As a young teen, it was Brad Fiedel’s soundtrack to The Terminator and Terminator 2 and the slow, cold analogue pulses of John Carpenter’s film scores which first introduced me to the cold yet alluring world of electronic /dark ambient / drone / musique concrete (or whatever genre suits the reader best). In the same vein of analogue murk, but with a far more introverted facade, I’ve slowly been listening my way through the work of Bruce Gilbert.
In his back catalogue of albums, soundtracks and other projects, I’m beginning to discover a black pool of industrial, gloomy delights from his solo work, as well as uncovering the work of one of his former bands, Dome (pictured above). Wikipedia tells me that they used to perform in art galleries with objects, or instruments made from found objects on display for the audience to interact with. This reminds me of the sound art of UK-based, Sicilian-born artist, Seb Patane, and his sonic project, Frontier, Frontier! which occupies similarly odd DJ-meets-performance-art terrain utilising masks and beekeeping costumes – worth noting too, that Gilbert’s DJ moniker is DJ Beekeeper.
My favourites of the Bruce Gilbert collection so far, perhaps due to the regular introduction of pulse, are his 1996 album Ab Ovo, and This Way To The Shivering Man (1990) both of which must have inspired the majority of sonic ideas in The Knife’s 2009 album, The Colouring Of Pigeons. I also hear much of Gilbert’s influence in Richard Russell’s impeccably restrained, and I would go as far as to say perfect production on the late Gil Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here – my favourite album of 2010 by a long, long way. If you ‘do’ Spotify, you can listen to Ab Ovo and This Way To The Shivering Man it in their entirety.
Gilbert’s latest release (which of course I knew nothing about until researching this article) was quite recent, back in August 2011 via Touch Records – a 7″ entitled ‘Monad’. You can listen to, or buy it here: http://touchshop.org/product_info.php?products_id=463