Categories
Print Reviews

Thee Psychick Bible

Thee Psychick Bible

by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

Feral House

As Philip Larkin once said, “This be the verse.” Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has been many things in his/her life. Performance artist/provocateur with the COUM Transmissions group. Inventor of industrial and noise music with Throbbing Gristle. Unofficial head of the (non) cult Temple ov Psychick Youth and its pop music public face, Psychic TV. Add to that pioneering exploration in tattooing, body piercing, rave music, and, most recently, pandrogeny in his twinning experiments with Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge — a combination of surgery, fashion, and philosophy. This would be the makings of a full life by anyone’s measurement, but P-Orridge’s most abiding obsession is magick. Indeed, it is the one thread that links all of his seemingly disparate pursuits together. When I say magick (his spelling, not mine), I’m not talking about pull-a-rabbit-out-of-my-hat-oh-god-I’m-on-America’s-Got-Talent magick. Nor am I talking abut Gob and his Alliance of Magicians on Arrested Development. I’m talking about a more insurrectionary application of magick as a means to circumvent societal control and live out all of your desires.

Thee Psychick Bible is a collection of all of the writings that P-Orridge did on behalf of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth — a communal magickal order that he developed after TG splintered — defining goals, aims, and various magic rites (or sigils). And P-Orridge did a whole helluva lot of writing for TTOPY, including the now mythical Grey and Black Books, as well as a constant stream of manifestos and guides to ritual practice and circumventing control. Thee Psychick Bible, in compiling these tracts as well as various other essays, interviews, and visual ephemera comes out to a whopping 500+ pages, which puts P-Orridge on a par with his idol Aleister Crowley in terms of sheer volume of written work on magick use.

And despite all the hype and hoopla of P-Orridge’s colorful life — including basically being kicked out of England in 1992 on trumped-up charges of ritual abuse and moral decay — the reality is that P-Orridge’s writing stands on its own. His philosophies are heavily influenced by the aforementioned Crowley and Burroughs (indeed, P-Orridge and Burroughs exchanged mail art in the 1970s, and P-Orridge includes a fulsome essay on the impact Burroughs and Brion Gysin had on his work and life herein), so expect plenty about the virus properties of the word and the proper way to invoke sexual magick. However, and this is key, P-Orridge has an innate humanness/humanity to his outlook that both the patrician Crowley and Burroughs lack. Many of the tenets of TTOPY, like visualization and self-determination, have been appropriated ad nauseam by self-help gurus for decades now. P-Orridge repeatedly emphasizes that TTOPY is only for individual betterment, not groupthink, and it’s of no small irony that when Scotland Yard was smashing their way into his house and the media was trumpeting him as history’s worst monster, P-Orridge was emptying his savings by feeding beggars and lepers in Tibet.

Feral House: feralhouse.com

Categories
Event Reviews

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

Club Downunder Tallahassee, FL • October 16, 2009

Okay, I didn’t expect this. After countless listens to Psychic Chasms in the summer, I expected the turnout tonight, the third night of Neon Indian’s FIRST ever tour to be modest at best, a few wigged-out freaks, nothing more. Instead, the place was teeming with gawky college indie kids and an even greater number of jocks and the girls who love them. Not a problem, just a slight readjustment necessary. I retreat to the upper level, far away from the teeming crowd of hormones and bad sandals, where my only company is a bartender and a buncha empty chairs, and I still get a great view of Indian main man Alan Palomo making last minute adjustments to his synth and mixer — Result!

There are a couple more surprises here. Neon Indian live is not just front man Palomo hunched in front of a Macbook, pointing and clicking, face two inches from the screen. Nope, clad in white pants and shirt, suspenders, and with an improbable mop of Robert Smith-meets-Marc Bolan hair, he has in short order assembled a cracked band that kinda makes the low-fi boombox symphonies of Psychic Chasms sound even better. Here’s how it breaks down: Palomo parks himself behind a mic, a mixer/sampler, and a synth or two, to his left is a goth playing guitar, there’s a drummer behind him, and there’s a well-dressed young woman on another synth. After teasing us over and over with snippets of the intros of several songs on the album, Neon Indian mk.2 begin their headlong charge into every song off of Psychic Chasms.

