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Psychic TV, "Force the Hand of Chance"

It angers me that Some Bizzare Stevø has treated one of the best releases of the 1980s with such utter negligence, issuing versions like this with embarassing mistakes on tracklisting, indexing errors, chintzy packaging, and dreadful artwork recreation. I encourage nobody to buy this shitty reissue and I hearby challenge Stevø to recall these copies at once and put out a fucking proper release of this classic once and for all.

 

Some Bizzare

The music on Force the Hand of Chance is flawless. In a scale of 1-10 it rates a perfect 10. This album was completed a year after the termination of Throbbing Gristle as Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson joined forces with Alternative TV's Alex Fergusson (who appeared on the Industrial Records 7" release of Dorothy) and recruited Andrew Poppy for string arrangements, Marc Almond for guest vocals, and engineer Ken Thomas (23 Skidoo, Non, Lemon Kittens, Wire, and later on Sigur Rós). Eight songs (and two short interludes) run the gamut from the lush string and acoustic guitar dominated opener "Just Drifting" and its reprise "Caresse;" to the magnum epic Coil-esque precursors "Terminus" and "Guiltless;" the guitar and fx interplay of "No Go Go;" through the concluding "Message from the Temple," almost a blueprint for the Horse Rotorvator piece "The Golden Section."  Accompanying the original LP release was a bonus LP, Psychic TV Themes, an awesome entirely instrumental work in eight parts with piano, Tibetan thigh bone, cowbells, and various other noisemakers.

In the years since this original release, Themes was the first to appear on CD, first as Cold Dark Matter, both individually and in the amazing Splinter Test box 1, then eventually on a limited release by Cleopatra. Force the Hand of Chance was issued on CD by some forgettable label called Tempus, re-named Force Thee Hands ov Chants and mastered from an LP with a faulty left channel for side 1. They tacked on bonus tracks from the Just Drifting 12" single and bonus 12" that came with PTV's second full-length album, Dreams Less Sweet, along with a completely random advertisement for Skinny Puppy's album The Process. It was paired with a second CD of live material. Then Cleopatra reissued that version (containing those irrelevant bonus tracks). In the late '90s, Some Bizzare reissued Force, coupled with some video excerpts of "Terminus" and "Message from the Temple" but the CD audio tracking was off: "Terminus" cut early, erroneously shoving its epilogue onto "Stolen Kisses;" the video quality was about as good as video quality was for Quicktime circa 1998 (ie: pretty crappy to today's standards); packaging was cheap; and Themes was absent. The only worthwhile reissue was the Japanese CD from Waner Bros., whose artwork was perfect, lyrics were included, the track indexing precise, and the sound fantastic. The second disc was Themes and to my ears sounded like it was mastered from the original tapes and not an LP (which I can somewhat sense from the Cold Dark Matter issue). With this year's reissue, even titled Force The Hand of Chance with Themes, my hopes were high, but in reality this is a disaster.

Starting with the title itself: disc 2 isn't even Themes!  It's those irrelevant bonus tracks from the Tempus CD (which belong more with Dreams Less Sweet) and includes that stupid Skinny Puppy advertisement for their album The Process. On the disc itself, "The Mad Organist" is coupled with "Catalan" on the same track and thus unlisted. The package itself is a shoddy double digipack with a blown up cover, while the artwork on the back is clearly a photocopy of photocopy of a photocopy (as it still contains the painful typo of the 1998 Some Bizzare CD: Alex Gergusson), and there's no lyrics to be found anywhere. It claims to have been remastered in 2007, but sounds no better than the 1998 UK edition and the poor quality videos from the Some Bizzare UK edition are contained again (along with deprecated software).

I call shenanegans on you, Stevø, as you've delivered the same version you did 10 years ago (but with unrelated nonsense). Recall this and I'll be delighted to assist in a proper release of it myself.  This album deserves far better than you have delivered.

samples: 

 

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