It won’t be news to dedicated TG followers, but the rest of you may be interested to know that Throbbing Gristle are completing work on their long-brewing Desertshore project.
Over June 1-3, 2007, the band installed themselves at London’s ICA, during which time they recorded initial parts for a new album based on their interpretation of Nico‘s classic Desertshore LP. The six two-hour sessions were documented across 12 CD-Rs, packaged together in a limited edition stamped wallet for a limited edition release in 2007 under the title of Desertshore Installation. Original copies of this 12xCD-R set now command up to £500 on the second-hand market.
Of course the music contained on Desertshore Installation was, and remains, purely embryonic; the 12xCD-R was intended merely to give listeners an insight into the band’s process of collaboration and improvisation. The original plan was for TG to have their final, studio-perfected version of Desertshore officially out in 2008, but for various reasons the album has neither been completed nor released to date. It is known that Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, who sadly passed away was earlier this year, had made Desertshore his pet project and was, at the time of his death, working diligently to get it finished.
The good news is that TG’s Desertshore isn’t going to languish in a state of unreleased near-completion. According to a post on their online diary, Event Horizon, TG’s Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti will spend September-November of this year working on “recording, production and mixing” of the Desertshore project in the UK, Germany and US. The only other information provided is that the finished work will receive a limited release in 2012 on TG’s own Industrial Records. It is not known whether the other remaining TG member, Genesis P.Orridge, who walked out on the band shortly before Christopherson’s unexpected death, will contribute to the album; for what it’s worth, we strongly suspect that he will.
The original Desertshore, released in 1970, has a fair claim to being called Nico’s definitive masterpiece. Her third album, it was co-produced by John Cale and Joe Boyd; Nico (pictured above) sang and played harmonium, with Cale handling the majority of other instruments. A little less challenging than her previous record, the unyieldingly bleak The Marble Index, it combines avant-garde elements with more accessible songwriting and grand neoclassical flourishes.