Saturday, May 11, 2013

Killing Joke in doses large and small

It's interesting to me that, in all the years I've been a gatherer, I've met so few Killing Joke fans like me. Granted, with an extensive catalog ( 15 proper LPs, several live LPs, several EPs, and over 30 years down) as they have, there will be something for everyone, so gatherers tend to be a motley assortment, but still, I've met few transcontinental Marxist progressives with a more punk than industrial or metal take on them. Yes, I realize that Killing Joke are a punk band in the same way that the Ramones were a bubblegum pop band- a group of individuals destined to create something more than they intended. But still, context is key for me, and if you subtract the occult fascinations, I fail to see how Killing Joke are any less "Punk" than Gang of Four, Devo, or even the Clash. Punk, it seems to me, was always meant to be an adjustment, more than a position, you know?
So, removed from Album context, all these songs bear witness to both the linearity and expansiveness of Killing Joke. That is, there are obvious musical similarities between everything from Wardance through Corporate Elect, but at the same time you have everything from dub reggae through death metal coming into the mix of styles and influences.
The songs then, are broad enough that everyone from pinkos like me to Nazi Skinheads can find something to love and understand in them. Still, can no one else see that these are not cavemen- they're not just neo-pagan, and they're not just about bludgeon and violence- there's sophistication and an urbane appreciation of the fruits of true civilisation as well? So, my favorite stuff is the 1980-1985 stuff, but I also like the Democracy, and Absolute Dissent LPs. I hate nothing of what they've done, but I prefer the less headbanging, yet still not slick stuff.
Still it's all here- from Requiem to In Cythera. Even some alternate and rate tracks. But I can only suggest it for hardcore gatherers like me. If you're new to Killing Joke, or if you just dabble, I think it's better to just dig into the stuff you love- they have a vast enough catalog that you could just love, say, the Pandaemonium and Killing Joke ( 2003) lps, and hate the rest of their music, and they would still have made some of your favourite music, ever.  As for me, I'm a gatherer- I will be there no matter what- because it's less about them, and more about my experience of the gathering.

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