracks of Butterfly Potion: free james brown; butterfly potion.
 
4] INTENSE SOUNDSCAPES AND TWISTED SYMPHONIES
 
Steroid Maximus - Quilombo
Steroid Maximus - Gondwanaland
 
if you enjoyed the instumental work on Sink, then you'll love these collections. all the foetal drums and rhythmic cacophany and densely layered atmspherics displayed on earlier instrumental works taken to a higher level of focus and intensity. so... fucking... good. it makes you wish for movies that are worthy of such brilliant work. perfect headphone music.
 
Highlights of Quilombo: life in the greenhouse effect; fighteous; quilombo.
Highlights of Gondwanaland: powerhouse; volgarity.
 
5] THE SIDE PROJECT
 
Wiseblood - Dirtdish
Wiseblood - PTTM (ep)
 
getting these two is like discovering lost foetus albums you never knew about, and the music on these is, again, just as good, just as crucial, just as amazing as anything on the big threesome of Hole, Nail, and Thaw. it just boggles the mind to behold such a creative output that is so consistently great. i love these joints, and even though the ep only has four song, at least one of them is near the top of my favourite songs by jim Thirlwell. the album is harder and darker than the trilogy, plus it has less of the "skiddle-de-WAH WAH" satanic chorus type stuff, but it's still amazing.
 
Highlight Tracks of Dirtdish: o-o where evil dwells; stumbo; godbrain.
Highlight Tracks of PTTM: greased nipples!
 
6] FOR FANS WHO NEED IT ALL
 
Deaf
Ache
 
here's where people are going to be getting all up in my face, but i will stand by what i will say. these first two early albums bearing the foetus name are hit and miss affairs that showcase a Thirlwell still learning to use the studio as an instrument, and some of the work is amazing... and some of it kinda sucks... and is annoying... and it's so different sonically from the later albums, that i find them hard to listen to all the way through. i have cherry-picked the best tracks off these two joints so i don't have to listen to all of them, and i have to admit that these best tracks are amongst my favourites. but the rest? fans only.
 
Highlight Tracks of Deaf: new york or bust; i am surrounded by incompetance; negative energy.
 
Highlight Tracks of Ache: j.q. murder; wholesome town.

UPDATE: i have to say that i have listened to both of these albums quite a lot since i wrote this buyer's guide, and my appreciate of both of these albums has vastly increased, especially for the first one. they still stand out from what came next, obviously, since these are the earliest works, but they really are much better than i let on in the original buyer's guide. i say go for the ones i suggest first, then dive into these to see where it all began.
 
***
 
okay, that pretty much covers the classic foetus works in my mind. there are other things you could pick up if you are a freak, but really, if you are as big of a freak for foetus as i am, then you don't need to be told what those things are. if you actually made it all the way this far, then you are the kind of person who needs everything the man ever did, so knock yourself out since nothing i say will sway you at this point.
 
i will say this, though...
 
7] AVOID ALL LIVE ALBUMS
 
Rife
Male
Boil
 
this not only proves that foetus never really translated from a studio project to a live entity, but also shows that shitty sound quality can rob even the decent tracks of any joy. fuck these albums. they suck.
 
i saw foetus back in los angeles in the early '90s at some place called helter skelter, and ethyl meatplow opened up, and i remember thinking then that i was underwhelmed. i want to believe that foetus live can rock, but nothing i have ever witnessed has led me to believe it works as a live band thing. i am SO willing to be proved wrong, so consider this a challenge.
 
***
 
by the time i got to this point in my foetus listening career, things seemed to slow down quite a bit. enough time passed without a major release, that i started thinking something bad had happened. was it drugs? was it suicide? where was jim Thirlwell, especially after that slew of late '80s releases? he seemed to just kinda disappear for a while, then he came out with his so-called major label debut.
and what a stinker.
 
i don't care what you think, but Gash took all my hopes for a return to greatness and dashed them with a largely unlistenable exercise in gaining access to all the toys you'd ever want and squandering your chance to make a masterwork. the sound mix sucks. the songs suck. fuck this album. when i heard it, i washed my hands of foetus and lost hope that i'd ever hear new work worth supporting.
 
8] AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE
 
Gash
 
Highlight Tracks: well... verklemmnt is kinda cool, although the remix version on Null/Void smokes it; part of slung is cool, but it kinda shows that jim works better with sampling classic jazz riffs better than he does with a live jazz band. fuck this album. it's bloody awful.

UPDATE: i have to say that i still listen to this album the least of all the albums, and i still, despite numerous attempts to listen to it and appreciate it... yeah... i still hate the way it sounds. i still hate what it represents to me. i still hate the this was, for a long time, the last foetus album i was ever going to hear. i am SO glad this is not the swan song of j.g. Thirlwell. thank goodness that foetus caught back on fire.
 
***
 
as if i didn't need more reason to lose hope, the next thing i got hold of was even worse than Gash, and even more unlistenable.
 
9] FUCK THIS
 
York
 
Highlight Tracks: none. the whole thing is shit.

UPDATE: the whole thing is still shit.
 
***
 
i lost all hope for jim Thirlwell, but i was still hopeful that someday i would hear some new work that sparked my interest. it took a while, but finally... finally... we entered into the newest period of creative brilliance. it not only stoked my foetal fires all over again, but it made me look backward to make sure my damning opinions of jim Thirlwell's work post-'80s.
 
and it's only gotten better...
 
so, without futher delay, here are the crucial works of late period jim Thirlwell.
 
10] THIS FOETUS HAS CAUGHT BACK ON FIRE
 
Flow
 
i love love love this album! there is nothing on it that is not brilliant and doesn't showcase the very best that jim Thirlwell has to offer. every song is crucial. every song is just as good as anything he's ever done, and this is even more exhilarating when compared to the crapfests of Gash and York. if this is what he was building up to, then the wait was worth it. to hear new work in the present tense was enough to make me forgive and forget all my doubts. absolutely brilliant.
 
Highlight Tracks: everything... not a bad song on it, not a single song that is not crucial to the foetus legacy. this album brought me back in when i thought i had washed my hands of any hope that this foetus could catch back on fire.
 
11] MORE SOUNDTRACKS FROM ALIEN CULTURES
 
Steroid Maximus - Ectopia
Manorexia - Volvox Turbo
Manorexia - Radiolarian Ooze
 
this trio came bursting out of Thirlwell in a rush right after the monster that was Flow, and it's as if he had something to prove. i would have never guessed he would even come close to equalling the glory of Quilombo, but goddamn it if he not only equalled it, but bested it with Ectopia. holy crap! and then immediately following that up with Radiolarian Ooze, which is every bit its equal? i was just blown away by the trio of Flow, Ectopia, and Radiolarian Ooze. that also leaves volvox turbo, and while i don't think it's as good as the other ones, it's still really good. very different. more meditative. less rhythmic.
 
12] FILLING IN THE GAPS
 
Damp
Null / Void
 
i just don't understand how one person can be so creative for such a long time as jim Thirlwell and operate at such a high level. he is just amazing. look at these two releases for examples. they simply stitch together the random tracks that never made it onto albums of their own, bits from compilations, remixes, other side projects, and yet each one of these plays as their own unique entity. so good! and i have to say that it amazes me that 25 years after discovering this guy's musical genius, he could come out with something at this point that trumps everything that has come before it, and yet that's exactly what he's done with "hemo the cuckold," which is by far my very favourite thing he's ever done. it's fucking amazing, and i am so glad he is PRESENT TENSE and i am not talking about some album that came out 20 years ago, i mean, this is his best work! i am so fucking happy!
 
Highlight Tracks of Null / Void: iris evergreen; verklemmt (protecto mix).
Highlight Tracks of Damp: i hate you all; hemo the cuckold; seive.

13] GETTING BETTER WITH EACH LISTEN

Love

go ahead. hate on me. i want jim to try new shit, and the fact that he followed up Flow with something COMPLETELY different is very brave and shows he is not content to dish out the same stuff, but this harpsichord drenched collection simply does not stand up to Flow and Damp. it feels like a little side project thing that grew into a full album, but i still haven't fallen for it. there are some tracks that are growing on me, but it doesn't have the crucial stuff that makes me love foetus. i am still working on it.

Highlight Tracks: time marches on... i don't know what else so far... i have my hopes... but so far, it hasn't happened for me.