Goddamn, but Neon Indian’s songs are good. I waited with bated breath for “Should Have Taken Acid With You” and was rewarded by a twenty-foot tall motorik mantra with that earworm synth echo and a whispered lament for third-eye-washing opportunities lost. The mystery of the crowd size was solved when the audience just fucking erupted at the first notes of “Terminally Chill” — aha, a blog sensation, I’m betting. Either that or maybe a song was on Gossip Girl. “Ephemeral Artery” rides a liquid-gold guitar riff to greater and greater heights of unholy Kraftwerk-glam ecstasy.

There are growing pains, unfortunately. Neon Indian slammed headlong into the maxim (also known as the Nirvana Dilemma) that the bigger your audience gets, the more boneheaded fans you get. This really creepy dickhead kept yelling at the keyboard player until he got escorted out, and two completely trashed-out girls went all lastnightsparty and keep jumping up on stage and grind dancing (and the audience… yawned in contempt) and slamming into equipment, until they too had to be physically removed. Sometimes the piper has to be paid for television commercials, gang. That said, the whole band was clearly surprised, overjoyed and even a lil’ choked up by the rapturous reaction to their songs, thanking us over and over again. No, listen man, the pleasure is all ours.

Neon Indian: www.myspace.com/neonindian

Categories
Outsight

Dialing in frequencies sublime and rhymed

Dialing in frequencies sublime and rhymed

Outsight brings to light non-mainstream music, film, books, art, ideas and opinions.

Published, somewhere, monthly since July 1991. Feel free to re-print this article.

Please, keep Outsight informed: Email Outsight at outsight@usa.net.

Ratings are (1) = :(, (5) = 🙂

Outsight Radio Hours Internet radio Webcasts with live interviews:

Sundays 6pm-8pm EST www.new-sounds.com

News And Views

Sublime Travelogues

Sublime Frequencies continues to be a source of ear-opening sounds collected from the Orient by experimental folklorist Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls). Continuing to mine a rich vein of forgotten music on Sumatra, Alan compiled and edited Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra, Vol. 2. This compilation brings together folk and pop from the ’60s through to the ’80s. The music is vibrant and bright. It is an exciting blend that applied musicologist Bishop places into a taxonomy of styles such as Minang traditional and orkes gambus (oud orchestra)… Beside collecting performed and recorded music, Bishop puts together audio collages of radio programming, as with the Cambodian material presented on Radio Phnom Penh. What Bishop found is that most of radio in that capital city is programmed with remixes of material from Cambodia’s pop golden age in the late ’60s and early ’70s. In exploring the radio side of Indonesia on Radio Sumatra: Indonesian FM Experience, Bishop finds that this peculiarly FM-only radio collage mix approach called dangdut is that radio staple there, too. This rich collection of dangdut field recordings is presented without sound processing or overdubs… From the remote ceiling of the world, Robert Millis collected for our wonder Chinese-sounding pop radio and novice Buddhist monks at work for Harmika Yab-Yum: Folk Sounds From Nepal. Another remote area is Laos and the Isan region of Thailand. From here is collected the material for Molam: Thai Country Groove From Isan. The molam vocal music here comes from the ’70s and ’80s when electrification and Western instrumentation first crept into the arrangements. It is a unique time capsule from the region… From the stolen land of Tibet, Zhang Jian collected recordings of street musicians and environmental sounds for Streets of Lhasa. The album has a restrained exuberance, and at other times a gentle mystery (“Prayer”).

ZZZZZ…

Each month I try to find a CD or two sent to me that is perfect, soporific audio to drift off to sleep to. Mind, you this is not a slam against the CDs. Indeed, I am recommending them for relaxation. This month Clair Ritter Greener than Blue does the trick. Ah, what better a palette from which to paint the image of perfect slumber than forest green and midnight blue? These are the exact shades that come to mind slumbering to the impressionistic piano pieces on this instrumental jazz album.

