Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Alternative TV with Genesis P-Orridge - The Industrial Sessions 1977

Alternative TV with Genesis P-Orridge
The Industrial Sessions 1977

Released 1998 on Overground
Reviewed by Jim Tones, 18/01/2003ce

This is a CD of the 'legendary' first recordings by ATV at the studios of Industrial Records/Throbbing Gristle in April 1977. The previous year had seen ATV leader and 'first punk journalist and ranconteur' Mark Perry start one of the first British 'Punk' fanzines to champion the welcomed New Wave of the time, the salubrious "Sniffin' Glue".
Like many music fans in 1975/6, he had become bored and disillusioned with the way music was becoming overblown and started to pick up little pockets of information in the UK music press which spoke about the thriving New York scene with reports about groups such as The Ramones and Television.

A bond was formed between Perry and P-Orridge and along with the other ATV members, they were granted some time from Gen and fellow TG operator Chris Carter, to record some tracks at the studios of Industrial Records.

Well, don't expect an album of catchy punk toons here! I'd say this is more of an 'audio document' than anything else, tracks like "Love Lies Limp" in their earliest form (3 versions here) all rough as a bear's arse but strangely compelling, it makes the Velvets' "Live at Max's" sound like Hawkwind's "Space Ritual"!!

The thing I always liked about Mark P was that he was always honest, he never once said that he didn't listen to progressive rock before 1976, a big fan of ELP by all acounts!
Most of the people involved in the new wave including the media always tried to show that these new faces had nothing to do with the 'old guard' and would write extremely hyped-up prose, making you almost believe that 'punks' were a strain of human being unconnected to the rest of the great unwashed young masses......all these years later we have the likes of Howard Devoto and Keith Levine admitting their youthful pre-'76 fandom for Yes (!).
Anyway, we have here what you could call a 'true' punk album in spirit, just listen to the track "Industrial Porridge", it's something that everyone can identify with.....pure abandon!... thrashing and flayling away to your hearts content in a basement.

There are snatches of banter between ATV and Gen/Chris/Cosey from TG which makes this all the more fascinating as a document of the times.

The packaging has some photos from the sessions as well as including a short essay by P-Orridge which was originally to be featured in an edition of Sniffin' Glue, which raises some interesting questions and is an insight into the differing views as to the meaning of the New Wave of the time.
There is a live track - "Still Life" which was recorded at the Rat Club in 1977 and displays ATV's use of tapes and fx which were to give them that extra nervy edge and also hint at what was to come in the groups next 2 years of existence.
Also interesting in that Mark P's co-founder of ATV was one Alex Fergusson, who would (later on) be a member of the first incarnation of Psychic TV.

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