Genesis P-Orridge (1950-2020) Rich Legacy includes Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV

Posted by Billyjam, March 14, 2020 07:41pm | Post a Comment
Psychic TV "Godstar" (1988)

Legendary experimental musician, poet, multi-media artist and occultist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, who was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia in 2017, died earlier today at age 70. Around this time last year and midway into a two-plus year battle against the disease the industrial music pioneer, who first came to wide acclaim as the founding member of Throbbing Gristle, had to be rushed into a NYC area hospital in what was reportedly a critical situation. “She was unable to breathe without oxygen” after her lungs became “blocked with fluid, which her doctors had previously attempted to remove with a suction needle,” wrote friend and associate of the artist Jason Louv at the time in an email to fans and friends of Genesis P-Orridge that also acted as both an update on the artist's health and a plea for help for the under-insured artist's GoFundMe page to combat ever escalating medical bills.  

The envelope pushing, notoriously prolific Genesis P-Orridge leaves behind a vast and impressive legacy.  Creating under a myriad of pseudonyms that have included Griselda, PT001Godstar,  DJ Doktor Megatrip, and Pearl Necklace, the British born Genesis P-Orridge (aka Genesis Breyer P-Orridge) had long been a provocateur.  The five-decade career of the long self-identified "third-gender" artist with the s/he and h/er preferred pronouns (although some still referred to the artist as "he" or "she") is most widely known for being the founding member of the seventies pioneering industrial music group Throbbing Gristle. 

In the past few years Mute Records has reissued numerous titles from the influential group's groundbreaking back-catalog. The most recent of these were reissued just a couple of months ago back in mid January; Live December 2004: A Souvenir Of Camber Sands 2LP and CD version & Part Two: The Endless Not + TG Now 2LP & CD version.  Other titles recently reissued by Mute have included the 1980 Throbbing Gristle (TG) live album Heathen Earth (also reissued on vinyl/LP), Mission Of Dead Souls: The Last Live Performance of Throbbing Gristle (also on vinyl/LP), and the widely acclaimed TG 1979 full-length 20 Jazz Funk Greats.  Another recent era reissue of the artist was the Genesis P-Orridge & Merzbow 1999 collaborative project A Perfect Pain that was reissued about eighteen months ago.

In addition to Throbbing Gristle, Genesis is equally known for founding the multi-media experimental ensemble Psychic TV (aka PTV), part of whose back catalog has in recent years been reissued by such labels as Cold Spring and Sacred Bones who in 2017 reissued PTV's 1984 album Pagan Day (also avail on red vinyl/LP). Not too long after the musically ever-evolving PTV had morphed into embracing acid-house by the late eighties and often under the alias Jack The Tab, the English born artist immigrated to the USA after been forced into exile from Britain. That was back at beginning of the nineties, coincidentally just as the West Coast rave scene was taking root (thanks in great part to several influential fellow British expats). Back then Genesis and PTV performed at such underground parties as Mr Floppy’s at East Oakland’s long gone Jack London Club.

A consistently anti-establishment avant-garde artist, Genesis had long been viewed as a controversial figure particularly back in h/er native Britain where the artist's history of forays into the occult and consciousness expansion have been frequently misinterpreted as a threat to society.  As comprehensively and most accurately noted by Louv in his email plea last year, “Genesis's decades-spanning work in liberating consciousness is why occulture exists as a social movement, rather than the activity of a few isolated individuals.

That includes every thing from creating industrial music in the early 1970s and championing acid house in the 1980s, to popularizing Austin Spare's sigil method, advancing Burroughs and Gysin's occult methods for breaking social control, and forming Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth to liberate magick from the British establishment and bring it to working-class people around the world. These are all activities for which Genesis already paid a high price, culminating with being forced into exile from Britain in 1991.” 

In the years both after this and in some before this enforced exile from the UK, Genesis had been a guest and performer on legendary NJ freeform radio station WFMU where the artist most frequently appeared on DJ Fabio's show Strength Through Failure. Today the veteran radio DJ and owner of Brooklyn NY record store Earwax Records reacted saying that, "This is really terrible news. Genesis was one of my favorite people to interview, and to just sit and chat with. It was never boring or repetitive to just hang out and talk with him; an incredibly knowledgeable and eloquent artist with a deep understanding of culture, the arts and music. He was super kind and always generous with his time and knowledge. I will miss him/her deeply."

Throbbing Gristle "Persuasian U.S.A." off  Mission Of Dead Souls (also on vinyl/LP)

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Sacred Bones Records (2), Cold Spring Records (1), Genesis P-orridge R.i.p. (1), Psychic Tv (8), Industrial Records (1), Ptv (1), Throbbing Gristle (11), Genesis P-orridge (3), Mute Records (4), Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth (1)