Book Reviews

Krist Novoselic

Of Grunge and Government

RDV Books/Akashic Books

In the last paragraph of Section IV of the classic Civil Disobedience, Thoreau asserts the supremacy of the individual in relation to the State, and further insists that democracy is not the last step in the evolution of government, as there is still greater room for the State to recognize the freedom and rights of the individual. Thoreau concludes saying such a State is one he has imagined “but not yet anywhere seen.” This work became a bible for the future international non-violence movement and other progressive movements. Krist Novoselic’s Of Grunge and Government taps the same vein and conjures the same ideas of the hope for and promise of a more enlightened democracy. The down-to-earth language can reach any of those that know him from Nirvana while the closer look at instant-runoff voting (IRV) and full representation offer real grist for the political junkie to chew on. (3.5)

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DVD Reviews

The EforFilms Jazz Memories DVD series is exclusively distributed by Music Video Distributors . Three new titles in the series are biopics on prominent black pioneers in popular music. Each trailblazer ran into the same racist obstacles, but handled them differently. Nat “King” Cole sought to rise above the fray by always being a gentleman and, while this made him a star on the charts, it failed to win commercial endorsement of his TV variety show, the first hosted by an African-American. Lena Horne sought to avoid the issue, but as she was forced to show her hand by McCarthyist blacklisting and more she became more focused and successful in attacking racism in America. Billie Holiday put “Strange Fruit” out there and remains a testament against the most brutal forms of prejudice. Of course, there is also much music and other career highlights on these three enlightening DVDs: Lena Horne: The Incomparable Lena Horne, Billie Holiday: Genius of Lady Day, and Nat “King” Cole: The Legendary Nat “King” Cole.

More on the Horne DVD from Amazon.com

More on the Cole DVD from Amazon.com

Dead Boys

Live at CBGB’s 1977

Music Video Distributors

Video producer Rod Swenson (Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith) used three cameras to capture (contain?) the explosive, crass and wild energy of Stiv Bators leading his band through an important incarnation of the rebellious punk spirit at the legendary CBGB’s. The dangerous nine-song set includes “Sonic Reducer”, “All This and More”, and “Search & Destroy”. Special features include an interview with the band from that year as well as present-day reflections by guitarist Cheetah Chrome and manager Hilly Kristal. Also not to be missed is a bonus video clip of Steel Tips tucked in here. This group was a bizarre no wave circus fronted by a dancing schoolgirl and a beefy biker type. (4)

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Jet

Family Style

Atlantic

All rock that is worthwhile stands on the shoulders of such ’60s and ’70s giants as Rolling Stones, The Who and AC/DC. Occasionally, since then, we have heard glimpses of the same undeniable spirit. Such an example was The Cult Electric, and now Jet Family Style. This excellent concert DVD is the type of thing that makes you glad to have a huge plasma TV hooked up to a killer sound system … or it may make you rush out to buy one. However, there is one aspect that is keeping this band from having that final push off the cliff. That is, the singer needs to shave, liven up and make a second, more serious pass at the second-hand clothing store. The DVD includes a tour documentary and several videos. (4.5)

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Jazz Legends

The Golden Age of Jazz, Part 1

Quantum Leap/Music Video Distributors

This lively overview of big bands and swinging ensembles includes Cab Calloway (“Smokey Joe”), Buddy Rich & Artie Shaw (“Take Your Pick”), Louis Prima (“China Town”) and more. Standout selections of these short jazz films include Ian Rae Hutton’s all-female big band (“Truckin'”), Sammy Davis Jr. pre-glass eye doing ocular gymnastics (“Boogie Woogie Piggie”), a cappella trio The Mills Brothers in a follow-the-bouncing-ball sing-along (“I Ain’t Got Nobody”) and Duke Ellington with dancers Florence Hill and Bessie Dudley (“Stormy Weather”). (The Duke Ellington sequence is from Bundle of Blues, produced at The Cotton Club in 1933. There are three Fred Waller featurettes here.) All told, there are 22 tracks from different artists on this classic collection. Extras include artist biographies and discographies. (3.5)

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Psychic TV

Black Joy

Jettisoundz/Music Video Distributors

This DVD unites two Psychic TV shows previously available only as separate VHS titles. The first concert on the DVD, Joy, includes lysergic renditions of Hendrix (“RU Xperienced”) and Velvet Underground (“Candy Says”). This 1989 Manchester show finds the band ramping up on its acid rock phases. The rich inclusion of imagery makes the extended crowd-swept stage a backdrop for an acid mosaic of druggy visions and flesh. After a video for “IC Water” is the 1992 concert known as Black. This finds the group at the frenzied height of its acid rock style again immersed in such weird and flashing video editing of included images that it is not unlike a Subgenius video. All that dizzying video editing adds to the concerts and makes both better than I remember Genesis P-Orridge when he brought his band through Detroit during this time period. (3.5)

