Black Tish originally formed in 1988 in Brussels, Belgium as a sort of experimental/post metal fusion project that incorporated early industrial sound into their work before industrial was really a thing. Founder and scientist Bob Coecke used cutting edge sampling techniques for the time, a host of synth and sound loops and metal-style guitars to create a heavy rock/electronica fusion unlike anything heard before. Unfortunately it also wasn’t heard after for many years as well, as differing opinions and tastes within the band’s original line-up kept their first album, Throbbing Flip Out. Finally completed ten years after it began in 1998, Coecke’s move to Oxford in England to study physics meant the project was shelved once again.
Another 25 years takes us to now, and Throbbing Flip Out is finally out, along with a new sister album called Viral Apocalypse by Coeke with Bruce Warner on Bass and daughter Marieke Coecke on backing vocals. The desire for Coecke to continue the project seems to come from some pinnacle he’s reached both in his scientific work and his conception of his music. The original project in 1988 had a strong nod to musique concrète, a very early genre of electronic music and sound study which uses loops of sound to create beats, melodies and full songs rather than instruments. This obviously inspired Coecke as a scientist as well as an artist, and the sonic science of loops and sampling is present on both albums.
Now a well-known quantum physicist who works specifically on the new cutting edge discipline of quantum computing, Coecke has put together Viral Apocalypse with the same focus on looped sounds and acoustical work but there’s a definite modern edge to the new album. Coecke has said that Throbbing Flipping Out took influence from other industrial pioneers like Throbbing Gristle, Ministry and Butthole Surfers and it’s apparent in that album’s sound. Grungy, raw and using vintage loops while adding metal, the foundation was all there from the beginning. Viral Apocalypse, however, is updated with modern methods, software, drone and a buttload more guitars, it’s where fans would have expected Black Tish to be as they avolved over the years without the gap.
It’s clear that Coecke’s scientific interest in and macabre sense of sound composition has never left him through all these years, and now he’s able to use the tech advancements that may not have been available in the 80s and 90s to make a slicker version Black Tish that can now be defined as industrial post metal. Now working with even more innovative techniques up to and including making music on quantum computers for the next album (due out in about a year, not another 25), it seems Coecke and Black Tish are now more than ready to take their place on the cutting edge of industrial music.
Throbbing Flip Out and Viral Apocalypse are out now and available to stream on Spotify.