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Power electronics was originally coined by William Bennett as part of the sleevenotes to the Whitehouse album Psychopathia Sexualis , and is related to the early Industrial Records scene but later became more identified with noise music. It consists of static, screeching waves of feedback, analogue synthesizers making sub-bass pulses or high frequency squealing sounds, and screamed, distorted, often hateful and offensive lyrics. Deeply atonal, there are no conventional melodies or rhythms. Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine produced a compilation compact cassette tape called Power Electronics in 1986 that was curated by Joseph Nechvatal.
Whitehouse were an English power electronics band formed in 1980, largely credited for the founding of the power electronics subgenre of industrial music.
Psychopathia Sexualis is the seventh album by Whitehouse released in 1982 on the Come Organisation label. It was on the liner notes for the album that principal member William Bennett first used the term "Power electronics" to describe the group's music.
Industrial Records is a record label established in 1976 by industrial music group and performance artists Throbbing Gristle. The group created the label primarily for self-releases but also signed several other groups and artists. The label gave a name to the industrial music genre.
Death industrial is an industrial subgenre typified by a dense atmosphere, low-end drones, harsh loops and screamed and/or distorted vocals. It can be differentiated from power electronics by a slower, more atmospheric sound reminiscent of dark ambient, and a less abrasive sound. Acts described as death industrial include Brighter Death Now, Anenzephalia, Atrax Morgue, Aelia Capitolina, Author & Punisher, Genocide Organ, Hieronymus Bosch, Stratvm Terror, S.T.A.B. Electronics, IRM, Monowolf and Dead Man's Hill.
Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music" that was "initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation". The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle's emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in Chicago.
Dark ambient is a genre of post-industrial music that features an ominous, dark droning and often gloomy, monumental or catacombal atmosphere, partially with discordant overtones. It shows similarities towards ambient music, a genre that has been cited as a main influence by many dark ambient artists, both conceptually and compositionally. Although mostly electronically generated, dark ambient also includes the sampling of hand-played instruments and semi-acoustic recording procedures, and is strongly related to ritual industrial music.
Brighter Death Now is the artist name under which Roger Karmanik, the founder of the Swedish record label Cold Meat Industry, releases death industrial, power electronics and dark ambient music.
Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.
Sonology is a neologism used to describe the study of sound in a variety of disciplines.
Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.
Cassette culture refers to the practices associated with amateur production and distribution of recorded music that emerged in the late 1970s via home-made audio cassettes. It is characterized by the adoption of home recording by independent artists, and involvement in ad-hoc self-distribution and promotion networks—primarily conducted through mail and fanzines. The culture was in part an offshoot of the mail art movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and participants engaged in tape trading in addition to traditional sales. The culture is related to the DIY ethic of punk, and encouraged musical eclecticism and diversity.
Noise music is a category of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect.
A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.
Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.
Nicolas Collins is a composer of mostly electronic music and former student of Alvin Lucier. He received a B.A. and M.A. from Wesleyan University. Subsequently, he was a Watson Fellow.
Final is a project of Justin Broadrick, creator of the band Godflesh, which he started when he was just 13 years old. Unlike Godflesh, Final is primarily electronic in nature, taking on a space-like, dark ambient sound.
Power noise is a form of industrial music and a fusion of noise music and various styles of electronic dance music. It should not be confused with "power electronics", which is not influenced by electronic dance music and is closer to harsh noise. Its origins are predominantly European.
Live Skull is a post-punk/experimental rock band from New York City, formed in 1982.
Philip Best is an English pioneer of power electronics, who formed the band Consumer Electronics in 1982 at the age of 14. He joined the group Whitehouse, led by William Bennett, in 1983. After a nine-year hiatus starting in 1984, Best rejoined and remained with the group until departing again in 2008.
Brenda Hutchinson is a composer and sound artist who has developed a body of work based on a perspective about interacting with the public and non-artists through personal, reciprocal engagement with listening and sounding. Hutchinson encourages her participants to experiment with sound, share stories, and make music. She often bases her electroacoustic compositions on recordings of these individual collaborative experiences, creating "sonic portraits" or "aural pictures" of people and situations... In addition to her ethnographic pieces, Hutchinson has composed for film, invented instruments, and is active as a performer/improviser. Hutchinson earned her M.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied with Pauline Oliveros, Roger Reynolds, Bernard Rands, and Robert Erickson. Performances of her work have been presented in New York City at Lincoln Center, Merkin Concert Hall, and The Kitchen, as well as in San Francisco at New Langton Arts, The Lab, and the Exploratorium.
Launched from the Lower East Side, Manhattan, in 1983 as a subscription only bimonthly publication, the Tellus cassette series took full advantage of the popular cassette medium to promote cutting-edge downtown music, documenting the New York scene and advancing experimental composers of the time – the first 2 issues being devoted to NY artists from the downtown no wave scene. The series was financially supported along the years by funding from the New York State Council of the Arts, Colab and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ron Kuivila is an American sound artist from Boston, MA. He is primarily known for his sound installations, performances, and recorded materials that make use of computers, and for his contributions to the SuperCollider audio programming language.
Bodychoke was an experimental noise rock side project of power electronics band Sutcliffe Jügend active between 1993 and 1999. The band released four studio albums, most notably their debut Mindshaft produced by British psychedelic dub musician Ott and Five Prostitutes which was produced by Steve Albini. Their music expressed themes of hate and disgust, as well as some of the sexual perversion and death tackled by Sutcliffe Jügend.
Minóy was the pseudonym of the electronic art musician and sound artist Stanley Keith Bowsza. He was a major figure in the DIY noise music and homemade independent cassette culture scene of the 1980s. He released over 100 compositions.
Ramleh are a British experimental music group formed by musician Gary Mundy in 1982. The current line-up of the band includes Gary Mundy, Anthony di Franco and Stuart Dennison. Originally a part of the English power electronics and industrial music scene in early 1980s, Ramleh experimented with a more traditional rock format in their later releases.
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