Originally formed by its founding duo Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and video director Peter Christopherson after the breakup of Throbbing Gristle in the early 1980s, Psychic TV (also known as Psychick TV or PTV) was conceived as an experimental video art and music project. Throughout each of its three incarnations, the project has included a diverse and rotating cast of collaborators including Coil, Current 93, Hafler Trio, The Cult, Soft Cell, Fred Giannelli, XKP, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Matthew Best, Abino Brolle, Daniel Simon Black, William Breeze, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Derek Jarman, John Gosling, Timothy Leary, Rose McDowall, Stephen Kent, Vagina Dentata Organ, Andrew Weatherill, Larry Thrasher, Z’EV, Zef NoiSe, Jeff Berner and a lengthy list of others. Interestingly, the project has a long-held reputation for relentless experimentation with its sound and aesthetic, and at one point for being incredibly prolific — with the release of a monthly series of live albums starting in 1986, the band earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for most records released in one year.
Psychic TV’s latest effort Alienist can trace its origins back to 2009 when the project’s creative mastermind and primary member Genesis Breyer P-Orridge proposed that the band cover Funkadelic‘s “Maggot Brain” as a musical interlude while on tour. After that tour, the members of the band went into the studio to record their interpretation of “Maggot Brain,” that lead to the band recording a series of 12 inch records annually which included the band’s interpretation of a classic song on the A side and a new song on the B side. Mostly chosen by drummer and co-producer Edley ODowd, the band has covered Hawkwind‘s “Silver Machine,” Can‘s “Mother Sky,” and Captain Beefheart‘s “Dropout Boogie” among others. Alienist is the latest effort in their 12 inch series and the album includes the band covering Harry Nilsson‘s “Jump Into the Fire” and 60’s British psych rockers, The Creation’s “How Does It Feel to Feel,” one of Breyer P-Orridge’s all-time favorites, along with two original tracks “I’m Looking For You” and “Alienist,” a trippy, dance-floor friendly song that sounds as though it drew from Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, Zooropa-era U2 and house music, while also channeling the project’s acid house experiments of the late 80s.