Thursday, March 12, 2009

Psychic TV - Force The Hand of Chance

One of the best albums released in the 80's, an almost seamless mixture of industrial dissonance, ethnological sorcery/forgery and the most beautiful pop songwriting. Just listen to "Stolen Kisses" and "Catalan" (with guest Jordi Valls) back to back and you'll see what I mean.

The story of Psychic TV is a very long and consistently fascinating one. I remember an old PTV site that had a huge amount of PTV paraphernalia and documentation, an impressive effort at preserving this group's assault on mass media and 20th century communications. Sadly I can no longer find this site, but If you do please drop the link in the comments. Meanwhile there's a little info coming from the head honcho here.

"The first Psychic TV album in many ways remains its best, a double album worthy of the space needed that's readily comparable to the best efforts of the World Serpent circle of acts like Current 93 and Coil in its variety, dark power and very English take on things. Admittedly the Coil (and therefore Throbbing Gristle) connection is further heightened by the participation of Peter Christopherson throughout, while Alex Fergusson's re-emergence after time spent with Alternative TV further heightens the overall musical excellence of the album. Add in some fine guest performers -- most notably Marc Almond, who appears on the winsome pop of "Stolen Kisses" and the slow burning, threatening mood piece "Guiltless" -- and Genesis P-Orridge would have had to work damn hard to screw everything up, which he certainly didn't. The opening track alone must have confounded more than a few Throbbing Gristle fanatics -- "Just Drifting (For Caresse)" is a slow folk song with gentle string backing written for and about P-Orridge's newborn daughter. The musical references throughout the album refer to everything from Ennio Morricone-styled spaghetti western twang and doom ("Terminus-Xtul," which eventually transforms into a grinding howl of feedback and a calm acoustic coda) to post-punk dance grooves ("Ov Power," in a "radio promo mix" that's still not entirely American Bandstand material). Bachir Attar and the Master Musicians of Jajouka get a direct salute with "Thee Full Pack" which, while not representative of that collective's music, still sets a haunting, mysterious mood. The Temple ov Psychick Youth coterie doubtless still gets a kick out of "Message from Thee Temple," in which an authoritative but warm voice quietly delivers some philosophical strictures against a rich, sorrowful combination of strings and low key beats."



  1. Downloading this now, thanks a bunch for uploading it! Cool blog!

  2. "One of the best albums released in the 80's, an almost seamless mixture of industrial dissonance, ethnological sorcery/forgery and the most beautiful pop songwriting"

    Could not say it better myself...I bought this when it came out and along with Crass totally shaped my emergent ontological and epistemological belief systems..sadly I was too young for TG but saw PTV a fair few times in the span of the eighties, following them into the acid-house in the late eighties....but this album will always be my favourite.

    Often overlooked is Chris and Cosey's 1982 Trance album released the year before this if memory serves, have been re-listening to it the last few months after a couple of decades hiatus and it sounds even more extraordinary with time..anticipates so much of what was to come musically speaking in the late 80s and early 90s.