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CD Reviews

Bob Marley And The Wailers

Fy-Ah, Fy-Ah

Hip-O

This deep history of Bob Marley’s roots of reggae work explores through the Jamaican interpretation of R&B, the roots of reggae soul (“Bend Down Low”) and ska (“Dem a Fi Get a Beatin'”, sung by Peter Tosh). This is all on Disc 1, which like the other two discs in this set, includes “version”, or instrumental takes on some songs of that disc. Disc 2 focuses on 1969 and 1970 (the Leslie Kong era) and leads off with a smiling, shuffling, arms waving take on “Sugar, Sugar”. Going to the other end of the spectrum of human inclinations is the spiritual “Selassie is the Chapel”, a highly sought and compelling early Wailers single. Disc 3 gathers together material recorded by the label with ace American session people during the JAD years, including Hugh Masekela (horns). This was all part of the Marley movement to an international presence through a springboard in the important U.S. market. While it hints less of the rebellious Marley that evolved, the quality 1968 recordings on this disc complete the mosaic picture of early Marley captured here. (4)

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Sixteens

Fendi

Hungry Eye

This Bay Area band uses its Casio keyboards to produce an art-damaged, gothic feel to its Suicide-like sounds. Spare and sinister like much of the Virgin Prunes, the primitive sounds here are a welcome time capsule for the black-on-black crowd. RIYL: Christian Death, Siouxsie and the Banshees. (3)

Charlie Tweddle

Fantastic Greatest Hits

Companion

This album was originally recorded in 1971 and self-released in 1974. This Companion Records reissue includes a half-dozen bonus tracks recorded between 1971 and 1973. This is Appalachian acoustic folk psychedelia from an obscure and eccentric multi-talented wandered with a Dylan-like voice. In short, this is a clear-cut cult classic that you do not want to miss. The primitively recorded songs include 25 minutes of chirping crickets and sound fragments, which was side two of the obscure classic. RIYL: Michael Strange, The Holy Modal Rounders, Hasil Adkins (all at the same time). (4)

Shukar

Bear Tamers Music

Sub Rosa

This is the music — at times spastic and at other times transcendent — of a trio of gypsy nomads from Romania. The enthusiasm of the roaming musicians is infectious and mostly vocal. The instrumentation is wooden barrel, spoons and other primitive percussion. The percussive backing the primitive music and the natural vocal harmonies makes this a street musician classic of the real roots folk scene. (3.5)

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Bill Cosby

Fat Albert

Geffen

This is the first CD edition of the classic 1973 comedy album from Bill Cosby. The kids-oriented carton show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was in full swing on CBS and this is a more adult set of hilarious routines that include an older Fat Albert in misadventures. The laughs you will have from “Fat Albert’s Car” from this master storyteller producing his own sound effects are well worth the price of admission. (4.5)

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Elton John

Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy

Island

When I was a child, I marveled at the cover art of this album for its fantastic imagery and its scatological and sexual elements. Shrunk down to about 20% of its original area, the cover art suffers somewhat, but the digital remastered album is bigger for the ears. The album includes three bonus tracks: “Philadelphia Freedom”, “One Day at a Time”, and the standout and somewhat reggae cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Like Tumbleweed Connection, this is an Elton John and Bernie Taupin concept album. The album reviews the pair’s rise to success and offers the hit “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”. This is a pinnacle in the partnership and succeeding albums pale in comparison. (4.5)

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None More Black

Loud About Loathing

Sabot

This EP will tide over None More Black fans until the Fat Wreck Chords full-length release later this year. The raspy-voiced vocalist fits well with the tight and punchy hard rock music that covers the spectrum from Dischord-like progressive hardcore to Southern boogie hard rock. This post-punk indie rock band benefits from effectual use of such rock ‘n’ roll tricks as cool breaks and catchy choruses on such standout tracks as “iScrapbook” (video in production as I write) and “I’ll buy you the Fucking Single”. (3)

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The Shitgiveits

Freedom from Reality

In Your Face

Crude recording quality emphasizes a gloomy doom-punk element to such tracks as “I Don’t Care” but the overwhelming feel is snotty old-school punk. While the album is evenly good, it is so even no particular tracks standout. Despite the use of choruses and catchy repeated lines full of rebellion and angst, nothing here rises to the level of a punk anthem. (2)

The Sound of Animals Fighting

Tiger & the Duke

Stars And Satellites

This Drive-Thru records supergroup has members of Finch, Saosin, and Rx Bandits. The screamo vocals of Anthony Green and the Rx Bandits guitars with the progressive rock knob up to eleven will give you an idea of how this punk rock opera sounds. The four acts of post-emo sophisticates noise rock opera are connected by electronic interludes. The exciting, energetic, ambitious release succeeds well and harbingers well as the debut release on TSOAF member Rich Balling’s (Rx Bandits) label. (3.5)

Parchman Farm

Parchman Farm

Jackpine Social Club

The Mose Allison song “Parchman Farm” was recorded by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers under that name but as “Parchment Farm” by Blue Cheer. Cross the two varieties of power blues and you have an idea what this neo-stoner rock band sounds like. The primitive rock ‘n’ soul band has an exciting album here that will go over big with fans of Queens of the Stone Age. (4)

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Friendly Rich

Parade of Noises 2004

Music Roots Seminars, Inc.

Friendly Rich is an experimental musician whose weird, scatological and often engrossing music has drawn my favorable attention in the past. In a more academic and educational, but no less experimental direction, Rich travels into Canadian public schools helping students design, build and play their own music instruments as Music Roots Seminars, Inc. This CD is a live recording of over 700 Grade 4 students playing in a park in Brampton, Ontario. Ranging from a funeral procession-like dirge (“Parade Ostinato”) to a childhood improvisation ensemble fantasy (“Humpty Dumpty Variations”), this is a weird and wonderful example of outsider music writ large. (4)

Rob Levit Trio

Singularity

Symbol System

Rob Levit Trio has the ability to sound hip and slick (“Singularity”) as well as polished and contemporary without being smooth jazz (Sting’s “Fields of Gold”). Indeed, this guitar-led trio offers an earful of pleasure on this album of instrumental jazz. Along with ten tracks of quality original compositions, this CD of modern jazz has two other covers, tastefully done: “Waiting in Vain” (Marley) and “Footprints” (Wayne Shorter). RIYL: John McLaughlin, Brand X, Steve Hancoff. (4)

Sun City Girls

Carnival Folklore Resurrection

Abduction

These collages of found sounds, radio broadcasts and more present a headspace world of surreal beauty where headphones may be the best ticket in. Experimental noise, vintage music and exotic sounds drift in and out as the ear’s journey start with “Chameleon Street Hit Parade” and ends 36 tracks later with Ennio Morricone’s “Man Without a Harmonica”. (4)

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Master Musicians of Bukkake

The Visible Sign of the Invisible Order

Abduction

This is an eerie album of graveyard soundscapes and ceremonial nights in the spirit houses. Founded after recording John Schuller’s Lesser Angel of Failure Master Musicians of Bukkake is a loose-knit Seattle collective performing ceremonial music. Beside Schuller and core members Randall Dunn, Brad Mowen, Don McGreevy and James Davis, this debut features violinist Eyvind Kang. Also performing are Alan Bishop and Charlie Gocher of Sun City Girls. (4)

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Parker & Lily

The Low Lows

The Warm Super Computer

Grown from the deep and abiding melancholy of the breakup of their 10-year affair, this is a moving and compelling album of sad beauty. This album contains the apt elements of crying-moist reverb and harmony vocals by Lily far and away from Parker’s breaking voice. Perhaps it was therapeutic for the pair to put their pain so poignantly and purposefully on this public platform. Perhaps they are merely professional and “the show must go on.” Either way, you should enjoy being drawn into the mesmerizing sparse minimalism of these odes to love lost. (4)

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Michael Perlowin

West Side Story

This is Michael Perlowin’s pedal steel guitar incarnation of Leonard Bernstein’s music for “West Side Story”. The arrangement is pedal steel and drums (Dave Beyer) in the main. Perlowin was inspired by the Falla Guitar Trio recording of this music and enlisted FGT arranger Kenton Youngstrom to provide guidance on this treatment of the music. The tasteful, background drums make this largely a pedal steel pieces and is thus a light, airy, floating version of the music that gently rises above its own imagined cityscapes. One song, “I Feel Pretty”, was done with Hawaiian steel guitars as opposed to any pedal steel on this instrumental album. (3.5)

