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1983's conceptual CBS album,
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This review is from: Dreams Less Sweet (Audio CD)
Following the demise of Throbbing Gristle, two of its members Genesis P-Orridge and Pete'Sleazy'Christopherson were associated with the first phase of Psychic TV (a band who are about to release a new album under the PTV3 moniker). The roots of PTV are actually found in Alternative TV's 'Industrial Sessions', an album that featured P-Orridge and was recorded at TG's Death Factory studio alongside material by 23 Skidoo and Whitehouse. ATV's Alex Ferguson and TG's Gen-P were the principal members, their collaboration 'Just Drifting' showing that the two had chemistry and there was more to Gen-P than stuff like 'Hamburger Lady' & 'Maggot Death.' Their first album 'Force the Hand of Chance' (WEA, 1982) is a definite masterpiece, gorgeous songs that sound like Serge'n'the Velvets amid more challenging work like 'Ov Power', the epic Marc Almond-duet 'Guiltless' & the culty 'Message from the Temple.' 'Force...' decided to follow pop-strategies, a sugary pill for the cult-associated members and avant souls like Gen-P, Sleazy, Ferguson, John Balance & Monte Cazzana. 'Force...' forms a trilogy with 'Dreams Less Sweet' & the posthumously released 'Godstar- Thee Director's Cut' (2004)- sadly, it should be noted that the first two were released by Some Bizarre - so the rights to reissue are up in the air. Some Bizarre were releasing interesting records at the time - 'Torment & Toreros', 'In Strict Tempo' (which featured P-Orridge), 'Soul Mining', 'The Crackdown' (which featured Dave Ball) & Neubauten (though EN pretty much dismiss their association with them). 'Dreams Less Sweet' was part of this...
The 19-track album infamously used the Zuccarelli Holophonic recording process, which makes this album quite interesting just from an audio-analist perspective (that awful Roger Waters' LP 'Amused to Death' attempted to a groundbreaking recording process - he appears to have heard this!!!). 'Dreams Less Sweet' as the title suggests, is bleaker material than the previous album - certain tracks here have more in common with TG, e.g. 'Eden 1' with its dirgey-bass and chants. The longest and most disturbing track remains 'In the Nursery', which is like Sadaean-cult flogging combined with TG's 'Persuasion'- this is one that will freeze most souls if heard on headphones, locked into a very strange place...
'Dreams Less Sweet' is an odd one, there aren't many songs here, some tracks are just sketches or brief instrumental passages somewhere between Michael Nyman and TG's 'In the Shadow of the Sun' - 'The Orchids' is gorgeous psychedelic orchestrated pop up there with 'Just Drifting' and at odds with the album's more challenging elements. There are strange soundscapes, choral sections, ambient interludes, and then something like 'White Nights', which is like Syd Barrett thinking of Brian Wilson. 'Medmenham' sounds like a vocal relation of TG's 'Hamburger Lady', while 'Clouds without Water' seems very reminiscent of Philip Glass...
There aren't many records like 'Dreams Less Sweet', it might not match 'Force the Hand of Chance' or 'Godstar' in terms of songwriting ('Roman P', 'Stolen Kisses', 'Godstar', 'Just Drifting', 'Just Like Arcadia', 'Guiltless' etc), but as a sequence, it's a trip - one up there with Scraping Foetus off the Wheel's 'Nail', with Van Dyke Parks' 'Song Cycle', with The Glove's 'Blue Sunshine', with Dennis Wilson's unreleased/destroyed collaboration with Charles Manson...One to reissue with the right re-mastering, in the meantime, one to track down from PTV1's great initial phase...