The REAL reason I mention Foetus so often

JG Thirlwell's Manorexia at Roadburn April 2012

(This post was inspired by my latest piece at Collapse Board – a bit about favourite albums – in which, yet again, I mentioned Foetus.)

I give up at 59 … too many distractions. I am trying to count how many records JG Thirlwell has made. I think I’m proving my own point about being obsessive-compulsive. “Tenacious” is the word I usually use; “like a dog with a bone” is the way other people put it, but if you ever needed someone to count the grains of sand in an eggtimer, you’d pick me. Still, I know a lost cause when I see one (does Null/Void count as one album or two EPs?), which is the wafer-thin line between me and the crazy people. So I let go of that particular strand before it becomes another brainworm. You know, like an earworm? An idée fixe, monomania of the day, Moby Dick‘s whale, et cetera. I mean, all Foetus fans are a certain level of bats*** insane – it’s the antithesis of one of those high-frequency garden cat repellers: the music scares off sane people and is catnip to us weirdos.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you might have noticed that I mention JG Thirlwell a lot. Not every post – it’s obvious I have a wide range of tastes and interests – but enough for you to notice. There’s a very good reason for this, and it’s not just because I’m the sort of person who has an in-game coin collection in Morrowind. Nope, it’s for this very, very simple little reason. 

The easiest way to put it is to contrast JG Thirlwell with another go-to act, Radiohead. I’m not a huge Radiohead fan but I do habitually buy their records: I’ve probably bought The Bends about three times now in various formats. Although I went off them a bit around Kid A, I’d generally describe them as an “automatic purchase” – I’ll decide not to buy something they’ve done, rather than having to be persuaded to get it. Radiohead are a good example since they’re very established – they’ve been going 21 years – and still very productive.

This is Radiohead’s schedule for the past six months:

December 2011
The Daily Mail/Staircase released (songs recorded as part of the King of Limbs sessions)

March 2012
Jonny Greenwood-Krzysztof Penderecki collaboration LP released

April 2012
Gig in Mexico

May 2012
Collaboration with Kathryn Bint

Even if I talked about every little thing they’d done, I’d still have only mentioned them four times.

This, on the other hand, is some of what JG Thirlwell has done in the past six months.

December 2011

The Sugarcane Labyrinth – short film feat music by JG Thirlwell documenting the making of an agricultural maze

DJ set at a benefit gig for Jonathan Toubin

January 2012
Ken Jacobs’ Seeking the Monkey King named best experimental film by The National Society of Film Critics. (Score by Manorexia)


Also plays at a concert recreating Brian Eno’s Here Come The Warm Jets

February 2012

DJ Food – The Search Engine album released


freq_out 8 sound installation, Stockholm

April 2012

La Rua Madureira cover for Nino Ferrer tribute album


Manorexia European tour


May 2012

Zola Jesus feat JG Thirlwell and Mivos Quartet at the Guggenheim Museum


freq_out vol 2 CD released

Sound Around Kaliningrad festival

Working on The Venture Bros season 5 soundtrack


I write about him more than anyone else because he does more than anyone else and all of it is worth writing about. JG Thirlwell has released 32 albums, 12 EPs and 15 singles, not including the bits above and the many dozens of remixes, collaborations and appearances he’s made (I know I’ve missed out a fair amount of stuff from this year alone). The whole world is his Where’s Wally picture. It would be like trying to write about cinema without mentioning the collective works of Christopher Lee, Pete Postlethwaite and Kevin Bacon (that’s 445 films – I counted.): the man. Is. Everywhere.

Not that I mind, of course.

In fact, I’m rather happy about it. That is 59 pretty fantastic records, after all.



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