William Shatner

Transformed Man

Geffen

This is not the first CD edition of the ultimate golden throat classic. The 1968 album, which will always have a following, is here remastered from the original tapes (the sound is excellent) with a booklet of many Star Trek-era photos. For those that unfortunately have not yet experienced this unique opus, it is basically a series of pair dramatic readings and songs. The first four tracks are Shakespeare with popular music. Alone worth the price of admission is the contrast of the arrogantly cocksure “Theme from Cyrano” with the admitted “total psychopathic subservience” approach to “Mr. Tambourine Man”. Surely Mr. Tambourine Man would have gotten a restraining order against Shatner for the way Shatner chases Mr. Tambourine Man around the studio while the chorus soldiers on as if nothing unusual were happening. (4.5)

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Satoko Fujii Orchestra

Blueprint

NatSat

This is the fifth album pianist/composer Satoko Fujii has produced with her 16-piece all-star New York City ensemble. Besides husband/trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, this ensemble includes Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby, Briggan Krauss and more. This is an incredible, unpredictable album that takes the listened on a wild ride of ensemble warmth bright with horns to the controlled chaos of an intense episode of fiery free jazz. Listening to the music strikes one as both a natural and serious progression of the traditional big band idea. The tight but limber arrangements and challenging material shows the amazing potential of jazz when you have not only quality, but quantity too. (5)

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Ginger Leigh

If I Should Die Tomorrow

Ginger Leigh

This is electronic music with cinematic depth from an experimental palette. With one foot in Middle Eastern music and one foot in industrial music, Ginger Leigh presents an exotic and substantial blend. This instrumental music is not unlike Throbbing Gristle, Muslimgauze and Steve Roach in a blender with Pigface pushing the buttons. Overall, the work is an evocative and mysterious travelogue over an antique and foreign land where the lone and level sands stretch far away. (3.5)

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Far Corner

Far Corner

Cuneiform Records

Bass, piano, cello and percussion gives this agile ensemble rock quartet a full bottom end. However, this group is more King Crimson than it is Morphine. This basic instrumentation (it is varied and added to) grafts a mystery and depth to the progressive rock band’s music. This is a particularly strong debut that bridges the post-classical and the prog worlds. In the jazz-like tradition of shared roles, each member and thus instrument leads some pieces. This adds variety and texture to the album’s instrumental tracks. RIYL: King Crimson, Univers Zero, Mick Karn. (5)

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Ani DiFranco

Knuckle Down

Righteous Babe Records

In DiFranco’s long discography of albums, now comes the first co-production. Co-producing the album is Joe Henry. This album is diametrically opposed to, yet uniquely balanced with Ani’s previous Educated Guess. There she played everything and even recorded all the material herself. Now she is back in a rich ensemble setting that includes Andrew Bird, Tony Scherr and more. The varied collaborative work is still uniquely Ani marked by her voice and her personal DiFranco cadence that comes across on such songs as “Studying Stones”. This is also a mature and personal album from Ani. “Studying Stones” finds Ani reviewing her own family and songs like “Manhole” maps the rugged topography of love. (4.5)

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Terry Bozzio

Prime Cuts

Magna Carta

Magna Carta culled through its many sessions with drummer extraordinaire Terry Bozzio for the exciting selections on this instrumental rock album. The album begins with “Sick Jazz Surgery”, a percussion tour de force recorded especially for this album. Another previously unreleased track is “Walking Dream” from the Bozzio Levin Stevens sessions that resulted in Black Light Syndrome. Filling out the album is tracks recoded by Bozzio with James LaBrie, Jordan Rudess, Billy Sheehan and more. These tracks come from other Magna Carta releases. This is an enhanced CD with a candid and personal video interview with Bozzio as well as an Explorers Club MP3. (4.5)

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Corky Siegel

Corky Siegel’s Traveling Chamber Blues Show

Alligator Records

This album is a live document of Corky Siegel’s lively and spirited chamber approach to blues. “Chamber” because Corky marries rich percussion and a string section to his fiery harmonica jams. The combination as Siegel (Siegel-Schwall Blues Band; Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and his ensemble delivers it is irresistible. This is intelligent blues that is still very hip, progressive blues that still swings. (5)

