Saturday, August 12, 2006
The sex in your soul will damn you to Hell


Some questions:

1. How closely does this song/video (particularly Michael Gira) veer towards the line separating terror and camp, and is there any correlation between the bits where "New Mind" approaches (or crosses and re-crosses) that line and how close it comes to being Goth?

2. Has anyone else noticed that Godflesh's entire career is pretty much an amplification (and maybe slight metallization) of what Swans were doing in the 80s? Does this mean I can't like "Body Dome Light" any more? Is this part of why I prefer Jesu to Godflesh?

3. No matter how you feel about Gira marching around with a flashlight and an axe, how creepy is the end of this video, with its light-enshrouded torso writhing at the end of a corridor?


Posted by Ian on Saturday, August 12, 2006 at 1:29 PM |

1) I don't think it's intending any camp - that's sort of the dividing line for me between Goth and Industrial / Metal. Plus, all the concern and preoccupation with domination and submission, hierarchies of religion and state, oppression, etc. is very much more of a fetish in those scenes. Goth is more about dressing up and playing, whilst being slightly sad. It doesn't have much of the concern with political and social issues that typify bands like Swans. Also, one thing I hope that the Goth article demonstates to people is that, early on, the scene pretty much ALWAYS had its tongue in its cheek to a certain degree. Swans were never trying to be funny. Thus, they were HILARIOUS.

2) Yes. No.

3) It does remind me of a few student films, yes.

Well, I wasn't claiming (or thinking) that they were intending camp - I'm not sure whether Sontag et al claim camp has to be intentional, but as far as I'm concerned it doesn't. So maybe I'm just using the wrong term - do parts of this video reach a kind of industrial kitsch, maybe?

I agree with the "never trying to be funny thus HILARIOUS" reading, but for me the ways in which Swans (by which I basically mean Children of God, since it's all I own/have heard of them) are hilarious for this reason are pretty inseparable from how I find them kind of terrifying, in the best possible sense.

And in number 2, you didn't answer all - just haven't heard Jesu, or?

Watching the video again, I feel like I could/should explain my first question a bit more. As much as parts of the video, such as Gira gesturing with his axe like it's a prop in a Dream Warriors video, or the contextless torso at the end, or Gira walking backwards towards a man wielding a scythe, are kind of ludicrous precisely because (as you say) they're intended so seriously and so I kind of giggle at them, I still find them kind of disturbing and powerful. And I'm not sure I would feel that way if they weren't also laughable. Does that make any sense?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IAN

THANKS BRAD!

That makes sense. I am unable to find anything moving / terrifying that does not in some way provoke my sense of humor at all. So, er, it makes sense to me at least.

What's a Jesu?

Justin Broadrick's post-Godflesh band.

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