Sunday, February 18, 2007

PSYCHICK TV-Allegory and Self,LP,1988,UK


Psychic TV (sometimes spelt Psychick TV) or PTV, is primarily an electronic music group that occasionally forays into psychedelic, punk and experimental music. The band was formed by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge and video director Peter Christopherson (after the break up of Throbbing Gristle) with Alex Fergusson, musician and producer (a key member of Alternative TV for whom Genesis had played percussion).
The band began publishing a monthly series of 23 live albums in 1986, but stopped without explanation after only 17. The tenth, a picture disk most commonly referred to as Album 10, could only be obtained by submitting tokens contained in each of the previous nine releases. The band subsequently earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Contributions to Psychic TV have include artists such as Coil, Current 93, Hafler Trio, The Cult, White Stains, Soft Cell, XKP, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Matthew Best, Daniel Simon Black, Bill Breeze, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Derek Jarman, Fred Giannelli, John Gosling, Timothy Leary, Rose McDowall, Stephen Kent, Vagina Dentata Organ, Andrew Weatherall, Larry Thrasher, Z'ev, Zef Noi$e, and many others.
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (aka T.O.P.Y.), was formed as an organisation at the same time as the band. T.O.P.Y. was intended to be the philosophical wing of Psychic TV, but also presented an image of being a cult-like fanclub for the group. P-Orridge left it in 1991.
Psychic TV released early albums of acid house music in (1988) as fake compilations, such as Jack The Tab and Tekno Acid Beat. After breaking up in 1999, Psychic TV reformed as PTV3 with a new line-up in 2003.
History of the band
Since Genesis P-Orridge primarily wrote the lyrics instead of the music, he would assemble different groups of musicians together to create the music. This accounts for the changing musical nature of PTV. Thus the history of Psychic TV can be broken up into the periods of the main songwriter that was working with him at the time.
1981-1987: Alexander Fergusson period
Psychic TV was formed with the core membership of GP-O, and Alex Fergusson in 1981. Alexander Fergusson was a member of the punk outfit Alternative TV, upon whose 1978 album Vibing Up The Senile Man (Part One) had played percussion, and contributed the latter half of the name Psychic TV [1]. Peter Christopherson got involved in 1982 and claimed that the 'TV' component of the name was intended to focus on the visual elements of the outfit.
Genesis once claiming that "Psychic TV is a video group who does music unlike a music group which makes music videos". Similarities can be seen in the artwork for Alternative TV and early Psychic TV releases, with a recurring pastiche on the 'as seen on TV' marketing style.
In the earliest live performances, Psychic TV maintained much of the noisy atmosphere as Genesis' previous band, Throbbing Gristle, although now with an increased use of exotic acoustic drums and other instruments. Psychic TV were signed to WEA Records and subsequently CBS based on the infamy of Throbbing Gristle.
Their first albums Force The Hand Of Chance and Dreams Less Sweet featured high production values, catchy pop songs written by Fergusson (with barbershop quartet vocals arranged by Andrew Pearson), sound experiments primarily created by Peter Christopherson and Geoff Rushton (also known as John Balance). Marc Almond was also involved.
The live shows continued to be improvised noise until Peter Christopherson left the group and Fergusson implemented musicians capable of improvisational pop music, known as hyperdelic, such as that featured on the singles Godstar and Roman P. This led to a series of 23 live show recordings being released, which dominated most of Psychic TV's output until 1988. Towards the end of this period Fergusson/P-Orridge completed their third proper studio album Allegory and Self: Thee Starlit Mire. It was at this point that Genesis became interested in acid house and techno. Alex Fergusson left and was replaced with techno artist Fred Gianelli.

