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  1. #1
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    Composer Peter Christopherson of Coil / Throbbing Gristle fame has died aged 55. His contribution to British film was as a composer for Derek Jarman (In the Shadow of the Sun / Blue / The Angelic Conversation).
    Last edited by Nick Dando; 29-11-10 at 09:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    When I saw the obituary on the Guardian website, it came as quite a shock, as he was relatively young at 55. Most people will never have heard of "Sleazy", but they will know his design and photographic work with Hipgnosis, particularly the album cover for Pink Floyd's Animals. By the way, the main composer for Blue was Simon Fisher Turner. And the soundtrack for The Angelic Conversation features Dame Judi Dench reading some Shakespearean sonnets.

    Peter Christopherson - IMDb

    And the Guardian obituary.

    Peter Christopherson obituary | Music | The Guardian

    Peter Christopherson obituary
    Designer, director and co-founder of the industrial music band Throbbing Gristle

    Alexis Petridis
    guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 November 2010 18.21 GMT

    Peter Christopherson, who has died in his sleep aged 55, had two parallel careers. As a commercial artist, designer and photographer, he produced a plethora of album sleeves and videos for artists including Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel and Rage Against the Machine, as well as hundreds of television commercials. But he was also one of the most original and influential musicians of the post-punk era, initially as part of the band Throbbing Gristle, whose taboo-probing, blackly comic, defiantly non-commercial approach mirrored the other side of Christopherson's work.

    Occasionally, the two worlds collided, as when he attempted to convince McCartney that his album Tug of War should have a cover depicting a naked male body hanging from a noose; the former Beatle declined. More often, they fed into each other in more subtle ways. A man who delighted in subversion, Christopherson was tickled by the notion that the money he made from directing commercials, such as a floral, soft-focus ad for Max Factor's Le Jardin perfume starring Jane Seymour, enabled his post-Throbbing Gristle band Coil to make records called things such as The Anal Staircase and His Body Was a Playground for the Nazi Elite.

    He was born in Leeds into what he described as a "large academic family": his father, Derman, was a professor of engineering who later became master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and received a knighthood. After taking his A-levels, Peter went to study computer programming, theatre design and video at the State University of New York at Buffalo. While there he became interested in the work of radical performance artists such as Chris Burden, photographers, including Robert Mapplethorpe, and the surrealist Arthur Tress.

    Although the subject matter of Christopherson's photography – usually boy models with simulated injuries – was considered too shocking for publication, their technical quality earned him a job with Hipgnosis, the design team best known for producing Pink Floyd's album sleeves, on his return to England in 1974. They also impressed Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti of the transgressive performance art group COUM Transmissions, who Christopherson met at an event in Kennington, south London, the same year. Such was Christopherson's enthusiasm for the sexual aspects of COUM's performances, which often featured nudity and self-mutilation, and took inspiration from Tutti's "day job" as a pornographic model and stripper – that the pair affectionately called him Sleazy, a nickname that stuck. He began participating in their performances the following year, while continuing to design album sleeves and work as a photographer. In the latter capacity, one of his clients was a then-unknown band called the Sex Pistols, who Christopherson shot in the toilets of a YMCA, styled as rent boys, an image rejected as too shocking by their manager, Malcolm McLaren.

    McLaren's reaction prefigured the response of the punk movement to Throbbing Gristle, the musical project Christopherson, P-Orridge and Tutti embarked on in 1975 with Chris Carter, a sound engineer and electronics enthusiast who built his own synthesizers. Throbbing Gristle's sound and subject matter proved too provocative and confrontational, even in the provocative and confrontational climate of punk. At first, they dealt in unsettling grey noise underpinned with clanking electronic rhythms and lyrics betraying a fascination with serial killers, fascism, sadism and death.

    They dubbed their sound "industrial music", and upset not only the kind of people who found punk rock offensive – a 1976 Throbbing Gristle performance at the London's Institute of Contemporary Arts led the Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn to call them "the wreckers of civilisation" – but punk audiences, too. Their 1976 debut album, The Second Annual Report, included a recording of a compere at a Brighton gig berating the audience who had just booed the band offstage.

    As their sound developed, eventually encompassing everything from deceptively sweet synth-pop to eerie ambient collages, Throbbing Gristle not only found an audience, but became vastly influential. They were pioneers in technology – Christopherson played a sampler that Carter had built years before sampling became commonplace. "Industrial music" became a genre in its own right: in the hands of Nine Inch Nails, with whose leader, Trent Reznor, Christopherson later collaborated, it even sold 10m albums. Their electronic experiments proved a pivotal influence on techno, while almost every radical idea the quartet had eventually became assimilated into mainstream rock.

    After Throbbing Gristle's split in 1981, Christopherson went on to form the surprisingly melodic Psychic TV with Genesis P-Orridge, then Coil, with his partner Geoff Rushton, a Throbbing Gristle fan who became known as John Balance. Their sound ranged from "ritual music for the accumulation of male sexual energy" involving gongs and bullroarers, to their own take on house music, their tracks always rich in complex religious and sexual symbolism. Coil continued pushing at taboos, although from a more explicitly gay perspective. In their hands, Tainted Love (1985) became an agonised howl at the Aids pandemic: it was among the first records to address the subject, while Christopherson's video remains on permanent display at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

    Rushton, who struggled with alcoholism, died in 2004 in a fall at his London home, bringing Coil to an end. Christopherson subsequently moved to Bangkok, participated in a successful Throbbing Gristle reunion and started another musical project, the Threshold HouseBoys' Choir. True to form, one promoter who staged a concert by the latter later described it as "easily the most shocking thing I have ever experienced". At the time of his death, Christopherson was working on the latest Throbbing Gristle project, a complete re-working of Nico's 1970 album Desertshore.

    • Peter Martin Christopherson, musician, video director and designer, born 27 February 1955; died 25 November 2010

  3. #3
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    Sleazy was given the treatment on BBC Radio Four's Last Word. It'll be repeated on Sunday at 20:30.

    Nick

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    RIP Christopher - a talented man

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