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Brian Bennett

Aim High

RPM

This is music Brian Bennett of The Shadows recorded for music library KPM. Bennett contributed to 35 KPM albums and although the “Aim High” television series was never produced, the instrumental mood and action music sites square with the best of the genre. The fictional television series stands in as an umbrella under which to gather the cream of Bennett’s output for KPM from 1973 to 1976. The mood here is generally that of the “cop funk” variety, which is the perfect mood for an exhilarating car chase sequence with the good guys after the bad. Sprinkled in are more subdued pieces, such as “Reflections On A Misty Morning”. The liner notes include Bennett’s own remarks on each track, which are engaging and revealing about the methods of a veteran soundtrack musician. (4)

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L’Altra

Different Days

Hefty

The music of L’Altra is easy, mellow and uninterrupted, like a Sunday when the phone never rings and there is a marathon of Mike Leigh films on, commercial-free. There is also an alluring, natural sexual charm to the vocal tradeoff between keyboardist Lindsay Anderson and Joseph Costa. The duo fleshes out its gentle pop with rich instrumentation from a bevy of guests, including Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and additional programming from Marc Heller (pulseprogramming). The song-oriented electronic of L’Altra (“the feminine other”) is a sad and sweet masterpiece. (3.5)

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Maxïmo Park

Apply Some Pressure

Warp

Maxïmo Park is punkish power pop with a hard edge. There is a frantic, desperate energy to the group’s rushing songs. However, this strikes one as more stimulated than stimulating. There is a nice blend of the melody and the manic to this accelerated indie pop from Britain. For those on the lookout for songs that reflect basic properties of physics, the title track instructs us “When you apply some pressure/You lose pressure”. This elucidates plainly why one can never accurately assess tire pressure on a car. Slower pieces on this four-song EP, like “The Coast is Always Changing”, have a bouncy feel reminiscent of The Pogues. (3)

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Luna

Rendezvous

Jetset

Luna provides a beautiful, shimmering example of hip, easy rock that recalls early Lou Reed solo material. The opening track (“Malibu Love Nest”) jives nicely with the cover artwork of a lovers’ tryst in the banal surroundings of a hotel room’s outdated interior decorating. Another standout track is the oddly charming update on the nursery rhyme (“The Owl & the Pussycat”). This and other tracks reinforce the theme of a rendezvous for two, and this is an ideal soundtrack for just such an intimate gathering. (4)

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Jet By Day

The Vulture

Future Farmer

Lack of variety in this indie pop album makes it tiresome after a few songs. The wallowing in self-pity and exploration of excessive drinking does nothing to lift the album up. Jet By Day needs to step away from the rotting carcass of tired ideas and drop the vulture idea. Interestingly, the scientific family name for these birds is “Cathartidae” which is etymologically tied to “catharsis”. Maybe this is a hint Jet By Day is purging and we can expect new ideas next time. (2)

Mosquitos

Sunshine Barato

Bar/None

The English- Portuguese title (“cheap sunshine”) echoes this easybeat pop album on two levels. First, it reflects the international makeup of the trio Brazilian singer Juju Stulbach and two Americans (singer-guitarist Chris Root and keyboardist whiz Jon Marshall Smith). The title also reflects the content, which is a celebration of such easy pleasures as lying on an empty beach, dancing in the rain, or falling asleep next to someone you love. Every time bossa nova makes a visitation into the American consciousness, it wins hearts. This Brazilian-sounding pop album has just that style of tropical, relaxed and smoothly hip charm. (4)

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Fold B-Low

Low Tuned Output

Locomotive

This album offers vertigo, or whiplash, inducing abrupt shifts from Cookie Monster death metal to lighters-held high-emotional, melody-metal segments. The quintet is from Germany and the promotional B&W 8×10 is, of course, of them looking hard and mean in front of a brick wall. (2)

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From Satellite

When All is Said and Done

Pat’s Record Company

This is a well-produced album obviously from an adequately appointed studio from whence came artful knob twiddling. However, the music is largely without soul. Even an eager promising opening to a song, like “Mouth”, turns into another all-out, everyone-plays-at-once sense of arrangement. What these songs need is more of the less-is-more approach. What When All is Said and Done requires is the soul of Miles Davis and a “When Less is Said and Done” feel. This band would benefit from knowing what not to play. (2.5)

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Music Reviews

Psychic TV

Psychic TV

Origin of the Species — Volume Too!: A Second Supply of Two Tablets of Acid

Invisible

Does anyone else notice how mid-eighties Genesis P-Orridge looks a whole hell of a lot like Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen in raver garb? I thought not. For budding mystics, never-say-die ravers, Psychic TV enthusiasts, and Genesis obsessives, this is a must-have release. For everyone else, this is a gorgeously packaged curiosity that would probably serve as great prop to an otherwise lacking record collection. Either way, you win!

