Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music Review: The Greater Wrong Of The Right, Skinny Puppy

     I like Techno-Industrial music because I like technology.  When I look around this world of ours -- at our leaders and their military golems, or the fanatically religious -- the emotion evoked in me is mostly
embarrassment at this devolved and arrogant predicament I have been born into.  Techno-Industrial music has always helped to alleviate that embarrassment, and I love it for that, more than anything.  Techno
Industrial music (Some say Electro-Industrial) also makes me dance, and I like that as well.  In the 70's I cut my Techno teeth on groups like Kraftwerk, and Devo, alongwith individual artists including Isao Tomita, and Carlos, so when I first heard the work of Vancouver based Skinny Puppy in the later 80's, I
was like a kid in a candy shop, and I have been a fan ever since.  Over time I have become very familiar with their work: the hallmark sounds and compositional nuances of Skinny Puppy, such as the instrumental and voice distortions, or the elongated draining sounds of liquid vortices, and the samples from media broadcasts; all signify a style and innovation which many others try to imitate, but with little success.

     Being the pattern-seeker that I am, certain of Skinny Puppy's songs, like Assimilate, and Chainsaw, have forever imprinted me with admiration for their talent, though I have to admit that many of their early and less
structured compositions left me confused, or less than satisfied.  I chalked that up to growth through experimentation, which is healthy and necessary.  The songs that became my favorites more than made up for the stuff I could not fathom, though the groups experimental improvisation is well known among aficionados, myself included, and has even garnered a descriptive label all its own, known as Brap.  My sources indicate Brap as a process meaning: get together, hook up electronic instruments, catch a buzz, and record.  It is
improv, the birthplace of genius. Early Skinny Puppy was crucible and cauldron for its members talents, and for what they would become.

     Yes, all science needs experimentation to become real, and if anyone in the industrial/techno field can be called musical scientists it is cEvin Keys (Born Kevin Crompton) and Nivek Ogre (Born Kevin Ogilvie), alongwith their various collaborators and guests.  Today Skinny Puppy collaborators include (In Keys words) the deeper team of Mark Walk, and Ken hiwatt Marshall, and
has even included past notables such as Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Danny Carey of Tool, who assisted with The Greater Wrong Of The Right, and Wayne Static of Static-X, who also helped with The Greater Wrong Of The Right.   Skinny Puppy has always been audio science, whether the world could hear it or not.  Artists are never ahead of their time, artists ARE their time.  It is the rest of the world that lags behind.

While listening to the work of the early Skinny Puppy, who released their first set of songs in 1984, I had always wondered what it would be like if the majority of their labors ever reached the intricacy and completeness which comprised some of their music.  It was easy to  see the potential was there, among the songs I cite above, and some others.   The various remixes also point to the fact that pattern and order within
Skinny Puppys music was developing and ongoing.

     The maturity I was looking for, and could sense was developing, came to fruit for me when I recently obtained the CD -- The Greater Wrong Of The Right -- which was released in 2004.  This whole CD, which is the first release via the bands German/Euro label SPV, is the most astounding and relevant music I have heard in many years, if not forever.  To me this CD was a restoration of sorts, the world became a better place immediately, I felt a new confidence, and I actually drew power from the music in a way I did not know was possible.

The CD -- The Greater Wrong Of The Right -- by Skinny Puppy (SPV), is what I always hoped this band would become.  Not only does the music grab you by the ears and PULL, the lyrics themselves are important poetry, and profound, as in this piece of the song Pro-test:

"...hit the street...the people now left without no loving...where within the strength gone, better see it coming...get off the fence up the gar-bage...make it up to the earth, bitch..."

Each song on this CD begins as a full but unassembled puzzle, with the words and notes representing a pile of jig sawed and unintelligible components, which are then woven as if by magic in fast accurate placement, intuitive and logical, until the finished product emerges: a panoramic view of life and our world from the inside out.  It is a view you cannot get anywhere else.  One thing comes to my mind when listening to the Greater Wrong Of The Right, and it is this: Brother Men, Thanks A LOT!

     I am surprised this newer music has not gotten more attention than it has in the mainstream, but Skinny Puppy has always nurtured a following outside of the programmed and lackadaisical herd, which is one of the bands primary charms and, dare we say, their very foundation?  They teach, and the world, most assuredly, needs more of that, especially from influences outside of the cage.  Finally, the mainstream is nowhere near what it used to be, and for that we should be grateful too, perhaps we should even rejoice, while continuing to kick it and beat it and spit upon it, until it just dies and becomes fertilizer for something new and better.

     Light Happens.

     When initially confronted with the term -- The Greater Wrong -- another term came immediately to my mind, and it is of course the opposite of that, it is The Lesser Evil.  I don't think either of those are a good basis by which to judge the world, or its people, and it is this futile dichotomy which seems
to be highlighted and denounced throughout the music and lyrics of this outstanding work of art.  cEvin Keys and Nivek Ogre, along with Hiwatt and Mark Wall, have thrashed and trashed the Maya of this world, and again, that can only be called instruction.  Awesome Music, Poetry extraordinaire, and profound insight are what I get from the Greater Wrong of the Right.  Get it, spin it, turn it up.  And don't forget to breathe
after you do it.

Track Listing; The Greater Wrong Of The Right; SkinnyPuppy:

1. I'mmortal
2. Pro-test
3. EmpTe
4. Neuwerld
5. Ghostman
6. dOwnsizer
7. Past Present
8. Use Less
9. Goneja
10. DaddyuWarbash

Review by:Bill Gallagher

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