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Culturcide: Gigs for an Imaginary Audience

Back in the early and middle '80s, Culturcide bypassed then-prevalent synth-pop in favor of a form of electronic punk rock that evolved into industrial. This odds-and-sods collection offers 12 demos, live jams and unreleased tracks for the coroner's inquest. It's certainly a horrible place for dilettantes to start, as the raw quality of the recordings — a third of the tracks are rehearsal takes — presents you with something like Culturcide at 151 proof, a glimpse into the hostile recesses of the band's creative process.

The stomach-turning sonic manipulation on "Feeling I Was Gonna Die" is disorienting and abrasive in all the right ways. This song in particular makes even the crudest Coil and Throbbing Gristle records seem accessible by comparison. Hell, even Suicide sounds downright melodic next to the pummeling electronics of "Laughtrack," the industrial quasi-boogie of "Another Miracle," the screaming guitar gauze draping the existential nightmare of "The Tapes" and the back-to-back cacophony of "(C'Mon) Let's Talk About It" and "Penis-Vagina."

And then there's the urban paranoia of "Who Are We" and the indisputably classic "Houston." Few of the tracks on Gigs seem as though they'd fit anywhere on an official Culturcide release like Year One, which sounds by comparison like a pure, early industrial record.

While the audience for this album may or may not be imaginary, the fact remains that Gigs is an important document of Culturcide's legacy as creators of some of the most utterly unforgiving and brutal music to come out of the early and mid-'80s.

 
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