Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Psychic TV - Those Who Do Not (1985)

This is a rerelease of a live album recoded in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1983. It was originally released in 1985, and then again in 1987 under the title "Live in Reykjavik." The most current CD release has a new cover (pictured) and adds to the original track list some bizarre experts of an Icelandic naming ritual. While the recording quality of these extra tracks is somewhat low-fi, the murky chanting and far away bells provide the perfect atmosphere for a Nordic Pagan ceremony, and they provide a nice break between the more traditional Psychic TV performances.

Since this was 1983, the band had not yet mrophed into the rather dull trance outfit that they would ultimately become, and there is still plenty of Throbbing Gristle style noisemaking present. However, this recording is generally more diverse than your average TG album, probably due to the impressive list of personel present. In addition to the usual suspects, you'll also find David Tibet, Alex Ferguson and John Balance. Practically the whole British industrial scene together on one album!

The music is generally what you would expect from these troublemakers. Genesis P-Orridge wails and drones on with his usual indecipherable ramblings while tape loops and drum machines chug along in the background. What makes this one of the more interesting PTV live releases is the other instruments used in creative ways. The aforementioned bells play a dominant roll, giving the album a rather mystical quality. The track "Burn Against Fears" contains a series of weird synthesizer washes that sound like a cross between Terry Riley and Thighpaulsandra, making for a standout if uncharacteristically subdued track.

It's easy to hear bits and pieces of other bands from the time scattered throughout. Some of the bell playing could have come right off of Coil's first couple of albums, and the tape loops in the title track sound just like the sort of things 23 Skidoo were doing. It's easy to write P-Orridge off as a deranged nut (which he is) but there's no denying how incredibly influential he was on an entire genre of music. Listening to early PTV live albums offers great insight into the development of Industrial as we know it today.

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