Prix Ars Electronica 2003 year book - extract

(honorable mention précis)

Bird Seed has been regarded by many critics as Whitehouse's most mature, diverse and complex release to date. Still containing Whitehouse's unadulterated lyrics, and ironic swipes at the misfortunate, this recording finds the band at a far more intellectually sophisticated and psychologically interrogative stage in its career, particularly in terms of how the lyrics attempt to grapple with the culturally stigmatized therapy and self-help culture. Much of this has been attributed to the departure of former band member Peter Sotos and the shrinkage of the group to a duo of William Bennett / Philip Best. Musically, things have equally changed for the group, credited with having pioneered what became known in the 1990s as "power electronics". With Bird Seed, Whitehouse have found not only new lyrical insight and sophistication, but musical innovation that is in keeping with their career achievements thus far.


(regarding the jury's deliberations)

The UK group Whitehouse are still too extreme to find a majority on this jury panel 20 years after their first appearance. They have shifted from the paradigm of being an ambivalent "80s industrial" band towards a contemporary-sounding digital blast. They focus their issues more precisely than ever. Obvious, but not obvious enough, Whitehouse are one of the few collectives to twist political issues explicitly with their extreme and controversial works. Addressing the topics of power, media, violence, abuse and fetish, Whitehouse have caused the heavist debate amongst our committee. The voyeuristic aspect of their work struck some of us as choreographed provocation and others as disgusting theatrics. But the very fact of the panel's polarization over the kind of abhorrence, rejections and fascination their music and message conveys raised the discourse to grant them, with our divided passions, a disputed place in the final honorable mentions. Their unrelenting live spectacles and savage sound-works are an inexorable testament to a brute strength. Let the outrage continue!

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