Back to table of Contents

Industrial music reflects--sometimes satirizing--a culture in the throes of increasing automation. It views dirty analog noise as a raison d'etre, rather than mere abstract symbolism; that is, an alternative to overbearing social order. Its musical features include abrasive sounds, machine-related repetitions sense with foreboding, innovative blends of instrumental and vocal colors, and extensive use of tape loops. The prime influences on industrial music were 1950s academic electronic music, the distortion and drone-minimalism of New York-based primitives (e.g., the Velvet Underground), the eccentric anti-style, over-amped Euro-rock improvisational bands (e.g., AMM, Faust), and Eno's then prevalent ideology of DIY anti-musicianship.

Industrial did not evolve in its own stylistic vacuum. Rather, it interacted with a number of other contemporary genres, most notably white noise, techno-pop (which blended industrial sounds with bubblegum music via an emphasis on synthesizers), and the ambient movement. The latter form consisted of atmospheric, background music in which rhythm lines--as with new age--were limited to trance dubs. Its chief proponents included Orb, Orbital, Aphex Twin, and the Art of Noise.


Top Artists and Their Recordings

Cabaret Voltaire--Extended Play EP (1978); Mix Up (1979); Live at the YMCA 27-10-79 (1980); Three Mantras (1980); The Voice of America (1980); 3 Crepuscule Tracks EP (1981); 2 x 45 (1982); Hail! Live in Japan (1982); The Crackdown (1983); Johnny Yesno (1983); Micro-Phonies (1984); The Arm of the Lord (1985); The Drain Train EP (1986); Code (1987)

Einsturzende Neubauten--Drawings of Patient O.T. (1983); 80-83 Strategies Against Architecture (1984); 2 x 4 (1984); 1/2 Mensch (1985); Fuenf auf der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala (1987); Haus der Luege (1989); Strategies Against Architecture II (1991); Interim EP (1993); Tabula Rosa (1993)

Ministry--Cold Life EP (1981); With Sympathy (1983); Twitch (1986); Twelve Inch Singles (1987); The Land of Rape and Honey (1988); A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989); In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up (1990); Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and Way to Suck Eggs (1992)

Moby--Moby (1992); Ambient (1992); Early Underground (1993); Move EP (1993); Everything Is Wrong (1995)

Nine Inch Nails--Pretty Hate Machine (1989); Broken EP (1992); Fixed EP (1992); The Downward Spiral (1993); Further Down the Spiral (1995)

Psychic TV--Allegory and Self (1988); Towards Thee Infinite Beat (1990); Beyond Thee Infinite Beat (1990)

Public Image Ltd.--First Issue (1978); Second Edition (1980); Paris au Printemps (1980); Flowers of Romance (1981); Live in Tokyo (1983); This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get (1984); Album (1986); Happy? (1987); 9 (1989); That What Is Not (1992)

Throbbing Gristle--Greatest Hits (1979); 20 Jazz-Funk Greats (1979)