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From Grindcore to Industrial Metal to … (MP3)

We all may mellow with age, but few to the extent of Justin K. Broadrick. He joined the classic grindcore/dark-metal band Napalm Death halfway through its 1980s heyday, before co-founding Godflesh, which helped industrial metal find its cold, mechanized, introspective heart. There were hints of a future, mellower Broadrick in Godflesh’s modus operandi — the band artfully moved metal’s deathly focus from metaphor to texture. Godflesh managed to slow down metal with one hand, while quickening its pulse with another. Unusual among its metal peers, the most ferocious thing about Godflesh may have been its emphasis on restraint.

Shortly after Godflesh came Jesu, a more wide-ranging affair. And now (though Jesu continues to exist), there is Pale Sketcher, an electronic-focused act that is like someone stirred up a Jesu shake, and just skimmed the foam off it — or took an X-ray of Godflesh, and used it as a musical score. Judging by “Plans That Fade (Faded Dub)” (MP3), Pale Sketcher makes somnolent pop, the vocals muffled by an eerie softness that alternates between ethereal, crepuscular, and claustrophobic.

[audio:|titles=”Plans That Fade (Faded Dub)”|artists=Pale Sketcher] </div

The track comes from a forthcoming Ghostly Records compilation, Horizon Line / Ghostly By Night, a double album that includes remixes of existing Ghostly tracks, and tastes of forthcoming releases. Pale Sketcher falls into the latter category.

More on Broadrick and Pale Sketcher at More on the compilation album at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 2 ]


  1. daniel viborg
    [ Posted April 14, 2010, at 11:42 am ]

    Very nice song here. If I had to guess what band the artist came out of, Napalm Death would have probably been one of my last choices. Calling it ‘pop’ seems like a bit of stretch to me, but I guess it’s all relative to your context.

  2. Marc Weidenbaum
    [ Posted April 14, 2010, at 11:51 am ]

    Yeah, I mean pop at its distant extremities, and I’d hoped my subsequent description clarified that a bit. You’re right about context — from my “spend my day listening to refrigerators hum” perspective, even the hint of a vocal and a voice-chorus song structure (which is about as much as this track opts to muster, to be clear) sounds like pop. And in a way, pop is what the song’s “about”: how far can you stretch it before it has some vestigial pop quality, but really qualifies as ambience.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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