Fire extinguishing foam, cortisone and physostigmine. All highly relevant in today's society and all created by one man, a man you've never heard of. Clint Ruin, Baby Zizanie, Manorexia, Steroid Maximus, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel, Foetus Inc., The Foetus All-Nude Review and all derivations of Foetus' music are also the creations of another man you've probably never heard of,. J. G. (Jim) Thirlwell.
Since the release of Spite Your Face / O.K.F.M. in 1981, this Australian expatriate has been responsible for some of the most innovative and just plain coolest music of the last quarter decade. And where have you been, you ignorant sons-of-bitches? Oh yeah, sitting in your room all disenfranchised and bitter, clutching the latest Nine Inch Nails or Ministry album in your pale, sweaty, black-nailed mitts not realizing that the very band you hold dear - the very band that's kept you from tossing yourself into the dark oblivion of either death or the food service industry - wouldn't even exist without Jim Thirlwell. That's Mr. Thirlwell to you, goddammit!
Yes, Foetus were the forefathers of what's commonly known as industrial music. Industrial being lots of sound loops over syncopated rhythms strong enough to lower your sperm count - or raise it, depending on your ethnic background. Gradually, over the last few years, Jim's - I said that's Mr. to you, not me, smartass - music has evolved from the dense soundscapes to sparser arrangements with Thirlwell seemingly taking on more the role of conductor as well as composer/performer. Like 2002's Ectopia, from his Steroid Maximus project, Thirlwell creates another album that unfolds like the soundtrack to the best film you've never seen. It's the orchestral sampling that takes center stage here - harpsichords, timpanis and other things I couldn't identify in a line-up.
Like any great artist, Thirlwell only surrounds himself with the best - in this case enlisting the talents of guest vocalist Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields, Lovage) for the beautiful "Thrush" - a really bright spot on an album of nothing but bright spots, and thereminatrix-extrordinaire Pamelia Kurstin for another opus, "Pareidolia". I'll save you some time.
Pareidolia: from Greek para- amiss, faulty, wrong + eidolon, diminutive of eidos appearance, form) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (usually an image) being mistakenly perceived as recognizable. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, seeing the man in the moon, and hearing messages on records played in reverse.
There's cynical pricks in this world who'd like to say that Thirlwell gotten soft over the years. Mellowed out, sold out, etc. What those negative nellies fail to realize is that this called "growth,' unless you're Metallica. Did you know they have ballads on their albums now? And short hair? Pussies.
Love also comes with a DVD that includes some live footage, trailers for the upcoming Thirlwell documentary film and Adult Swim's "Venture Bros,' which Thirlwell scores, and videos for "Not Adam", the nine-minute "How To Vibrate" and "Blessed Evening", the latter of which was directed by The Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O.
There's a name for people like Thirlwell. Underappreciated. Remember the foam, cortisone, and physostigmine we were discussing earlier? The man responsible was Dr. Percy Lavon Julian. And have you sent either of them a thank-you note yet? I didn't think so. Fucking ingrates. Get a pen, get some nice stationary - maybe something with butterflies - get some stamps and let these two great gentlemen know you care. You'll feel better about yourself, your loved ones will thank you and several dogs will come up to you on the street and lick your hand. Godspeed, my child.
8.4 / 10
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Posted Oct. 20, 2010, 9:09 a.m.
Industrial pioneer and experimental music mainstay JG Thirlwell, aka Foetus, has a new album, Hide, out now on his own Ectopic Ents label. Thirlwell calls Hide a "neo-symphonic avant-psychedelic concept ...
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