Turn the TV Back On
Based on personal experience, let us (unfortunately) assume that your garden variety performance artist eschews mastery of any particular creative activity for controlled hyperkinetics or obvious minimalism to loudly suggest, “Look at me!” If nothing else, 2007 proves that Genesis Breyer P-Orridge—having guided the legendary Throbbing Gristle down the comeback trail and now reintroducing Psychic TV as PTV3 on Hell is Invisible…Heaven is Her/e—bucks that sad trend.
Psychic TV’s first album of new material in 12 years packs a rather straightforward punch, but that’s more than enough of a diversion from the band’s ties to high weirdness. The music is so solid and at points rocks so hard there’s no need to devote too many column inches to its inspiration: a peaceful yet deviant worldview that led P-Orridge and recently deceased partner Lady Jaye Breyer to share surnames and even undergo cosmetic surgery in order to become one loving hermaphroditic “unit.”
PTV3 don’t ignore the unhinged electronic avant-garde that brought them to the dance. They invite Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes to chant along on the swirling “I Don’t Think So” and the insistent “Maximum Swing.” Even “Milk Baba,” which closes the album, starts off with guitars and sitars but disintegrates into sine waves and maniacal cackling.
The sweetest surprises on Hell is Invisible…Heaven is Her/e come when PTV3 play connect-the-dots with music on the fringes of punk. P-Orridge’s growls and his/her keyboard-laden band mesh best on “Lies, And Then” (with help from Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs), “Higher & Higher” and the epic “Just Because.” Capable of invoking the hippie nihilism of The Doors and Jane’s Addiction, the artful menace of Iggy Pop and Television, and New Wave’s early death disco, when this incarnation of Psychic TV is good it’s really good.