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Charlotte Krol
5 July 2023, 14:47

Monte Cazazza, artist who coined the term ‘industrial music’, dies aged 68

The artist, who was an early signee of Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records, died after a period of illness

Monte Cazazza poses in sunglasses in a black-and-white image
Last FM

Monte Cazazza, the musician who coined the term “industrial” to describe aggressive, electronic-influenced rock music, has died at the age of 68.

News of the artist's death was shared by Meri St. Mary, one of his collaborators, on 30th June via Twitter. “It is with immense sadness and love I had to let Monte go,” she wrote.

“He was very ill and in pain so I take comfort in the fact that that part is over but I miss him already! Wherever it is we go off to I am certain he will be causing trouble in his own way. RIP the one and only Monte Cazazza.”

The US artist was an early signee to Industrial Records, the label founded by the experimental art group Throbbing Gristle (Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter Christopherson, Chris Carter).

Cazazza's phrase, “industrial Music for industrial people”, which was intended to describe the noisy, experimental sound manipulation that the label specialised in, led to the naming of the genre as industrial.

The artist began his career in California where he created artworks aimed at shocking viewers. He was expelled from the California College for Arts and Crafts after his first sculpture assignment in which he created a cement waterfall that incapacitated the main stairway of the class building.

Most of his early artworks, which are considered obscene, are difficult to source.

The artist's most notable works were in sound collage, and he released eight solo albums throughout his career. His last was 2010's ‘The Cynic’. His album, 'The Worst Of Monte Cazazza', was released in 1992. 

Beside his solo work Cazazza collaborated with names including Factrix, Chaos Of The Night, The Atom Smashers, and The Love Force. He contributed to nine albums by Psychic TV, a collective later founded by P-Orridge. 

In the '90s Cazazza founded M&MProductions and MMFilms with Michelle Handelman. They made a series of experimental audiovisual works including the set of the video, photography and sculpture Blood, Guts And Beauty, the explicit film Catscan, The Torture Series, the video Hope, and the essay The Cereal Box Conspiracy Against The Developing Mind.

More recently, in 2018, he collaborated with St. Mary on the song ‘I Fight Like A Girl/Killing Time’.

Among those who have paid tribute to Monte Cazazza in the wake of his passing are Dark Entries Records and the experimental electronic artist Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner.