Genre: Rhythmic Industrial / IDM / Electro
01 Exorcising Julie
02 The Intelligence of Natives
03 The Sweet Smell of Supermarket on Fire
04 Trendy Africa
05 Everything Is in A State of Flux
06 The Rape of Sam the Fx (Theme)
07 Kill Tat Parent
08 Lost Underground
09 We Don't Have Weekends
10 We Are the People With the Human Fist
12 Sweet Satelite
13 We Hate America and America Hates Us
14 We're OK'
15 Dick Heads
16 Slog On (Dead beat)
17 Straight Plague
18 Bad Love *
Greater Than One is a British band founded by the late Lee Newman and her husband Michael Wells back in 1985, making GTO a part of the second wave of industrial music. Together they had a multitude of musical projects in various genres.
The couple share a massive creative history, and this marks the first CD release of this 1987 LP (remastered from master tapes). The amount of material makes me feel more fatigued than intrigued, sadly.
In addition to two CD's, this package also contains a link to a downloadable CD with loads of goodies, as well as more music. This is a good way to maintain the DIY spirit of the industrial movement which GTO was a part of, so kudos for that! Pictures, previously unreleased tracks, rare tracks, re-edited material, radio material, interviews, mp3s, text, art book and more are included. It is a shame that in trying to consume all this, it makes my head spin. I know Jon Whitney used a lot of time and energy to put all this material together over at Brainwashed. GTO deserves a lot of attention for their extensive creative past.
The music contained on the two discs is typical industrial fare from the 80's. To me it's quite nostalgic, though it's hardly an outstanding contribution to the genre. It is superior to most of the
trite we are spoon fed from the genre today, as well of much of the less inspired music from the 80's, such as KMFDM. The second wave of industrial music was dominated by Skinny Puppy, Ministry , and similar bands.
GTO has been mostly forgotten, undeservedly yet understandably. Their style is a bit different from the other second wave bands and perhaps more reminiscent of the original industrial acts. (Fittingly their music was originally released on the lable operated by Graemme Revell and Brian Williams.) Stylistically it's more ambient and toned down than other industrial acts of the same period, and some of the elements certainly point toward ambient house of the early 90's, such as the
works of The Orb and KLF .
Re-releasing this material now is laudable but sadly it has faded with time, we are left with a piece of nostalgia more than a worthwhile publication in it's own right. While the music certainly is good, time has not been kind to GTO. It's hard to compete with the enormous subcultural impact of Skinny Puppy, NIN and Ministry, and GTO will never have it's deserved place in the industrial pantheon as they fade into the background behind these bands. This release will please collectors and fans, but I severely doubt this material will hit a club anywhere near you. This anonymity may have been apparent already in the 80's and perhaps this is the reason behind their evolution into acid house and techno.
Their art education might also have played a part in their massive production. I seem to remember reading Wells saying something about their duty as artists to explore as many influences and expressions as possible. Maybe it was more about quantity than quality for them?
Along with Psychic TV the people behind Greater than One evolved into acid house with Tricky Disco in 1990. Let's be honest, these people have done a great deal of different stuff and most of it
wasn't really worthwhile at all. Tricky Disco was embarrassing, Techno Head was just stupid. But then again, happy hardcore was never meant to be intelligent nor thought-provoking, and must be accepted at face value. As such, these techno cul de sacs can be slightly amusing, if you're into that kind of stuff. In fact Techno head is often cited as an early godfather of the branch of Gabba we used to call Happy Hardcore.
Greater than One on the other hand is OK, verging on really cool. These people must have imbibed copious amounts of liquids and solids to fall such a great distance. Granted, their industrial music was never SPK or Throbbing Gristle , but it was a good second. Their very first release Kill the Pedagogue is my favorite one with it's mantra-like and repetitive samples and meditative vocals. And I can certainly hear some proto techno influences in there as well. Good stuff! To sum it up, I am glad we have this release collecting all of it in a bite sized package. Big bite, mind you.