Elbo Room Jack London
Oakland, CA 94607
Presented by Bodyshock, in conjunction with Blank Forms.
Among the first Japanese artists inspired by the industrial music of Whitehouse and SPK, Grim was founded as a one-man power electronics project in 1985, following the dissolution of seminal duo White Hospital. Deliberately seeking an unrefined music, with a self-described “raw, native feeling” drawn from punk rock’s aggressive distortion, Grim’s output nevertheless exhibits a mercurial diversity folding elements of throat singing, organ music, crude polyrhythms, and impulses derived from East Asian vernacular musics into a demented elaboration of Japanese noise. Grim’s now-classic first LP, 1986’s Folk Music, gives the impression of a childhood fever dream, oscillating wildly between naive instrumental lullabies and tempests of throbbing rhythmic noise, punctuated by deranged, sepulchral vocal utterances. Conversely, the following year’s Message contains actual folksong, albeit of a haunted, apocalyptic variety no less devastating than its industrial foil.
Following two decades devoted to tenkoku seal carving, Grim returned in 2010 with a slew of recordings investigating spaces between prior poles of intensity and innocence. Clean beats derived from electronic music occasionally glimpse through the project’s contemporary murk, yet this year’s Primary Pulse makes clear that the extreme end of Grim’s shamanic power electronics remains intact. Having first brought the occult rituals of their live performances overseas in 2016, Grim now makes their US debut.