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Ministry of Psychology

from Psychology Today

The Universal Fundamentals of Al Jourgensen

A musician finds connection in creativity.

by Michael Friedman Ph.D.

In 1969, the late Jim Morrison of the Doors had a prophecy—the birth of electronic music. He imagined that “some brilliant kid will come along … a lone artist with lots of tapes … a keyboard with the complexity and richness of a whole orchestra.” What was critical about Morrison’s prophecy was his excitement about this new possibility. He did not seem afraid of electronics, but rather open to what humans could do with machines to amplify the creative and emotional experience of music.

One of those brilliant kids who came along was Al Jourgensen of the industrial band Ministry. Industrial music is an aggressive fusion of electronic music and rock that employs harsh and provocative sounds created by any number of machines—from synthesizers to tools found in factories. Anything goes—nothing is off-limits. And Jourgensen has embraced Morrison’s enthusiasm for the possibility that machines can bring to creativity over the past four decades, propelling Ministry to be considered one of the greatest industrial bands of all time.

But in talking with Jourgensen for the Hardcore Humanism Podcast, the art is only an extension of his deeper philosophy on human nature—what he describes as the “universal fundamental.” The universal fundamental is that all beings throughout the universe are connected to one another. And the way we stay connected and communicate is by perpetually engaging in a creative and dynamic process by which we take in the information the world gives us, interpret it in our own unique way, and send it back out into the world. Jourgensen’s embrace of the range of sounds that make up industrial music in general and Ministry’s music, in particular, is his way of staying connected to the “universal fundamental.”

At the core of Jourgensen’s approach to the world and his art is open-mindedness. Like Morrison, Jorgensen did not fear but rather reveled in the new opportunities provided by industrial music. Intricate to this perspective is that all sounds are fair game for music—not just the ones made by traditional instruments. If we want to be truly aware of and connected to human experience and the world around us, we need to listen to and utilize all available sounds in art.

“Basically, since the 19th century, we’ve been living in an industrial age. All of a sudden, there’s been all these new noises that had never been heard before on this planet. You know, cotton gin, steam presses, printing presses, all these large machineries that make these audible sounds that have never been heard,” Jourgensen told me. “We’re familiar with these sounds. It took a long time to get used to these, and nobody thought of them as music … but now you can go on online anywhere and get plugins or apps of pretty much every sound that’s ever been made.”

[ click to continue reading at PT ]

Posted on June 22, 2021 by Editor

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