1988-1992: Fred Giannelli period
During this period Fred Giannelli and other techno artists released music not only as Psychic TV, but also a variety of 'fake' names. The idea behind this was to release 'compilations' of these imaginary artists, creating a sense that a healthy acid house scene existed in the UK. The key studio albums of this period were Jack The Tab, Tekno Acid Beat and Towards the Infinite Beat, as almost all of the live shows in this period were based around the songs on these albums.
1992-1993: Exile
Genesis claimed initially that he was deported,[citation needed] although later admitted that he decided not to return to England from Kathmandu, where he and his family had been working with Tibetan refugees, instead going into "self-imposed exile". This was after a video he had created was falsely presented as evidence of Satanic ritual abuse in an edition of Channel 4 TV's Dispatches. The programme was later discredited, though not before his house was raided by the police and the allegations had been repeated in the tabloid press. He said that he felt he would not get a fair hearing if he returned to England, so the family moved to California.
Shortly after moving to the US, Genesis underwent a divorce which traumatized him immensely. Most of the output during this period was made up of re-releases of earlier albums, especially by industrial music record labels who released the albums as a "paying of respects" to the founder of industrial music.
1993-1999: Larry Thrasher period
In 1992 Kim Cascone (founder of Silent Records) introduced Genesis to Larry Thrasher, co-founder of the mid 80's San Francisco experimental noise band Thessalonians. This began a new period with Psychic TV returning to its psychedelic pop roots with Thrasher co-producing the critically acclaimed Trip/Reset as well as new experimental explorations which centered around the spoken word poetry of P-orridge in releases like "Thee Fractured Garden" and "Breathe". "Thee Fractured Garden" was a seminal example of this period where Psychic TV blended ambient music, samples and sound collages with spoken word. This eventually led to the offshoot groups Splinter Test and later Thee Majesty, both with Thrasher, which focused on the spoken word and sonic experimentations.
Other notable releases upon which Genesis collaborated with Thrasher were the Electric Newspapers, a series of open source sample releases that blurred the sampling CD concept with a stream of consciousness listening experience. Material from the Electric Newspaper series of releases (there are six in total, but only four have been released) is mostly taken from the CDs PTV released with Thrasher along with contributors such as Skinny Puppy and other notable musical allies of this time.
The original motivation for the Electric Newspaper series was to ensure that the PTV sample files were archived after the loss of the entire PTV sampling library in the dramatic five alarm fire at the Houdini Mansion on Laurel Canyon in Hollywood while PTV was on tour. This fire, which burned down the 18,000 sq foot mansion, left Genesis in the intensive care unit at Cedar Sinai hospital with life-threatening injuries after he (along with members of the band Love and Rockets ) jumped from their bedroom windows to escape the flames. Results of this event sent Genesis on a two-year health sabbatical to recover, during which he was involved in a million dollar lawsuit against Rick Rubin, who owned the Houdini Mansion. Genesis won the case, but was left with a metal plate and eight screws in his permanently disabled and reconstructed arm.
In 1998 Genesis announced that he primarily wanted to move into spoken word and turned to focus on Thee Majesty with musical lineup of Larry Thrasher and Bryin Dall. Thee Majesty continues to perform to large halls and galleries in Europe playing improvised sound sculpture to mostly improvised spoken word and they released a CD called "Time's Up" up 1999.
In 2005, the Voiceprint record label in England re-released several older Psychic TV and Genesis P-Orridge albums under the name Thee Majesty, and also a new album recorded with the band Cotton Ferox. Also, a 2005 release "Mary Never Wanted Jesus" credited to Genesis P-Orridge & Thee Majesty featured archive PTV material alongside new Thee Majesty recordings. PTV, as a rock entity, had a "final show" in 1999 at The Royal Festival Hall in London. This show also marked the end of Genesis' exile from the UK.
2003-Present: PTV3
Psychic TV returned to the stage in 2003, with a concert in New York under the guise of PTV3 and was accompanied by (with the exception of Genesis) an all new line-up. In September 2004, an extensive tour of Europe (covering 16 countries) and North America was launched. 2005 saw the band return to the studio, recording their first album in over 10 years (Genesis also spent 2005 working with Throbbing Gristle on what will be their first album in over 25 years). Additionally, a few more dates were performed in Europe throughout the year. In January 2006, the new PTV album was announced by Genesis on his website. HELL IS INVISIBLE...HEAVEN IS HER/E, the album, was recorded in New York and features Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) guesting on some tracks. Genesis describes it as "Dark Side of the Moon for the 21st century". Release is expected mid-Spring (Northern Hemisphere) 2007 and it will be followed by a tour that may last up to 18 months.
Concerts across the UK have been announced for 2006 (Sheffield, Birmingham and London) as well as Brussels, Amsterdam and Moscow.
The line up is:
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - Vocals / Noise bass Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge - Samples
Morrison Edley (Toilet Boys) - Drums
Alice Genese (Candy Ass / Pretty Boys) - Bass.
David Max (HIT) - Guitars.
Markus Aurelius Cirkus Maximus Dangerous Fabulous Persson - Keyboards.
The 2006 shows included an 'all new video light show' by Sterile Cowboys & Co. (a.k.a. Nicolas Jenkins) -- three screens of heavily overlaid video with the middle screen overlaid by yet another layer of "analog" projections including moiréd overlays and liquid/oil effects. Videos from the upcoming album and DVDs were previewed as works in process. Much of the video work revolves around Breyer P-Orridges exploration of the 'pandrogyne'.
Psychic TV on the radio.....
Genesis and Mo Edley performed a DJ set and were interviewed on New York's station WNYU on Tuesday September 5. PTV3 performed several songs on WFMU in Jersey City on Thursday September 7. The band were interviewed as well. This was the first time ever Psychic TV had played live on air.
To inaugurate the release of HELL IS INVISIBLE...HEAVEN IS HER/E, PTV3 hosted a five night residency in September 2006 at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, USA, followed by the above mentioned tour.