UPDATE: it took forever for this album to finally get to me, but after HIDE was released, it all finally made sense. i still don't like it when jim tries to actually sing, but this set has really grown on me so much since HIDE came out. i can see the connections now, and i am really digging it the more i listen to it and accept it for what it is rather than strain against what i wanted it to be.

14] FOR FANS OF STEROID MAXIMUS

Venture Brothers Soundtrack

oh my goodness, i love this joint so much! it's like all that work on steroid maximus has culminated into one massive work, and i am so glad this was released. i hope for more collections of his venture brothers soundtrack work in the future, because this is really just so perfect, every note, every song, everything on here is right up there with the best stuff Thirlwell has ever done. i cannot recommend it highly enough.

15] AVANT GARDE CHAMBER MUSIC

Manorexia - The Mesopelagic Waters

this is very definitely not for everyone. it's challenging music. it's atonal. it's dissonant. it's not pretty. it's meant to fill the listener with unease. but it's like those recordings of the bulgarian women's choirs that got so popular amongst world music fans in the early '90s... it's bizarre cacophony that somehow makes sense and become more oddly beautiful the more you listen to it.

16] THE EARLIEST AUDIO CONSTRUCTIONS

Limb

again, this is not for everyone, as it is very challenging. if you favourite foetus album is GASH, you might just hate this. however, if your favourite stuff includes manorexia, steroid maximus, and the instrumental work on SINK, then you're gonna love this treasure trove of early experimental work. you can totally see a young Thirlwell squatting in some cold water flat all by himself while hunching over a pair of recorders trying all kinds of odd shit to mimic his heroes and create his own musical vocabulary. i love it very much, but, again, it ain't for everyone.

17] A BOLD ARTISTIC STATEMENT THAT DOES NOT COMPROMISE

Hide

oh yeah... this one... i have to admit, it frustrated and infuriated me upon first listen. in fact, i can honestly say, i was both overwhelmed and disappointed in the work as a whole, so much so that i just put it away and threw up my hands. it was just too much to process. but the more i listened to it, the more it made sense to me, and now, a few months after its release, i can honestly say this is the one burning up my itunes more than any other foetus album. i am still pissed that the vocals on "sisyphus" are buried in the mix, i genuinely love this album and the advance it represents. Thirlwell is a genuine artist who is not content to deliver the same sound as other album, and he takes what he has done and lifts it to a new level with each release. hell yeah.

****

so, here's the big wrap-up. i'd love to hear what you think, because i am sure i will be hammered for a lot of these choices. hit me with all you got!

CRUCIAL ALBUMS YOU MUST OWN RIGHT NOW

Hole
Nail
Thaw
Sink
Butterfly Potion EP
Dirtdish
PTTM EP
Quilombo
Ectopia
Radiolarian Ooze
Flow
Damp
Null / Void Double-EP
Venture Brothers Soundtrack
Hide

GOOD FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION

Deaf
Ache
Gondwanaland
Volvox Turbo
Love
Blow
The Mesopalegiac Waters
Limb

INTERESTING BUT NOT CRUCIAL

Safari to Mumbooba
Stinkfist
Don't Fear the Reaper
Vein

AVOID AT ALL COSTS

Gash
Rife
Male
Boil
York
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 03:38:57 PM by poetryslam »


DJ PIGG
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2009, 10:51:27 AM »
Wow, that's some SERIOUS journalism!  Well done.  :)

OBVIOUSLY, I disagree in part with some of what you say but most I would agree with wholeheartedly.

I think 'Gash' isn't as awful as you make out.  Sure, it's no 'Nail', 'Hole' or 'Dirtdish' but then those three ARE the holy trinity.

You're right about the live albums... they're not too hot.  I'd rather see Jim doing a Young Gods-type gig, where all the weird noises came from a keyboard (where most of them probably originated) rather than trying to convert samples into things guitarists can play.


rynne
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2009, 10:46:47 AM »
Nice overview.  I usually recommend Nail as a starter as well.  But I think Sink is an equally good place to start because it's so heterogeneous.   Nail is the point where all of Jim's facets (industrial noise, jazz, classical, etc.) come together at once, but Sink pulls those same facets apart to better show his eclecticism. 

