It will come as no surprise that Psychic TV, and specifically its constantly morphing magical figurehead Genesis P. Orridge, are a source of major influence in my work as an artist, not just in music but in my visual arts and indeed how I choose to live my life. This is not uncommon for individuals who have been touched by Genesis’ work throughout h/er career, starting in the late 60′s as a performance artist in England. Forever a radical and a real revolutionary of the human spirit, Genesis is one of the more fascinating people alive and, in my humble opinion, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
I highly suggest reading Thee Psychic Bible, Genesis and Thee Temple of Psychic Youth’s philosophical manifesto. It is utterly essential for anyone with an interest in a magical way of looking at their deep individual selves, the world, and the universe. Psychic TV as a band have a highly diverse musical catalogue, spanning from the early 1980′s until now, and I am honestly nowhere near well versed on all of their releases. That being said, here are some of my favorite of their videos and songs.
Your Body – Off the Jack The Tab/Tekno Acid Beat LP (1990)
This was what started it all for me. This video just completely blew my mind when I saw it. I ordered a Psychic TV video from Netflix years ago that was taken from an old early 90′s VHS release, and it had this video on it. This is the band in their full on LSD psychedlic hedonism period, traveling America in a school bus like the merry pranksters in the 60′s. The fashion!
My heart melts to this video. Do you really know your body? Do you really love your body? Is it any body? Just bloody brilliant.
“Joy” -12″ Single (1988)
From the same video as “Your Body.” It is supposedly Genesis who coined the term “acid house” in the late 80′s, and Psychic TV made some landmark recordings within the genre. This video is a time capsule; A window into a very experimental time, a time where consciousness was flowering again (not unlike the late 1960′s).
In England, 1988 is commonly referred to as “the second summer of love.” People were raving in the tens of thousands, blowing their minds on ecstasy and un-ironically loving each other. This is real psychedelia. It’s rave.
Tune In (Turn On the Acid House) - 12″ Single (1988)
The tune that started acid house, this circa 1988 release was the first to ever use that term. Genesis was hugely inspired by the music that was coming out of the Chicago underground in the 1980′s, where the youth were experimenting with cheap electronic hardware like the TB-303.
At this time, Chicago house was sort of dying out in its hometown, but was exploding in Britain. Psychic TV had a lot to do with that.
“Unclean” – 12″ Single (1984)
“Jesus walked on the waterrrrrr.” So good. “Unclean” is my favorite Psychic TV song, and maybe one of my favorite songs ever. This is early-mid 80′s era. Hyper repetitive and trance inducing, you can hear how this sound evolved into their experiments with acid house. This is power music. Like a more fucked up Velvet Underground, it makes me feel dirty like the song implies, but in full control of my environment.
Control and its destruction being a central theme to what the Temple of Psychic Youth were preaching in the 80′s. Chaos magic embodied.
“Godstar “- 12″ Single (1985)
If Psychic TV had a hit, this would be it. This is one of their few “pop” songs, and a brilliant song in its own right. Genesis was very influenced by the Rolling Stones in the mid 1960s, specifically Brion Jones, whom s/he felt was an evolved being. Brian Jones died in a swimming pool in the late 60′s, and while the death is classified as an accident, Genesis (and a lot of other people) believes he was murdered.
“Godstar” was made as a tribute to Brion Jones, who Genesis felt had been overlooked as a hugely important figure in Rolling Stones history and countercultural history everywhere. Supposedly the spirit of Brion Jones is in the recording of the song because Genesis intuitively left track 23 recording during the recording sessions of “Godstar” and that there was a knocking sound audible when the track was played back. The knocks coincide to certain lyrics in the song. Genesis took this to mean that Brion approved of the song.
“Starlit Mire” – Off the Allegory & Self LP (1988)
I love this song. You can hear the industrial influences, the world of Throbbing Gristle (where Genesis came from). This just sounds so heavy and dark. The image on the video was drawn by Austin Osman Spare, who was an English artist around the turn of the 20th century.
Spare invented the art of sigilization, which is a central theme to chaos magic. The act of creating and charging a symbol with a desired intent, the symbol then represents that intent and manifests it into being.
“Message From Thee Temple” – Off the Force The Hand of Chance LP (1982)
For anyone interested in the concepts that the Temple of Psychic Youth were interested in during the 80′s, this “message” is a must listen. I wonder if the woman who wrote The Secret is a Psychic TV fan. “Discard all irellevancies,” just orgasmic.
I like to listen to this on plane rides when I am traveling alone. It is hugely empowering.
“The Orchids” – 7″ Single (1983)
No other reason other than this is an amazing and beautiful song.
“Have Mercy” – Off the Mary Never Wanted Jesus LP (2005)
This is Psychic TV’s new material (which I am the least knowledgeable about actually) but this is a good starting point into the weird, weird world of contemporary Genesis P. Orridge. This is how Genesis looks now Post-Prosthetic surgery by means of “pandrogeny.” H/er word as a way of fusing mind, body and soul with h/er (now deceased) partner, Lady J.
A way of the two of them becoming a post gendered and hermaphroditic alchemical fusion with the other. A highly complex art piece that is too deep to talk about here. I would imagine this song was written about Lady J. But just look at this video! Aesthetically it is just beautiful to me, and the song is really good. Genesis just oozes avant-garde.- Pictureplane