Psychic TV live
Main article: Psychic TV live Psychic TV have performed countless times in their live career with an ever-changing and eclectic selection of musicians. About half of Psychic TV's discography accounts for live releases, and one release span where fourteen of their live albums were released in eighteen months, they earned a record in the Guinness Book of World Records

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) was founded in the early 1980s by members of Psychic TV, Coil, Current 93, and a number of other individuals. The ever-evolving network is a loosely federated group of people operating as a unique blend of artistic collective, and practitioners of magic. TOPY is dedicated to the manifestation of magical concepts lacking mysticism or the worship of gods. The group focuses on the psychic and magical aspects of the human brain linked with "guiltless sexuality".
Throughout its existence, TOPY has been an influential group in the underground Chaos magic scene and in the wider western occult tradition. TOPY's research has covered both Left-hand path and Right-hand path magick, various elements of psychology, art, music, and a variety of other media. Some of the influences on the network have been Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, William Breeze and Brion Gysin.
In the early 1990s a rift occurred within the network when Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV, one of the founding members, and probably the most famous public face of TOPY during the 1980's, claimed that he was shutting down the network. The existing members of the network chose not to go with this and carried on with their activities. So Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth continued to grow and evolve throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century while Genesis P-Orridge moved on to other projects such as The Process, as well as a similar project to TOPY called Topi.
On the 23rd hour (11:00pm) of the 23rd day of each month TOPY members were encouraged to make magical sigils. These sigils were often charged with bodily fluids. If an individual chose to do so, they were invited to mail their sigils to a central location where the magical energy in them could be used to enhance each other. After the first dissolution of TOPY the location of this repository was lost.
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth continues to be an active network of magical practitioners, with a semi-regular journal, Broadcast (which has just seen issue 10 published), and a number of other projects available. It is one of the major influences on a more recent parody religion, Thee Church ov MOO.

Genesis P- Orridge

Born in Manchester, England 1950. Member of Kinetic action group EXPLODING GALAXY/TRANSMEDIA EXPLORATION, 1969-70. Conceived and founded seminal British “performance art” group COUM TRANSMISSIONS, 1969; pioneer co-founder (with Cosey Fanni Tutti,Peter Christopherson, Chris Carter) of THROBBING GRISTLE, 1975; co-founder (with Alex Fergusson) of hyperdelic acid house innovators PSYCHIC TV, 1981; founded spoken word/ambient music performance group THEE MAJESTY 1999. Invented the term/genre INDUSTRIAL MUSIC (with Monte Cazazza) September 3rd 1975, releasing more than 200 CDs of experiments in music to date. Has worked and collaborated with Beatnik writers WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS and BRION GYSIN (champion of “Cut-Ups”); radical queer filmaker DEREK JARMAN; psychedlic guru DR. TIMOTHY LEARY and many other luminaries. Early pioneer/innovator of Acid House/Rave Movement in UK and USA from early 80’s-mid-90’s. Early champion of internet and commentator on it’s media virus cultural implications, often collaborating with DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, RICHARD METZGER (of Disinformation) and other leading figures in CYBERIA. He has published thousands of articles, texts, interviews covering the functional and metaphysical implications and strategies of popular culture. Also explored human behaviour, ritual, and personality modification through splintering of expectation in private magickal situations to create neo-shamanic collaged paintings called “SIGILS”. Currently resides in New York area as an author, cultural engineer/commentator and fine artist. Has performed his improvised "Expanded Poetry" as THEE MAJESTY (with guitarist Bryin Dall, guitarist Lady J. and tabla player Larry Thrasher) at arts festivals and music venues all over the USA and Europe since 1998. Current work includes a monograph on his fine art “PAINFUL BUT FABULOUS” (Soft Skull Press, NYC 2003) and exhibitions, installations and lectures across Europe and the USA.