And here's where I'll go a little contrarian: I've found that Gash makes a good introduction (caveat: I've always thought Gash was the most underrated of Jim's albums.  Not his best, but far from terrible).  First of all, it's probably the easiest Foetus disc to pick up for cheap: if you've got a well-stocked used record store nearby, there's a good chance there's a copy of Gash lying around (thanks for producing so many, Sony!).  Second, it's a good way to ease people into Foetus.  Whether at Sony's instance or because Jim employed more live musicians or by coincidence, Gash's overall sound is guitar-heavy and in the same vein as mid-90s NIN or Ministry, which will appeal to folks who may not quite be ready for something as idiosyncratic as Nail.  I know a couple of people who've taken this route to getting into Jim's music, and a few who adore Gash despite not having any other Foetus albums.

Of course, now that The Venture Bros. is a hit, some folks may want to start out with Steroid Maximus.

...and I quite like most of the live albums.  Rife does an excellent job of translating the Thaw material.  Male has some great highlights, too---I prefer the live versions of "Butterfly Potion" and "Free James Brown" to the studio versions---though the end of the second disc drags.  But yeah, Boil is kinda awful.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 02:56:06 PM by rynne »


NodmiTheSellout
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 02:23:32 AM »
I'll agree that Boil is no good, and isn't fair. :( It was the only Foetus CD I ever spotted in a record store and I was so excited to actually look through and see a band I liked. I bought it and listened to it on the plane, and it. . .uh. . .well let's just say I don't even remember what songs were on it, so it couldn't have been any good.


lakibuk
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2009, 06:54:18 PM »
Well writen review or what you call it.

My first Foetus CD was RIFE, didn't know it's live. After that i kind of ignored Foetus for like 10 years. Just discovered his music recently.
GASH:
I think it's a good album, some brilliant songs on it (Mighty Whity, Take it outside Godboy, Mutapump, ...). Bad sound recording though.
LOVE:
I love this album. Some tracks are my most played Foetus songs (Mon agonie douce). Definitely a must-have for me.
Your comment fits here: "I just don't understand how one person can be so creative for such a long time as jim Thirlwell and operate at such a high level."
DAMP:
I find it pretty mediocre.

Steroid/Manorexia: I know a lot of JGT fans dig this stuff, but i am not too thrilled by the 2 albums i got: Ectopia/Volvox.


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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 01:35:09 AM »
probably the most comprehensive buyer's guide i've ever read - wow!   :o

my two cents:
i didn't like GASH for the first few months, and then, like a fungus, it grew on me.  it's in my top 5 now.
agreed -BOIL does indeed suck due to the production (or lack thereof), and shouldn't have been released.
i'm not a fan of Lydia Lunch's work at all, so YORK is also on my "unnecessary" list.
regarding NAIL, i'm jaded as it was my first exposure in 1985, and, probably the perfect introduction back when it came out.  not sure how it would hold up today, for someone listening for the first time in the year 2009, but back then it really opened my eyes - the album artwork, the insert, the songs...and then realizing it was just one person!
i love Butterfly Potion just for "Your Salvation" - it is probably my #1 fave Foetus track.  i don't know why, i just love it!
i'm also very fond of the original tracks from the V/A releases An Afflicted Man's Musica Box and Bethel, all "4" of which i am almost positive will be on LIMB.


lakibuk
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2009, 02:48:16 AM »
Have you listened to HOLE, NAIL or THAW?
Sure. And i agree with you guys - it's Foetus at his best. Utterly brilliant.
Just wanted to write about albums i have a different opinion of as the original poster.


DLJ
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 12:19:03 AM »

i'm also very fond of the original tracks from the V/A releases An Afflicted Man's Musica Box and Bethel, all "4" of which i am almost positive will be on LIMB.


Hmmm. I am not sure if "Primordial industry/Industrial go slow" will be included on LIMB as they were presented in a re-hashed/re-edited version on SINK. I can't wait for the track listing though.

...what i'm hoping is they will be cleaned up (audio quality-wise) and presented as they were originally, not as edited on SINK.


chr15
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 08:56:22 PM »
I'm sorry but I must disagree with you on a few points.  First of all avoid Gash like the plague?  What?  this is one of the most essential albums to get.  I can never undersatnd why so many dislike this album.  The only two reasons I can think of are: people can't get past the less than stellar mastering job & people dislike the harsher guitar driven/industrial sound of the album...  I myself listen to a lot of industrial and metal as well as many other styles so it's not a stretch for me at all.  To tell you the truth Gash would probably be my all time favorate Foetus album if not for the unfortunate thing with the sound quality, because of that my favorate album to listen to is probably Flow instead.  But songs like Slung, Hammer Falls, Mighty Whity... this is Foetus in its finest form.  Just make sure you listen to it on a good stereo system or high def headphones.