Respect due to Invisible Records for giving the checkered and nefarious career of Genesis P-Orridge the microscopic reissue and reevaluation treatment that it deserves. And in style, no less! Origin of the Species — Volume Too is an incredible two-CD set covered in lysergic collage art, with a deluxe photo booklet that describes the Psychic TV acid house/exile phase in the appropriate psychobabble tone. All this, and loads of photos of Mr. P-Orridge decked out in his raving best, looking unsettling as hell. If Charles Manson ruined the Beach Boys summer of love scene, then I’m pretty fucking sure that Genesis injected the proper measure of menace into the happy-handbag-house scene.

On to the music. To his credit, Psychic TV did their very best to fuck with the formula that is house music. Better samples, basslines to die for, and sampled rants that would have the FBI knocking on your door within minutes. Unfortunately, the largely one-trick pony of acid house has not aged very well. It was a limited genre to begin with. Whatever, some people say the same thing about Kraftwerk. This is one valuable historical document.

Invisible Records, P.O. Box 16008, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.invisiblerecords.com

Categories
Music Reviews

Psychic TV

Psychic TV

Best Ov: Time’s Up

Cleopatra

Yep, it’s a greatest hits package. But for the first time ever, I will defend the validity of this compilation disk. With Best Ov , Cleopatra has catalogued Psychic TV’s finest moments all on one record, along with hard to find remixes and rarities. The timing couldn’t be better, it’s 1999, we are poised on the brink of apocalypse and Genesis P-Orridge is entering a new artistic renaissance. I assume the title of the album is a riff off the recent “Time’s Up” event homecoming Genesis held in London, which featured performances by Quentin Crisp, ? and the Mysterians, and a Psychic TV regrouping. This album comes on the heels of Genesis’ brilliant collaboration with Merzbow and the promise of more aural disorder.

Best Ov serves as one last long look back to an era of fantastic pop perversion. There’s two different versions of the crucial Brian Jones homage, “Godstar,” and its twisted B-side “Roman P.” Breakthrough hit (I swear) single and Beach Boys cover “Good Vibrations” still shines through with its sugary sickness. Therein lies the key to the beauty of Psychic TV — Genesis and Peter Christopherson turned their back on the extreme noise of Throbbing Gristle and instead composed magickal pop hits that oozed palpable menace. There were even a couple of surprises for me: “Guiltless,” which placed a fresh-from-Soft-Cell Marc Almond against a woozy orchestral backing, and “Suspicous,” as close to Motown/Stax as Psychic TV would ever get. The remainder of the record is taken up by quirky remixes and rare b-sides, none of which tarnish the Psychic TV quality-control reputation.

Though for me, Best Ov was a case of preaching to the converted, it can be an excellent introduction to or a fond reunion with a man who is hitting his creative prime. Again.

Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella #251, Marina Del Rey , CA 90292

Categories
Music Reviews

Psychic TV

Psychic TV

Origin of the Species

Invisible

Genesis P-Orridge, for his eclectic and strange lifestyle, is one of people in the music industry that you can’t ignore no matter how hard you try. His various bands over the course of time have influenced more musicians than he will ever be given credit for. It’s best to take this approach when dealing with anything he is doing: mind-altering beauty. Origin of the Species is no exception. Two CDs (billed as “a supply of two tablets of acid”) and a 32 page booklet containing explanations of the various tracks. Twenty-one tracks in all, and ten of them have never been released before. Any and all Psychic TV fans must pick this one up. It’s beautiful, crazy, insane, and awe-inspiring by its offerings into the life and times of Genesis. For those of you who are still scratching your head thinking, “Psychic what?,” well, just step out and pick this up. When you’re done, you’ll be in a frenzy to buy anything and everything Genesis has touched. And hey, if you are walking close to the line of “obsessive” with Genesis already, well, there is information inside on how to get a limited-edition print signed and numbered by Genesis inside. Money for E… Invisible Records, P.O. Box 16008, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.invisiblerecords.com