Puppy Gristle Dissected

As soon as it was announced that Subconscious would be releasing Puppy Gristle in its entirety, I knew that I would end up creating an edit chart documenting the location of all of its various derivatives within the larger piece. As you probably already know, Puppy Gristle was an improvisation recorded in 1993 in Malibu by cEvin Key, Dwayne Goettel, Genesis P’Orridge, Larry Thrasher, and Ken Marshall (a vocal by Ogre and Genesis was overdubbed later). Over the years bits and pieces of the recording were sprinkled about various Download and Psychic TV releases. Now, thanks to the From the Vault series, we are finally able to hear the recording in its original, complete form. It is rare that fans are able to hear an artist’s work in both its final version and its original, raw form. Being the obsessive that I am, I decided to take this opportunity and try and ‘map’ Puppy Gristle and its children. My inspiration came from similar efforts which have been applied to Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew album. Little did I know what a massive undertaking this was. After nearly 20 hours of painstaking and mind-numbing reconstruction I have finally created a fairly accurate representation of all of the various edits.

The job was made more difficult by the fact that, in the creation of the various tracks which PG spawned, the musicians did not simply use live chunks of the performance. Instead they used various pieces of the session as the raw material for the new tracks. This means that the amount of edits present in the final tracks was staggering. In order to complete my picture, I had to find all of these edits, loops, repeated sections, etc. I did this using a copy of CoolEdit, wave files of the various recordings, and only partial sanity. First I used the ‘master’ live recording of Puppy Gristle as track 1 and panned it hard left. Then I placed one of the edited tracks in track 2 and panned it hard right. Using my ears (with the visual representation of the waveform as a guide) I matched up portions of one to the other, slowly finding the edit points. This process grew infinitely more complex and took many hours.

First, a few notes. The times are not always precise. I decided for a number of reasons to round to the nearest second, so you’ll note that not all of the times of each section match exactly. Furthermore, the more I edited the tracks down, the more variations crept in, so it became quite difficult to cross reference between them as exactingly as I’d have liked. However, if you read this along with your CD player it should make sense most of the time. Secondly, the edit logic of some of the tracks is maddeningly complex, making a single presentation impossibly confusing (I had originally wanted to show this all in a single small graphic…) So I’ve made a separate chart for each of the derivative tracks.

Fire This Ground:
Some things are worth pointing out. In Fire This Ground we hear a portion numerous times which only occurred once during the actual performance. This section is what I refer to as the ‘loop’. The loop itself is constructed utilizing a repeat. The first section of the loop is played twice before the second section (sort of an AAB form). The creation of this loop gives the track a grounding element, a repeated phrase that the listener can hook onto (despite its surface inaccessibility). I may be overstating this case, as the ‘loop’ only appears in complete form twice, but whoever edited this track quite obviously emphasized this segment for a reason. Part one of the loop returns at the end of the track, overdubbed on top of another section from the live performance. It repeats itself numerous times before fading out beneath the other material. This is apparently the only part of Fire This Ground that features an overdub as opposed to a straight ‘razorblade edit’. Also of note is that, despite the subtitle it received as Puppy Gristle part 1, Fire This Ground is much more than a single part of Puppy Gristle. It includes material from both the beginning and end of the performance.

