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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