Andy Bagley and Michael Nolan – aka The Kilgore Trout Combustion – released their debut album Pure Bunk, on cassette, in 1991; in that youthful glory phase of an arty band’s existence, when they anticipated great and widespread success while paradoxically expecting to alienate people with clever outsiderness. With their ‘musical bulkheads blown’ by the likes of Nitzer Ebb and Skinny Puppy, they applied modern composition techniques to industrial music, providing an idiosyncratic framework in which a 12-tone row sequence might be underpinned by percussive tracks comprising sampled sounds of a steel gate slamming in a sci-fi film. To this discordant and sometimes gear-shifting rhythmic base, they added hoarse vocals held high in the mix, in the vein of Foetus’s cartoon-machismo, and gilded with heavy sarcasm or word experimentation that owed a nod to the Beats.
Performing such stuff live was a strong-willed undertaking in the Brisbane music scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Particularly in hot pants. The pubs weren’t receptive, and frankly the sound engineers didn‘t know what to do with “a band” that required perhaps 16 DIs for the banks of synths, and, even at full tempest, a well separated sound. They found their place instead deeper in the underground.
“Imagine these songs delivered at staggering volume, frequently sounding like there were two or three of them playing over each at once, which was sometimes the acoustic result of playing cavernous rooms to a few people keeping themselves to the margins for reasons of eardrum protection and cool. I can’t express enough how I adore these patchy memories.” Michael Nolan, 2020.
For Trans:Com – long-time admirers & supporters of this band which “pulled an Icehouse” by taking their debut album title as their later band name – it is a deep joy to re-release this incredible (and incredibly important) set of industrial electronica from Brisbane’s original masters of the genre.