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Genesis P-Orridge & The Hafler Trio - Dream Less Suite

Genesis P-Orridge & The Hafler Trio - Dream Less Suite coverAndrew M. McKenzie was never a member of Psychic TV nor a TOPY initiate, but over the years as The Hafler Trio he worked extensively with Genesis P-Orridge. His written work featured on the sleeve of Live In Gottingen and in one volume of the Temple Press Ratio:3 series, alongside material from P-Orridge and Z'EV. Dream Less Suite (which, if you missed it is a play on the title of Psychic TV's second album Dreams Less Sweet) gathers together the numerous work they did together. Some of it was unfinished, some released albeit mistakenly in demo form and some culled from rare live appearances with one featuring both Z'EV and Eric Random.

For whatever reasons The Hafler Trio have been silent since 2016 and even their Simply Superior bandcamp page currently only features spoken word contributions. Dream Less Suite, however, features some pieces resurrected from the past and recently completed as intended to produce an intriguing listen which brings an experimental approach to the voice, words and ideas of Genesis P-Orridge.

Dream Less Suite opens with 'Better Not To Begin', an exercise in noise, chance and chaos, taken from a 1989 performance made at the end of a Psychic TV show at Amsterdam's Paradiso with Andrew M. McKenzie on tapes, effects and mixing unleashing rippling serrated and passages of atmospheric noise. Gen's voice remains distant, revolving around wordplay around "sins of sins", "sons of sin, sons of sinners"; amidst streams of feedback emissions and passages of rhythms from Matthew Best and some bass throb from the last time Gen's TG bass, soon to be stolen, was used. Andrew M. McKenzie is on mixing, tapes and effects again on another live track from a show recorded some 2 years earlier in Amsterdam, with a nice line-up involving Z'EV laying down the rhythm on an actual drumkit, as Eric Random adds splintering guitar work emitting arcs of feedback based noise. Gen whoops and screams but his contribution here despite the occasional vocal interjection is largely wordless. Following the failure of equipment and a projected Dreamachine soundtrack by Genesis and Paula P-Orridge with McKenzie, this was a hastily convened combination of artists creating an improvised psych-groove. As such, the line-up was a true one-off, and although historically important the whole thing carries all the hallmarks of a poorly recorded bootleg tape.

The two tracks from the Genesis P-Orridge with Hafler Trio mini 3 inch CD which came free with Vittore Baroni's book Psychic TV: A Coumprehensive Collection Of Lyrics 1981-90 are included here. It appears, however, that these were demo versions and are included here in their intended form as 'yes' versions eventually finalised in August 2022. 'Alaura (yes)' features the heavily manipulated voice of Genesis P-Orridge, his spoken voice, indecipherable, stretched and processed to create the wordless, layering of this textured sound. 'Slave Priest (yes)' vibrates and drones with elements sounding like processed singing bowls. Remarkably restrained, this one ebbs closer to the music of The Hafler Trio, but it's one definitely designed for close listening, as effects shift, drip and pulse, increasing in volume and intensity towards the end, coming closer to the version which accompanied the Psychic TV lyric book.

Other tracks on the album arose from numerous uncompleted projects such as 'Veiled Threat (extract)' whose convoluted history saw it initially planned as a radio soundtrack, before becoming a video interlude and finally a call sign for an uncompleted video. Almost split into two parts the opening section shifts to a series of fizzing, ricocheted and dissipating airy textured rushes. The second part merges an environmental recording of a heavy downpour with a melange of competing sound sources before it attains the spirit of a Burroughs tape experiment layering sounds and spliced voices. Gen's there at the end with a cheeky laugh - anyway! 'Hope Dies Now, Gratefully', the sole remaining fragment to a soundtrack to a book of Genesis P-Orridge's writing and ideas which McKenzie was working on after gaining access to the material in the Brighton TOPY archives, can be filed under "interesting" as it's awash with swirls of sound and creaky wavering akin to a droning foghorn (quite apt, P-Orridge detractors might think).

One project which was completed was the book Brion Gysin: His Name Was Master, featuring a collection of interviews with the artist, writer and creator of the Dreamachine conducted by Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson, and another with Jon Savage, compiled from tapes transcribed and edited by Andrew M. McKenzie. It's a wonderful book full of insight, stories and ideas and available from Trapart. Before that though, McKenzie put out a soundtrack CD with book which came complete with a Dreamachine, released as The Hafler Trio and Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth Present Brion Gysin's Dreamachine on Belgium's KK Records. 'E-am-E' constructed from conversations, lectures and phone calls expands on the Dreamachine soundtrack with further patterns, frequencies and rhythms. Opening with a tantalising mutant TGesque rhythm it passes into quivering, skittering techno and into passages with the patter of hand drums beats. It's all intercut with bursts of Joujouka pipes. Then it regroups into a propulsive groove, scattered with glistening rivulets of chopped sound. It takes until 18 mins or so until it becomes apparent that this exercise in flicker conjuring sound patterns is constructed from voices, processed, spliced and cut into judders and pulses before winding down with the drone of Joujouka pipes.

Gysin may have discovered the cut-up method, but it was his friend William Burroughs, another influential figure in TOPY circles, who would receive greater acclaim when applying this method to his writings. McKenzie, like many in TOPY circles, got the opportunity to meet both at the Final Academy, a series of events organised by P-Orridge and David Dalton. It's maybe of no surprise then to find Burroughs on Dream Less Suite but perhaps more so to find that it's neither a reading, sample or a cut-up as many have done. Evolving from a soundtrack to an uncompleted project stemming from the electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recordings and theories of Konstantin Raudive, 'NOW<-------->NOW' utilises tapes of recordings made by William Burroughs, Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson in an attempt to capture the voices of dead souls wishing to break through. The result, completed by McKenzie with recordings of related methods, techniques and other sources, is 23 minutes of drone altering pitch filled with interference and glassy shrieks, buzzing at times like the roar of a bomber, which is revealing in itself as their experiment to communicate with the dead took place at The Bunker in New York on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

By now you might have worked out that Dream Less Suite is an album that leans more toward The Hafler Trio rather than Genesis P-Orridge. Outside of the live recordings, Genesis remains the source, providing the voice and engineer of the ideas which McKenzie would further and complete following P-Orridge's death. In terms of P-Orridge's work Dream Less Suite shares more of an affinity with the Merzbow collaboration A Perfect Pain than Psychic TV or Thee Majesty. Dream Less Suite is an intriguing, enigmatic collection of material released by Cortizona only on double vinyl with extensive liner notes from Simply Superior bandcamp