Bruce Gilbert

This Way to the Shivering Man

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Actually a compilation of tracks from two separate, earlier albums -- This Way and The Shivering Man -- This Way to the Shivering Man definitely ranks as some of the most extreme work any Wire member has ever created. Having already demonstrated his abilities on the edge with his work in Dome, Gilbert pushed things even further, with work that proved to be not merely avant-garde for its day but startling prescient of later musicians. Specifically, much of the combined emphasis on haunting, dark loops and lengthy, extended tones helps provide a bridge between classic minimalists like Philip Glass and Steve Reich and '90s young guns such as the Aphex Twin (in ambient mode) and especially Main. Little surprise that the latter's Robert Hampson would end up working with Gilbert in later years, especially after a listen to the chilling "Work for 'Do You Me? I Did,' Parts 1, 2, 3." Originally commissioned by noted experimental dancer Michael Clark in 1984, the three songs beautifully combine aggressive sheets of treated white noise with some calmer motifs and sections, with highlights including the unnerving scream sequence at the end of part one and the heavily echoed metallic rhythm in part two. While those songs are the unquestioned highlights, This Way To has plenty of others to offer. "The Shivering Man" is one of them, editing together a chopped-up bit of string orchestration which almost sounds like it's from a mid-century cartoon with any number of mechanistic noises and quite disturbing loops that sound like a factory ominously shutting down. The low volume but still intense dance beats of "Epitaph for Henran Brenlar," meanwhile, feature the elegant but threatened vocals of Gilbert's Dome partner Graham Lewis on the collection's one collaboration.

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