Reissues Less Sweet

27 Oct

Yes, there are brand-new digipak reissues available of the strikingly idiosyncratic first pair of studio LPs by PSYCHIC TV: Force the Hand of Chance and Dreams Less Sweet. But don’t be a heel like me and actually buy em. These things are damn-near bootlegs! Original PTV gtrist Alex Fergusson tells me Stevo at Some Bizzare Records didn’t involve anybody from the band to give permission or imput, and I can vouch for the fact that they feel/look/sound like piss poor, 2nd-gen. knockoffs of the already existing, flawed 90’s counterparts (so can this guy). Alex says: stick with the original UK vinyl if you wanna experience what was actually intended by this band of brave cultural terrorists . . .

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Lemme back up a bit.

PSYCHIC TV were to the post-industrial set what THE GRATEFUL DEAD were to hippie, what CRASS were to peace punk – in terms of scene figureheads, extended family dedication, and sheer voluminous, jammin’ output. First they were a sham cult, then a sham band, then an actual cult and an actual band, after which they ditched the band, and then the cut loose the cult, and finally . . . yeah it’s all so convoluted and kinda inconsequential anyway. The biopic will one day tell all (here’s hoping they’ll convince John Malkovich to play Genesis).

But aah! Those records! Well they were something else entirely. What you get when you spin any of the 100-odd PSYCHIC TV records released is an uneasy mixture of groping, blind-alley experimentation (that would be Mr. P-Orridge), alternatingly harsh/delicate musical overlay (courtesy of fine folks like Alex Fergusson and Peter Christopherson, and later on, Fred Giannelli or Larry Thrasher) and a whole grab bag of really intuitive, sonic déjà vu – to which every adept involved lent a fair amount of psychic willpower.

Each one of their records sounds like it might’ve been made by an entirely different group, which they often were. Some sound like an inverted-cross version of Syd Barrett’s PINK FLOYD (the Sordid Sentimentale releases), others like early Detroit House outtakes (Jack The Tab and Tekno Acid Beat) or Scientological self-help talking books (Al-Or-Al, Cathedral Engine). Still others sound like creepy little painted Easter eggs climbing up yo’ inner thigh (Dreams Less Sweet). The rockin’ was often rickety but SO WHAT! All their records contain moments of pure whitelight bliss, ones that can make your head do a 360-degree spin whether it’s asking to or not. And songs like “Stolen Kisses”, “The Orchids”, “Godstar” and “Roman P.” are out-of-time, otherworldly gems and oughta really be played throughout retail environments all across the Midlands, daily forevermore.

Now I don’t wanna get into some silly argument about whether Genesis P-Orridge is genius, wizard, or charlatan. He’s clearly a bit of each and no doubt an egomanical bastard besides. But that’s precisely what makes most of these records so darn compelling: he’s everything you want to accuse him of except shy. He maximized all he had at his disposal, and then some.

My advice for PTV virgins? Buy Godstar: Thee Director’s Cut (their glorious attempt at Brit popularism) or Live in Paris (the PTV live thang at it’s most magickal), ditch the word and let them ooooze, baby. And wait on baited breath for Stevo at Some Bizzare to GET A FUCKING CLUE.

Thanks to MonkeyIron for the pic

16 Responses to “Reissues Less Sweet”

  1. mark October 27, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    Now it’s you who has gotten there first! I was just gonna post on Live in Glasgow!

  2. mrowster October 28, 2008 at 7:10 am #

    Ha! So you’re a fan too. Yes Glasgow is great, but I’ve only ever heard it paired with City of London. I’ve never been able to figure out which tracks came from which gigs (one of the takes on “I Love You” is their best, imo).

  3. Dave Lang October 28, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    I will finally – and belatedly – check out some of their gear. ‘s weird, despite my near 20-year fandom for Throbbing Gristle, PTV have never been much on my radar.

  4. mark October 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    The only thing I ever ordered from TOPY was the Dream Machine plan, which I actually assembled and used for a year or so.

  5. eugene October 28, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    That is a lot of albums! Nice post. I never really got into them but deeply offended someone once by saying that they sound like The Cure.

  6. mrowster October 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    Eugene: Thanks man. But Ack! THE CURE! Though . . . I suppose Marc Almond of SOFT CELL and Rose McDowall of STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE did sing with PTV on various records, so maybe you’re not too far off the mark.

  7. mrowster October 28, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    Mark: for a while there I’d get regular mailings from TOPY in San Diego, but never did order the Dream Machine plans. Me I just went straight for the LSD-25.

  8. mrowster October 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    Dave: give in to Hyperdelia! It was waaaay more fun than the grim, B&W world of TG’s industrial shriek n grind.

  9. mark October 28, 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    Ha! By the time I got into the Dream Machine, I was pretty tripped-out. Wanted something more easily escaped. I guess just be glad you declined to send them “ov”. Yech.

  10. Lisa B-K November 2, 2008 at 12:38 am #

    I worked for WaxTrax! as a publicist back in the early 90s, when PTV-related folks were putting out records for them.

    My first show after moving CHGO was Chris & Cosey at the Metro in August 1991. Man, oh man.

    • Fred Giannelli May 10, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

      telepathic.hello to Lisa (Paulin???) @ Wax Trax PR !!!

  11. mark November 2, 2008 at 5:37 am #


  12. Fred Giannelli November 16, 2008 at 1:56 am #

    Don’t bother buying any of the PTV live series put out by Voiceprint either. They never paid any publishing royalties unless Gen ripped me off and wasted the money on pathetic cosmetic surgery.

    telepathic regards,

  13. mrowster November 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm #

    Fred: Hey I could do a couple/three posts about your tenure in PTV alone – thanks for stopping by. Personal faves from that period include the entire Towards the Infinite Beat and SICKMOB’s stellar “R.U. Xperienced?” EP. If we could just get our minds together . . .

  14. Fred Giannelli November 18, 2008 at 4:53 am #

    Sure, send me an email @ if you want to do an interview.

    telepathic regards,

  15. Sandy Robertson December 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

    If anyone knows if my buddy of yore Alex Fergusson is still with us I’d love to get in touch. We were born ten days apart and I’ve known him since we were teenagers. I believe he was living in Germany awhile back and has twin sons.
    My health hasn’t been great and as we hit 65 I want to reconnect.
    Sandy Robertson, ex Nobodies, ex SOUNDS, ex PENTHOUSE, author of various inconsequential scribblings on music,film,Crowley, etc…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: