Do you really need any context for this?! Pure indefensible filth, back in print. While the ongoing Whitehouse vinyl reissues, particularly the one of good old bad old Peter Kurten, have been welcome, I’ve always thought the inherently grubby CD was the optimal format for this stuff - and easier to hide behind a plant-pot should anyone with a shred of moral rectitude happen to visit your gaff unannounced.
Total Sex originally came out on Come Organisation in 1980, a truncated version of the Ultrasadism tape from earlier in the same year. This new “legacy” reissue restores the censored artwork (part of a 12pp booklet) that appeared on initial copies of the vinyl, an extract from de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. It also includes two bonus tracks from the Total Sex sessions that appeared on United Dairies' Hoisting The Black Flag comp but not the original album.
While it still sounds twisted and oppressive and menacing as fuck, it’s funny how cavernous, how dankly atmospheric, how carefully and subtly LAYERED it all sounds today...it's really not that big a leap from Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing (adored by William Bennett) to this... both are a kind of an intense, overloaded minimalism, and both sound oddly ageless.. Bennett’s vocals are so distant and distorted that they have an almost lulling effect, even when speaking of unspeakable things, while the onslaught of electric-whip synths, for all their heat and sting, seem to default to churning, mid-range, stomach-turning drones rather than the piercing, rat-scratching-at-your-face high frequencies we tend to associate with power electronics. Trawling the sewers of utmost human cruelty and depravity, Whitehouse find something close to... psychedelia.
Approach with due caution!