Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Psychic TV (sometimes spelt Psychick TV) or PTV, is a largely electronic music group with occasional forays into psychedelic, punk, and experimental music. The band was formed by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge after his earlier industrial band, Throbbing Gristle, broke up in 1981. At one time Psychic TV was intended to be a super group that along with P-Orridge would include Ian Curtis, lead singer of the seminal English group, Joy Division. But unfortunately Curtis committed suicide on May 18, 1980. The band began publishing a series of 23 live albums in 1986 but stopped without explanantion 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 earnt an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records
Contributions to Psychic TV have include artists such as Coil, Current 93, The Hafler Trio , The Cult, White Stains , Soft Cell, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Alex Fergusson, Matthew Best, Daniel Simon Black, Bill Breeze, Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson , Derek Jarman, Fred Gianelli , John "Zoskia" Gosling, Timothy Leary, Rose McDowall, Stephen Kent, Vagina Dentata Organ, Andrew Weatherall, Z'EV , and many others. Originally its cult-like fanclub, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (aka T.O.P.Y.), later turned into a full-fledged religion, long after P-Orridge abandoned it in 1991.
Psychic TV released early albums of acid house music, such as Jack The Tab (1988). After breaking up in 1998, Psychic TV formed into a new band known as PTV3 in 2003. In 2003 Genesis P-Orrdige changed his or her identity to Genesis/Djin Breyer P-Orridge along with life partner and PTV3 member Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge (a.k.a. Mother Jack/Miss Jackie). This change in identity allowed Genesis to become what is known as a real life "Pandrogine". Other projects by P-Orridge include sample project Splinter Test and spoken word, Troubadorian project Thee Majesty with Larry Thrasher (Thrasher Qawwal / Thessolonians)and Bryin Dall (Loretta's Doll).
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 GPO at the time
1981-1988: Alexander Ferguson Period
Psychic TV was formed with the core memebership of GPO, Peter Christopherson, and Alex Ferguson. Alexander Ferguson was a member on punk outfit Alternative TV, which may have been the inspiration for the name Psychic TV. Peter Christopherson (also a music video director) claimed that the 'TV' component of the name was intended to focus on the visual elements of the outfit, with P-Orridge once claiming that "Psychic TV is a video group who does music unlike a music group which makes music videos". Similarities, however, 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 GPO's previous band, Throbbing Gristle, although now with an increased use of exotic acoustic drums and other instruments. Psychic TV were signed to CBS Records based on the infamy of Throbbing Gristle. Their first albums Force thee Hand ov Chance and Dreams Less Sweet featured high production values, catchy pop songs written by Ferguson (with barbershop quartet vocals arranged by Andrew Pearson), and sound experiments primarily created by Peter Christopherson and Geoff Rushton (also known as John Balance). The live shows continued to be improvised noise until Peter Christopherson left the group and Ferguson implemented musicians capable of improvisational pop music. 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 Ferguson and GPO completed their second proper studio album Allegory and Self: Thee Starlit Mire. It was at this point GPO became enraputured with acid house and techno and replaced Ferguson with techno artist Fred Gianelli.
1988-1992: Fred Gianelli period
During this period Fred Gianelli 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 album of this period is Towards the Infinite Beat, as almost all of the live shows in this period were based around the songs on this album.
GPO claimed initially that he was deported, although later admitted that he left England in "self imposed exile" after a video he had created caused the tabloid press to believe he took part in Satanic Ritual Abuse. During this same period GPO underwent a divorce which traumitized him immensely. Most of the output during this period was 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.
1994-1999/2001-: Larry Thrasher period and beyond
GPO began working with Larry Thrasher, and created a few spoken word ambient music albums, (Thee Fractured Garden being a seminal example, as it features some texts from GPO's writing for the Oliver Stone produced television mini-series Wild Palms) before recycling the best material (most of which had been released as open-source material in the Electric Newspaper series) to create the last major studio album of Psychic TV Trip Reset. This period was also highlighted by a large number of rereleases of old material. Towards the end of the nineties GPO announced that he primarily wanted to move into spoken word and created the offshoot group Thee Majesty with Larry Thrasher. PTV had a "final show" in 1999, but as recently as November-December of 2004 GPO toured with "Thee 3rd Couming of Psychic TV: PTV3." It is uncertain if any new studio albums will come out of this incarnation, although GPO has announced he is looking for a record deal.
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