Psychic TV

Hell Is Invisible...Heaven Is Her/e

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Psychic TV -- once renowned as one of the most prolific recording acts in history -- had gone a dozen years without releasing a new studio album prior to the appearance of Hell Is Invisible...Heaven Is Her/e (billed to Psychic TV/PTV3) in 2007. Despite the long (especially by their standards) gap, the sound of the record is not especially unsurprising, though it's perhaps more accessible to conventional rock listeners than much of the Psychic TV catalog. Psychic TV at this point was pretty much a front for the ideas of mainstay Genesis P-Orridge, and the lyrics reflective of his/her philosophy of "Pandrogeny," which aims to celebrate similarities among humans. Toward that end, P-Orridge had become, in the years prior to this album, more noted in the press for altering his body to a hermaphroditic state than for Psychic TV's past or present music. As outside of the mainstream as this philosophy is, this particular album really isn't that weird, at least by the standards of the underground/alternative rock community -- one to which P-Orridge/Psychic TV has always belonged, albeit usually on the fringes. Parts of the ten lengthy songs -- all of them falling in the five-to-ten-minute range -- are knotty, dense, almost punkish screeds of rather inscrutable rage, with some (but not an overwhelming amount) of the textured industrial soundscapes of the sort Psychic TV helped pioneer. At other points, however, there's an eccentric, almost lilting folk-psychedelic vibe, which in "I Don't Think So" in particular is a little like the solo output of one of P-Orridge's probable heroes, Syd Barrett. There are also more ambient, instrumental passages in which the mood is both placid and disturbing, "Milk Baba" fading with mad laughs and an excerpt from David Frost's introduction of the Beatles' 1968 TV performance of "Hey Jude." The vocals are usually in a croaking, wizened tone, and often mixed as if P-Orridge is trying to make Psychic TV's lyrics as indistinct as his gender. It's a varied record in all senses, with all sorts of combinations of instruments and electronically treated sounds, and never settles into a predictable mood. It's also long-winded and muddled, which should comfortably confine the record's audience to the cult one Psychic TV has attracted throughout its career.

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