Allegory And Self is a varied LP that highlights all the strengths of the 1980s version of Psychic TV or Psychick TV. It includes songs of pure pop from Alex Fergusson as well as meditations that sound like ghostly ceremonies. There's also a domestic element, involving the creativity of the singing and playing of Paula and Gen's infant daughter, Caresse.
The ballad "We Kiss", it could be said, channels what is great about the music and delivery of Serge Gainsbourg as well as Syd Barrett.
Several versions have appeared, including the original picture disc (TOPY 035) and black vinyl (TOPY 038) versions in 1988 on Temple Records, Fundamental Records (SPIN 1006) and on pink marbled vinyl (666 copies). It's also appeared in at least two versions on CD -- on Spin and Cleopatra (CLEO94912 - with 3 bonus remixed tracks).
Allegory And Self includes Psychick TV's biggest commercial success with the track Godstar, which charted very well in Britain and, as Gen wrote in the booklet included in the CD God Star: Thee Director's Cut, "even NME approved." Included in the Spin release of Allegory are some reviews of Godstar, including those in NME. Another review and interview shows that Bob Mould and Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü loved the track.
Genesis P-Orridge said in a BBC interview that the goal of PTV was to make songs in the rich 1960s pop tradition as well as film and video. Godstar was to be a featurelength film with the focus being Brian Jones for whom the song is dedicated.
The cover graphics feature Austin Osman Spare's General Allegory and other illustrations from his Automatic Drawings and Book Of Satyrs. In the original release there was included a book of what seems to be P-Orridge's own Book of Satyrs, with very Spare-ish pen-and-ink drawings and illuminations and key lyrics, handwritten.
Note: This Spare/Orridge idea is similar to how Bill Nelson dealt with Jean Cocteau. This isn't the only similarity between Nelson and Genesis P-Orridge. They both share an interest in the occult, in Art, had independent labels, had trouble with CBS, had traumatic divorces, both have two children, both were robbed of money by their managers and are both born around the same period of time in the North of England.
Also included in the line-up is long-time friend and collaborator Monte Cazazza. It's also been reissued in Russia.
Indeed, Just Like Arcadia and the Velvet Underground-ish Baby's Gone Away are classics. The backing vocals and arrangement of Being Lost could have been Brian Wilson's. This recalls the track Weeping, officially a Throbbing Gristle track but really a P-Orridge solo track.

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12 comments:

o- said...

thank you 666 times

karatte said...

Thanx a lot! Good music.

Cartman Clone said...

I was one of the ones there at the beginning of the TOPY movement and still own the Grey Book (TOPY bible).
"Crazy stuff !!!"
Throbbing gristle and Crah Worship are another couple of bands that may be worth checkin' out. Genesis is a "freak" a truely original cat.
Thanks for the post, I've lost much of the music over time. The above comment said, "thanks 666 times." Well really you should be thanked 23 times. Thats the TOPY magic number.

mutantsounds said...

23 thanks 23
i own thee Gray book too...you see i was TOPYist too:)

Anonymous said...

Me poia ennoia to 23 einai o "magikos" arithmos se shesi me psychic tv kai throbbing gristle? To mono pou boro na skefto einai oi 23 skidoo...

Anonymous said...

Another Coyote says thanks!

Will
Love

TSaccenti said...

Thank you for exposing me to all this amazing music.

Anonymous said...

Hello people,
Check out Anti Atlas..Its a very Eno-like classically-influenced ambient music group. I think they just put out their second cd.
This is their myspace pagewww.myspace.com/antiatlas. Sounds cool!!

Fred G. Sanford said...

thanks a bunch.
nice job.

Fred G. Sanford said...

thanks mucho.
nice job.
and the notes were quite illuminating.

catlebrity said...

ooh nice! thanks!

kaplan said...

still a masterpiece after all those years