Psychic TV

Force the Hand of Chance

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The first Psychic TV album in many ways remains its best, a double album worthy of the space needed that's readily comparable to the best efforts of the World Serpent circle of acts like Current 93 and Coil in its variety, dark power and very English take on things. Admittedly the Coil (and therefore Throbbing Gristle) connection is further heightened by the participation of Peter Christopherson throughout, while Alex Fergusson's re-emergence after time spent with Alternative TV further heightens the overall musical excellence of the album. Add in some fine guest performers -- most notably Marc Almond, who appears on the winsome pop of "Stolen Kisses" and the slow burning, threatening mood piece "Guiltless" -- and Genesis P-Orridge would have had to work damn hard to screw everything up, which he certainly didn't. The opening track alone must have confounded more than a few Throbbing Gristle fanatics -- "Just Drifting (For Caresse)" is a slow folk song with gentle string backing written for and about P-Orridge's newborn daughter. The musical references throughout the album refer to everything from Ennio Morricone-styled spaghetti western twang and doom ("Terminus-Xtul," which eventually transforms into a grinding howl of feedback and a calm acoustic coda) to post-punk dance grooves ("Ov Power," in a "radio promo mix" that's still not entirely American Bandstand material). Bachir Attar and the Master Musicians of Joujouka get a direct salute with "Thee Full Pack" which, while not representative of that collective's music, still sets a haunting, mysterious mood. The Temple ov Psychick Youth coterie doubtless still gets a kick out of "Message from Thee Temple," in which an authoritative but warm voice quietly delivers some philosophical strictures against a rich, sorrowful combination of strings and low key beats.

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