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The Courtauld Talks
Killing Joke
The Courtauld Talks
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Killing Joke
Title: The Courtauld Talks
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Invisible Records
Release Date: 7/1/1997
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, New Wave & Post-Punk, Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 637642000428, 669910184752

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CD Reviews

Warning! this is a spoken word cd
Drummond Berman | Brooklyn, NY USA | 06/05/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)

"i have loved every killing joke album since the start, and have gladly bought every single and attended every show i could. but even a hardcore killing joke fan has to draw the line somewhere. this is not a killing joke album. this is jaz coleman talking about bead jiggling and new age claptrap while geordie tries to pretend he understands what's going on by pinging some bells and strumming a guitar occasionally. i mean, honestly, jaz - your music's great and all that, but have you actually listened to this? it's embarrassing."
Fascinating but ultimately a bit silly
Craig Dickson | San Mateo, CA USA | 02/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"As other reviews have noted (but it bears repeating!), this is NOT a Killing Joke album, but a spoken lecture delivered by Jaz Coleman at the Courtauld Institute in England. The subject of the lecture is the alleged imminent return of the Elder Gods. Jaz had clearly been paying way too much attention to the writings of British occultist Kenneth Grant at the time; Grant's arguably imaginative but insubstantial mishmosh of ideas borrowed from Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft (yes, the horror writer!), and other sources comes through very clearly here, insofar as anything so incoherent can ever be clear. Jaz also name-checks Maggie Crosby (known among occultists as Soror Nema). As occultism goes, these are not exactly high-class sources, yet Jaz takes them all quite seriously. Well, what can you say. He's an artist, not a philosopher, as this lecture proves.

Anyway, the basic idea of this lecture is that the Manhattan Project, which invented the atomic bomb during World War Two, gave the Elder Gods access to Earth again after they had been banished many millions of years ago. Sounds silly, eh? But all Jaz really means is that the cosmic forces of creation (specifically, the power released by atomic reactions such as those in nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, and the sun itself) have not been directly active on the Earth since it was first formed -- they were, in a sense, "banished" to the sun, which is powered by nuclear fusion. Now we humans are working with these forces technologically, which can be regarded as the "return" of these primal forces to Earth. If there's a worthwhile point to make with this elaborate metaphor, it would seem to be a question of whether in making use of nuclear power, we are taking greater risks than we realize, perhaps even playing with forces beyond our ability to control. I suppose it's up to the listener to decide whether this qualifies as profound occult wisdom or not. Personally, I'm not too impressed; lots of non-occultists already think nuclear power is too dangerous for us to handle. Even so, it was sort of fun listening to the lecture and figuring out what Jaz was really talking about, even if in the end it didn't amount to much."
Highly entertaining, but mismarketed as Killing Joke
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Consider yourself warned-- this is NOT a Killing Joke record. It's a lecture given by Jaz Coleman with occasional musical accompaniment from Geordie and percussionist Jeff Scantlebury. If you're not already knee-deep in Killing Joke, get yourself some of their music catalog (start with their self-titled album from 1980 if you like punk, 1985's "Night Time" if you like new wave, or 1995's "Pandemonium" if you like industrial) and then think about this one again.

With that taken care of, "The Courtauld Talks", what a highly unusual piece. Over the years, there's all the great stories about Jaz Coleman-- his flight to Iceland to await the apocalypse, his obsessions with numerology, his flirtations with the occult and his leftist even if you're a proud liberal like me politics. Well, here's your chance to have it all rolled into one, no nebulous lyrics with odd imagery.

Instead, what you get is nebulous speech with odd imagery and occasional statements of "now let me explain" that result in something making less sense than it did before (or a complete shift of topic). Blendings of science and religion and numerology and the occult and even a little bit of H.P. Lovecraft and all sorts of other stuff in what works out to be an hour plus ramble and rant that comes off like a distillation of the vision of Killing Joke's lyrics.

Along the way, we do get a brief acoustic rendition of "Outside the Gate", where Coleman discusses his made up time signatures (I'm still trying to figure out how 13/12 actually exists) and all sorts of other stuff that is the work of either a genius or a madman, or maybe a bit of both.

Truth to be told, I almost never listen to this, when I do, I realize how little sense it makes, how truly bizarre it is, and yet how oddly entertaining, plus how often do you get to hear Geordie on an acoustic guitar chugging away with Coleman's rambling about Mutually Assured Destruction vs. overpopulation as the soon cause of the end of the world?

Bottom line, know what you're getting before you get it. I rather like it, but hey, it's odd stuff."