Gristle Dog Corr:
Gristle Dog Corr is an even more complex case. While Fire This Ground confuses with its usage of a repeated section and numerous edits of material across the whole performance, the material in the track remains largely in the same order as the original performance. That is to say that in Fire This Ground no section appears before another which it originally came after in Puppy Gristle. This is not the case with Gristle Dog Corr. The track begins with material from the end of the performance, the switches to material from the middle, and then returns to the end (including some of the same segments which appeared earlier in the track!) Furthermore, the track utilizes some material which does not appear to be from Puppy Gristle. On top of it all are dialogue and sound samples (most if not all from Charlie’s Family, the film that’s soundtrack includes Gristle Dog Corr). Like Fire This Ground, Gristle Dog Corr also uses the ‘loop’ concept in its edit structure. And, like Fire This Ground, the loop has an AAB construction. I was not able to identify every segment of this track. In addition to a few which don’t sound as if they are from Puppy Gristle, there are a few which, though doubtlessly of PG origin, I simply could not place exactingly. These are segments which, though they can be placed in a general section of PG, are far too short to completely identify. Despite the fact that PG was an improvisation, the musicians used ostinatos and repeated samples for sufficient enough segments of time to make accurately placing 2 second fragments impossible. Also of note is the fact that Fire This Ground and Gristle Dog Corr share some of the same material (however brief).

Electric Newspaper:
Psychic TV’s sampling series Electric Newspaper featured short segments on issues two and three. Issue three features a track assembled out of various loops of material from a one minute segment of PG. Issue two’s thirty-five second cut actually features only a ten-second clip from PG, part of which is looped a few times. Those ten-seconds are also part of the very minute that the other issue used. Obviously PTV really liked that segment.

-Corey Goldberg

You can still order one of the limited edition of 1000 Puppy Gristle CDs from Subconscious's mailorder. Act quickly because there are not many left.

Fire This Ground (5:06) Puppy Gristle (40:11)
/// 0-0:02 (Silence)
/// 0:02-0:04 (Ogre vocal)
0:0-0:16 0:04-0:21
0:16-0:27, 0:27-0:32 (same section repeated) 0:29-0:40
0:32-0:36,0:36-0:39 (Loop pt1 (x2)) 0:55-0:59 (Loop part 1 source)
0:39-0:43 (Loop pt 2) 0:59-1:03 (Loop part 2 source)
0:43-0:54 (Loop pt 1(x2), loop pt 2) ///
0:54-1:13 1:26-1:45
1:13-1:30 2:15-2:32
1:30-1:41 3:01-3:12
1:41-2:11 4:27-4:57
2:11-2:45 5:15-5:49
2:45-3:02 6:55-7:12
3:03-3:31 20:27-20:55
3:31-4:13 22:05-22:51
4:13-4:40 (Loop pt 1 overdubbed, fades out) 33:43-34:22
4:40-5:05 38:31-38:44 (possibly)

Gristle Dog Corr (6:12) Puppy Gristle (40:11)
0-0:28 37:47-38:15
0:28-0:54 32:01-32:28
0:54-1:19 32:31-32:57
1:19-1:28 33:51-33:57
1:28-1:35,1:35-1:41 (Loop part 1 x2) 26:25-26:32 (source of loop part 1)
1:41-1:50 (Loop part 2) 26:56-27:02,27:03-27:06 (source of loop part 2, 1 sec in the middle omitted)
1:50-2:04 (Loop part 1x2) ////
2:04-2:06 ???
2:06-2:15 (Loop part 2) ////
2:15-2:23 (something in this general section, perhaps pitch shifted)
2:23-2:32 27:49-27:58
2:32-2:35 (short fragment)
2:35-2:37 (short fragment)
2:37-2:40 ???
2:40-2:42 (short fragment)
2:42-2:50 ???
2:50-2:56 28:10-28:16
2:56-3:18 ???
3:18-4:29 28:41-29:52
4:29-4:42 31:30-31:44
4:42-5:10 32:05-32:33
5:10-5:25 32:33-32:47
5:25-5:59 33:47-34:22
5:59-6:12 ???

Electric Newspaper Issue 2 segment (0:35) Puppy Gristle (40:11)
0:00-0:10 6:59-7:09
0:10-0:35 (Loop/edit of parts of 6:59-7:09)

Electric Newspaper Issue 3 segment (4:40) Puppy Gristle (40:11)
0:00-4:40 (Various loops taken from 6:06-7:07)

This page last updated on Monday, May 27, 2002
by Corey Goldberg