Culture & Criticism Since 2003
Assimilate serves as the first analysis of industrial music as a genre, delineating the history of this often over-looked segment of our musical fabric in a clear and insightful treatise that is destined to become the definitive reference on the subject.
Here, Alexander Reed (Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Florida) explores the movement by examining its most important bands ( Skinny Puppy; VNV Nation; Throbbing Gristle; Nine Inch Nails). Erudite discussion of the music and performers together with artist-interviews shed light on voices both known and unknown.
Although industrial music is a relatively new phenomenon (its formation grounded in the 1970s), its foundation actually goes back a century – its influences spanning multiple genres and eras. In sum, what’s best about Assimilate is found in its ability to trace the origins of industrial music to a time before technology, dissecting the movement by putting its collective attitude under the microscope.
In essence, industrial music is an extension of the Beat Movement of the 1950s, and Reed’s summary carefully shows that this ‘genre’ is about more than musical stylings. Instead, industrial music is an all-out-assault on social constraints that seek to use government, religion and concepts of morality to control the way the citizenry moves. Much like rock, folk music and jazz, the industrial texture of the music is but a vehicle for the message the players and audience are sending out – this tangible statement about themselves and their place in the larger mosaic of the world.
Well-written and impeccably researched, Assimilate is worth a look – not only by music fans looking to learn about this industrial wall of sound, but also by scholars of pop culture wondering why ‘the kids feel the way they do.’