Monday, May 21, 2007

The Exploration of Darkness as a Beautiful Place Will Lessen Our Fear of It All

Attrition are considered pioneers in the musical realm that some have come to know as Goth or Industrial music. Starting up in 1980, the band still tours and has sold over 50,000 albums to date. Influenced by the Do It Yourself attitude of the punk movement and the experimental in the arts- visual as well as musical- Martin Bowes and Julia Waller found themselves eventually touring and recording alongside bands who were the burgeoning core of the industrial sound. Test Department, Coil, Legendary Pink dots, In The Nursery, Portion Control were only a few of the bands who they would induct as comrades in a new musical age.

After a drummer didn't show up to a gig, the band had decided to replace him with an electronic one instead. Thus, was born a new sound, and a penchant for exploring the differences in the sonic possibilities that a new technology had afforded them. This resulted in the cassette home recordings Fear/Devoid and then later the ambient recording This Death House. Their very first live gig was with Coil in 1983.

In 1985, the song Shrinkwrap made the cover cassette that accompanied the magazine Electronics & Music Maker. This resulted in the 12-inch single that you can now listen to. The record is rarely mentioned in discographies and it's safe to say is out of print. It wasn't much later that Attrition joined hands with the Legendary Pink Dots to start their distribution company Terminal Kaleidoscope. You can find live recordings of both bands on the split-CD of the same name.

It was strange that with the underground goth scene that still seems to persist in Austin, Attrition had never performed in that town until less than a year ago. It was unfortunate that the gig took place the weekend of Thanksgiving when most people were gone for the holiday. Most likely they will never play Austin again. There were only about 20 people in attendance.

The band is really great to see live and the first sensation you have when they don the stage is not that of the aural but rather the olfactory, as Martin likes to light incense when starting their set. It sets a really interesting mood to the venue. The change in the atmosphere is felt almost instantly. Martin was a great guy but there's only so much one can talk about to a band member whose music one hasn't listened to in 15 years. And Attrition has quite an expansive discography since this one record was released!

These days, Martin Bowes teaches music in England. Attrition is currently on tour in Europe and is preparing for round two of their tour of the States. Learn more about the gigs, the latest album (Dante's Kitchen), and the re-issues of previous albums to CD on their website!

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