Monday, July 21, 2008

SPK - In Flagrante Delicto

I was pleasantly surprised to find this video. An official version, at that.

SPK is known as a charter member of the Industrial music movement as enscribed in the canonical Industrial Culture Handbook. Their 1982 album Leichenschrei is a classic of the genre.

I could get with with Industrial for about 15 minutes and then the klang and sturm und drang and agony of it all just got me down. Life shits on you hard enough without having to listen to music that beats it out of you. There was also way too much ultra-serious Dieter-esque posturing that only got more ridiculous over time.

(notes for future post: I've always noticed that in the poorest and roughest neighborhoods there was a proportional increase in happier music, while the rich kids listened to harder music. On the streets of New Orleans, you won't hear as much gangster rap as you might think. It's mostly R&B. Music to make some woo. Maybe that's just a New Orleans thing, I don't know. Also, in my own experience as a composer, I found that it's easy to make music that scares the crap out of people. It is considerably more difficult to make beautiful music. As life wore on, I saw more value in beauty. It's easier to reject when you're surrounded by it.)

There were a number of items from the Industrial catalogue that I found appealing and that have stayed with me over the years. I still like a good bit of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, Einstürzende Neubauten, Chris and Cosey and Coil, to name a few, all made some lovely music.

The one record that really blew me away was SPK's 1986 album, Zamia Lehmanni (Songs Of Byzantine Flowers). When I first heard this, I knew that someone in SPK was on to something. Turns out I was right. The strength of that outfit was the now accomplished and prolific film music composer Graeme Revell. Everyone reading this post has probably heard his work at one time or another. Since 1989 he has written the scores for over 80 films and television shows. Zamia Lehmanni was his breakaway effort. It's one of the hidden gems of instrumental music.

The new, awful and awkward has previews

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