Psychic TV - Batschkapp
Experimental 'Batschkapp' is a 2012 re-release of a Psychic TV performance at the German club Batschkapp on December 10, 1984. Originally issued in 1999 as a bonus CD for the first thousand copies of another Psychic TV release, "Were You Ever Bullied At School - Do You Want Revenge?", this nearly 30 year-old live performance has been out of print for 12 years. This early era Psychic TV release, from a time when Alex Fergusson was Genesis P-Orridge's main collaborator, explores the synthesis of pop, punk, noise, and experimental.

"Thee Legge Songe" opens with an experimental, psychedelic feel to it with samples from a children's song alongside guitar feedback, and evolves into a pop ballad of sorts. As always with Psychic TV, it's never quite that straightforward; whatever feel these tracks give off on the surface, there's always something going on underneath, like the feedback that ebbs and flows throughout this song. In the second track, "Soul Eater", a blues guitar riff and harmonica accompany Genesis P-Orridge's screaming alongside the howling of wolves, though not Howlin' Wolf. "Unclean" brings ritualistic, chanted vocals and percussion, and moves into electronic drums and a punk sounding guitar riff, and turns into an extended jam. "Godstar (Never Forget)" delivers a very 80's feeling punk pop song, with lots of catchy guitar riffs and lyrics.

The second half of the album features long tracks that feel like semi-improvised jams. "I Can See Your Eye Can I" opens with feedback and tribal-sounding percussion and keeps the tribal percussion in the foreground, even as guitar, synth, and vocals move in and around it. Live, I can imagine this being one of the highlights of the performance, as the hypnotic drums drew the audience with mesmerizing beats. Outside of the live setting, this track goes on for about 10 minutes too long. "Ov Power, Corruption and Magick" features a prominent bass line with P-Orridge shouting over it, and lots of feedback with the guitar riffs, and also goes on a little too long before morphing into a more experimental track. "Papal Breakdance" features some kind of poppy electronic drum and bass lines alongside some noisy experimental weirdness.

P-Orridge's vocals have always been raw and filled with emotion, cracking and going in and out of tune in interesting ways, and they're no different on 'Batschkapp'. Alex Fergusson lays down some great pop/punk guitar riffs throughout this performance, too. One of the drawbacks is that this is a live album from the 1980's, so there's only so much you can do with the source material; to me, it seems like a lot of the bottom end has been lost, if it was ever captured on the original recordings. Also, Psychic TV is a group that seemed to thrive on live performance, making these live albums a bit of a double-edged sword; what we hear is a a compelling, yet somewhat pale reflection of a unique moment in time and space. A great live record gives us some sense of being there, but makes us acutely aware that we missed some of the most important aspects of the performance: the lights, the smells, how the music enveloped and immersed the audience. Ultimately a sense of having missed out.

For the Psychic TV or Genesis P-Orridge completist, 'Batschkapp' is an easy recommendation. Outside of that, I love the genre-blending experiments of this incarnation of Psychic TV, and this album showcases the wide range of improvisational capabilities of the group but some of the shortcomings of the live recording leave me cold.
3
Brutal Resonance

Psychic TV - Batschkapp

6.0
"Alright"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2012 by Cold Spring
'Batschkapp' is a 2012 re-release of a Psychic TV performance at the German club Batschkapp on December 10, 1984. Originally issued in 1999 as a bonus CD for the first thousand copies of another Psychic TV release, "Were You Ever Bullied At School - Do You Want Revenge?", this nearly 30 year-old live performance has been out of print for 12 years. This early era Psychic TV release, from a time when Alex Fergusson was Genesis P-Orridge's main collaborator, explores the synthesis of pop, punk, noise, and experimental.

"Thee Legge Songe" opens with an experimental, psychedelic feel to it with samples from a children's song alongside guitar feedback, and evolves into a pop ballad of sorts. As always with Psychic TV, it's never quite that straightforward; whatever feel these tracks give off on the surface, there's always something going on underneath, like the feedback that ebbs and flows throughout this song. In the second track, "Soul Eater", a blues guitar riff and harmonica accompany Genesis P-Orridge's screaming alongside the howling of wolves, though not Howlin' Wolf. "Unclean" brings ritualistic, chanted vocals and percussion, and moves into electronic drums and a punk sounding guitar riff, and turns into an extended jam. "Godstar (Never Forget)" delivers a very 80's feeling punk pop song, with lots of catchy guitar riffs and lyrics.

The second half of the album features long tracks that feel like semi-improvised jams. "I Can See Your Eye Can I" opens with feedback and tribal-sounding percussion and keeps the tribal percussion in the foreground, even as guitar, synth, and vocals move in and around it. Live, I can imagine this being one of the highlights of the performance, as the hypnotic drums drew the audience with mesmerizing beats. Outside of the live setting, this track goes on for about 10 minutes too long. "Ov Power, Corruption and Magick" features a prominent bass line with P-Orridge shouting over it, and lots of feedback with the guitar riffs, and also goes on a little too long before morphing into a more experimental track. "Papal Breakdance" features some kind of poppy electronic drum and bass lines alongside some noisy experimental weirdness.

P-Orridge's vocals have always been raw and filled with emotion, cracking and going in and out of tune in interesting ways, and they're no different on 'Batschkapp'. Alex Fergusson lays down some great pop/punk guitar riffs throughout this performance, too. One of the drawbacks is that this is a live album from the 1980's, so there's only so much you can do with the source material; to me, it seems like a lot of the bottom end has been lost, if it was ever captured on the original recordings. Also, Psychic TV is a group that seemed to thrive on live performance, making these live albums a bit of a double-edged sword; what we hear is a a compelling, yet somewhat pale reflection of a unique moment in time and space. A great live record gives us some sense of being there, but makes us acutely aware that we missed some of the most important aspects of the performance: the lights, the smells, how the music enveloped and immersed the audience. Ultimately a sense of having missed out.

For the Psychic TV or Genesis P-Orridge completist, 'Batschkapp' is an easy recommendation. Outside of that, I love the genre-blending experiments of this incarnation of Psychic TV, and this album showcases the wide range of improvisational capabilities of the group but some of the shortcomings of the live recording leave me cold.
Apr 17 2012

Karl Middlebrooks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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