Also while hole, nail, and Dirtdish are all amazing, they do sound somewhat dated production wise.  I think it would be a mistake to start most people on these albums right away for that reason.  Most people will have a hard time getting into it right off the bat unless they are especially into music from the 80's/early industrial etc.. and can appreciate music with a more vintage sound(in that case i might start them off with those albums).

Also Love another great album, Deffinitly another essential.

Manorexia isn't something I would recomend to most people starting out, as it takes a really developed ear and a lot of patience to appreciate.

I would tailor my recomendations for which albums to get first depending on the music preferrence of the person I'm recomending it to.  for instance if they where really into industrial like nin, ministry, Pig etc I would start them off with Gash / Null / Void /maybe Flow, if they where really into movie/tv/jazz/orchestral soundtrack stuff: Ectopia / Venture Bros / Flow / Love / Damp etc If they were really into 80's/vintage/older industrial: DirtDish / Nail / Hole, and so on...

Personally I would say that the essential releases to get first are:

Flow
Gash
Love
Damp
Ectopia
Venture Bros Soundtrack

& Then:
PTTM
DirtDish
Nail
Hole
Null/Void

etc...
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 04:14:11 AM by chr15 »


Sickman!
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2009, 10:07:17 AM »

...what i'm hoping is they will be cleaned up (audio quality-wise) and presented as they were originally, not as edited on SINK.

That would be good. We will have to wait and see......


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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2009, 10:36:14 AM »
Today I had a three CD compilation sampler turn up in the mail that I don't even remember buying let alone even reading about it. I started listening to the second disc and noticed it had a song by Nurse With Wound on it which made it even weirder because I've never bought a NWW album. BUT THEN: I noticed the third disc had Manorexia - Vika so I guess I must have acquired this with the power of my mind or something since I have absolutely no recollection of purchasing it.


Holly Golightly
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2009, 01:07:49 PM »
That must be the "Brainwaves 2008" triple CD set - I read about it in another post on this forum (probably in Manorexia).  Here's a link to the product:
http://brainwashed.com/common/htdocs/discog/brain013.php?site=recordings
 


poetryslam
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My problem with Gash
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2009, 05:15:12 PM »
a lot of people seem to like Gash a whole helluva lot more than me, so i want to revisit it and find out why i hate it so much.

i think it's context.

when gash came out, i hadn't heard much from foetus for some time, and i was starting to wonder what had happened. i had been a huge foetus fan since '87 when i was intorduced to NAIL and THAW at the same time as classic stuff from ministry and skinny puppy. so i have always loved the harder stuff, especially RABIES by skinny puppy with that evil al jourgenson production. i love it, so you would think i would be elated when GASH came out with that same ballpark kind of sound, that dense mixture of guitar chomp and industrial grind.

but no. i fucking hated GASH from the beginning. first, the production was so off and muddy... you couldn't hear the vocals over this wall of sound, and even when you could, they seemed distorted or something. and it was like... rather than making a new album, it seemed to me at the time that this was an album TRYING to sound like a new FOETUS album. like, some corporation had examined earlier works by FOETUS and said, "okay, he does orchestral stuff, put some of that in... there's that off-kilter jazz thing... put some of that in there... grunge is really popular now, as is the brand of industrial by ministry and nine inch nails, so pump up the guitar..."

i don't know. it just seemed like something was missing... this was a FOETUS by the numbers album, but it was missing some kind of soul or something, a soul that was resoundingly reclaimed with FLOW, which made me a believer in FOETUS again.

when you compare what came before GASH and what came immediately after, you have to admit that GASH sounds like something completely and utterly out of kilter with everything jim's ever done. it stands out. for some, that might be a blessing, a sign that jim Thirlwell was pushing outside of his established boundaries and trying something completely different, but for me, i almost felt like it was a betrayal. i felt like i had supported him through everything, and now we've finally got him on a major label, and THIS is what we get? this fucking train wreck of an album that was all over the place with no focus?

