US CD Brainwashed HAND004
This is one of the earliest archives of Greater Than One, originally released in 1985 on a limited edition cassette in a red Chinese envelope with cut outs of paper, a sticker, image, and poster; wrapped with a red yarn and sealed in a ziplock bag. The music is aggressive and punchy, with beats and horror sounds, yet the underlying drones are dark and thunderous. It's no surprise the group's first full-length record, 1987's All the Masters Licked Me, was released by Lustmord and Graeme Revell's Side Effects Records. This is the first time for this recording to appear on CD, and it's enhanced with content of images, text, and bonus audio files (including the entire Lay Your Penis Down cassette. Number four in the Brainwashed Handmade series, this was also letterpressed by Mike Babcock at Interrobang (whose clients have included Hydrahead, Relapse, Kimchee, Tumult, and SharkAttack).
The Brainwashed reissue of Greater Than One's 1985 cassette Kill the Pedagogue is a conundrum. It's something less than the original in that the CD format eliminates all of the tactile subversion Lee Newman and Michael Wells packed into their plastic bags of yore, yet it's something more in its inclusion of early demos, radio sessions, and music from the Lay Your Penis Down cassette attached in MP3 format. At the heart of Kill the Pedagogue are five unnamed tracks that both predate and presage their heyday on Wax Trax! Records, as well as the heyday of industrialists of a similar mind: Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Laibach. GTO's neotribal polyrhythms and steely atmospheres possess maybe a bit too much forced repetition and tongue-in-cheek bravado, as if they were trying to use the same pickup lines with different cyberpunk girls. The drum machines travel near-identical trajectories in the first two tracks, as does the contextual irony: Detuned druid voices in track one intone an unintelligible word only to proclaim it "means the truth, don't you get it?" while kung fu film audio transforms drama into slapstick in track two. (Part of that dialogue also opens track three.) Tracks four and five are clearly games of Fun With Tape Loops although the former is epic and sad, an audio tour through limbo with ghosts represented by a cacophony of murky vocals from lectures, movies, rap vinyl, and synthesized pads. Kill the Pedagogue is no successful replication of the mercenary gallows humor of Revolting Cocks or the tortured dread of Skinny Puppy, yet there are enough pummeled guitars, echo-chamber drums, and computer-generated ill winds to indicate that GTO at least possessed the DNA. - Adam Blyweiss, e|i.
When this arrived in the shop, there was a collective cry, "Whoa, Greater Than One? What ever happened to them?" Well, it turns out that the once prolific industrial dance duo ceased to be after Lee Newman died of cancer in 1995. While the pairing of Lee Newman and Michael Wells had a handful of fantastic if agitated Greater Than One albums that graced the Wax Trax! catalogue throughout the late '80s and early '90s, they were also a leading proponent of the bleep techno sound that marked the early incarnation of Warp Records in recording as Tricky Disco. Needless to say, Kill The Pedagogue predates all of that stuff, having been originally released back in 1985 as a self-released cassette. Greater Than One had much more in common with the rhythm and noise collages of Throbbing Gristle and TG's many disciples (esp. Hunting Lodge, Portion Control, and Hula) through distorted tape loops, media samples disfigured through warbling varispeed tricks, and post-Cabaret Voltaire drum machines pushed toward exhaustion with their tumbling patterns of tribal rhythms. Given that the original cassette was a mere 28 minutes long, those fine folks at Brainwashed filled out the disc with MP3s including all of the material from another self-released cassette from back in the day called Lay Your Penis Down plus a bunch of photos and the like. - Aquarius Records
5/5 Stars. Simply overwhelming and profiundly disturbing, this reissue by Greater Than One puts death metal and nihilist noise bands like Non to shame. That is a bold statement, but I'm making it. The most brutal power chords, a nagging drum machine, and fierce vocals that anticipate a whole genre of lesser lights; the mood is horrific, and exhilarating, like finding some new bones that push back the story of life a few more years. GTO were Lee Newman and Michael Wells, and they mostly released cassettes of their word back in the 80's. This is a relentless, ahead of its time blast of pure aggression and passion, and a great early example of noise sampling. Kudos to Brainwashed for putting this back into the spotlight. Try if you like: Combat Wounded Veteran, Non, Sunn O))) - Mike Wood, Music Emissions
When the CD arrived on the market, there wasn't much interesting music to buy, I thought. One day I bumped into a CD single of Greater Than One, 'I Don't Need God', and I saw them perhaps one or two years before that, and as I was determined to buy something that day, I bought it. In fact it was CD player favorite for a while. In years to come I bought most of their records, although I wouldn't consider myself a big fan. I just very much liked the sampling style. Loading techno related music with all those crazy spoken word samples and classical tunes. Whatever happened after Greater Than One (Technohead for instance) couldn't interest me very much. My colleague at the illegal radio station knew them personally and I'm sure he played 'Kill The Pedagogue' when it was released. It was a cassette only release, which they put out themselves, following 'Lay Your Penis Down', also a cassette only. It shows Greater Than One in a embryonically stage: rhythms are there, but also distorted voices, echo machines and guitars. Sampling at a very primitive stage, inspired (perhaps) by such likes of 400 Blows or Portion Control. It's a rough edged sound, but now, twenty one years later, it still stands. Slightly connected to industrial music it forecasts their later refined style. Since the original cassette wasn't that long, the lovely Brainwashed mob added a whole bunch of MP3s, including 'Lay Down Your Penis' and tracks of 'Dance Of The Cowards' and other rarities and a whole bunch of photos (courtesy of Robin Rimbaud and Howard Stelzer). Now that's what I call value for money and a perfect example of how to re-issue. May I humble ask for a re-issue of their entire catalogue on CD? Thank you. - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly