Tone Generator & The Body Without Organs – Normalisation Of Response

Tone Generator & The Body Without Organs – Normalisation Of Response CD Inner City Uprising 2021

Tone Generator aka Dominic Guerin is a somewhat infamous key contributor to the early classic industrial/noise era of SPK (i.e. late 1970’s/early 1980’s). But apart from his sporadic involvement with another industrial group Last Dominion Lost, he has not been publicly active with music over the subsequent four decades. For this new project Dominic has teamed up with Scott Barnes (whom I am not familiar), while the experimental industrial tracks spanning 50 minutes have been recorded over the period of 2019/2020.

Each of the nine tracks function as standalone compositions, where wonky tripped out synths, convulsive rhythmic elements, squelching sonics and a general buzzing thrum abound, but also which evokes a darker hued atmospheric industrial/noise thread throughout. The overall production is specifically noteworthy given it is thick and forceful without being overblown or its tonal elements muddied through sonic overcrowding. The cover then provides short liner notes on each track to articulate specific conceptual underpinnings, but even so sonic appreciation of the album is not hampered without it.

Opening track Lost In Space (dedicated to the Soviet space program) features a deep space tonal drift, sweeping radiation tones and sparse radio voices, while Ballard of the BWO increases a wonky disorienting tone of sparse textures and generally unintelligible disembodied voices. Ne/H/il’s Back Room is the most obvious throwback to early SPK due to both its thematic content and the sampled rhythmic element (sample credited to James Pinker and originally featured on the track Day of Pigs from SPK’s second album Leichenschrei). Here the sampled and looped rhythmic beat has been welded onto a brooding industrial soundscape while Dominic narrates aspects of Ne/H/il’s personal sexual proclivities. The Wasteland stands then out substantially from the rest given the central focus on its fizzing and spitting mid-paced pulse, while treated vocals and a variety of other sonic smeared textures are relegated to the background. Flight of Ideas round out the album, being the longest track at eight minutes, which arcs off into various sonic directions over its course, given the choppy cut up dynamics keeps the sound ever shifting, yet retaining a general sense of forward pace and momentum.

If there was any question regarding the impact Tone Generator had on early SPK material (and specifically the Information Overload Unit album), this new material functions to significantly underline that fact. Yet far from being a mere retread of earlier sounds and sonic ideas, Normalisation of Response is playfully experimental without ever sounding dryly academic or forgoing its darker toned atmospherics. Consequently, Normalisation Of Response is an excellent album and comes with a very strong recommendation from these quarters.

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