i mean, just compare FLOW to GASH... for me, FLOW is the sound of FOETUS in the new millenium, a return to form, a FOETUS caught back on fire. GASH to me sounds like a failed attempt at doing what the suits are telling him to do, and it sound half-hearted to me, like going through the motions.

and yeah, maybe someone coming from a completely different angle might find GASH amazing, someone who had no context, no idea of where GASH was dropped in the FOETUS contiuum, might hear it and find themselves on the border of a whole new sonic realm... i can imagine sounded unlike anything most people had ever heard, no matter where they were coming from. but, for me... it felt like a massive mistep... and then afterwards, there seemed to be a whole lot of silence.

before FLOW hit, i was convinced something terrible had happened... maybe jim got really bummed at the whole experience with being on a major label... who knows... but when FLOW hit... oh man... i was elated... THIS was the sound i was waiting for, THIS was the present tense FOETUS i had been expecting and hoping for... maybe it took the failure of GASH to get to the place where FLOW was created. i don't know...

i just gotta say that i am DELIGHTED at the work jim has done since FLOW. i am SO glad he is putting out so much high-quality work and getting the proper respects he has always deserved. i have EVERYTHING that man has ever done, even the stuff i never listen to like YORK and BOIL, and i considered each one of those purchases as an investment in his life and work.

i just turned a friend of mine onto the Venture Brothers soundtrack. he is a huge fan of the cartoon and has the first two seasons on DVD. i told him that my favourite musical entity was behind the music, and he was really suprised to know there was so much music behind the man responsible for the soundtrack. i am now putting together several mixes to introduce him to FOETUS proper.


DLJ
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Re: My problem with Gash
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2009, 04:06:21 AM »
before FLOW hit, i was convinced something terrible had happened... maybe jim got really bummed at the whole experience with being on a major label... who knows... but when FLOW hit... oh man... i was elated... THIS was the sound i was waiting for, THIS was the present tense FOETUS i had been expecting and hoping for... maybe it took the failure of GASH to get to the place where FLOW was created. i don't know...

i just gotta say that i am DELIGHTED at the work jim has done since FLOW. i am SO glad he is putting out so much high-quality work and getting the proper respects he has always deserved. i have EVERYTHING that man has ever done, even the stuff i never listen to like YORK and BOIL, and i considered each one of those purchases as an investment in his life and work.

hey slam,
mind-meld...  i was asked a couple weeks ago to contribute a piece on JGT for a 'zine...after touching on the early work and the "dark period", i said more or less that the JGT of the last 10 years +/- was the man we have been patiently waiting for - basically FLOW onwards, in addition to reviving SterMax, conjuring up Manorexia, and the myriad other projects he's been involved with (Bang on a Can, LEMUR, freq_out, Kronos, etc).  what an interesting time.


tea_grass
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Re: A Foetus Buyer's Guide
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 07:10:33 AM »
gash is amazing.  it's the most angry and heavy album from jgt, and the first one i bought.  also amazing are all the early singles and deaf and ache, although for different reasons, more goofy and ironic but no less powerful.  i think jgt has total command of the studio on these albums (as with all of his albums).  for the time and budget they are INCREDIBLE productions given that midi and sampling weren't even existant, digital synths were being commercialized, but they were expensive and nobody knew how to use them effectively (and arguably still don't), and even the most rudimentary home recording gear like a 4 track cassette machine was far more expensive and less widespread than today.  also, nothing up to that point sounded even remotely like foetus, except maybe the residents or suicide.  it was angry and cynical music that was fun and didn't take itself seriously at all.  thought-out and highly electronic yet still spontaneous, effortless and organic, way ahead of its time.

the only foetus albums to avoid are the live albums, unless you're really into the swans or something, so i agree on that point.  all of the studio productions are completely genius in their own way but may take time and an open mind to get into.  there's no point in trying to bash any of them or recommend a pattern for a "new foetus fan" to try to follow, everyone's going to have their own favorites and points of entry.  each album has to be heard and appreciated on its own terms.  whichever one found in a bargain bin (most likely to be gash) will immerse you in jgt's world to the fullest, it's all trial by fire, jgt never tried to make it any easier than it had to be.  one thing's for sure, there's no wrong way to listen to foetus.