It's funny, this was released in Brazil under one "Stiletto" label that released a lot of Acid House and Belgian New Beat and back then, growing up in South America and without internet (and most asshat record store owners not really letting you listen to the records) a lot of us fell for this one thinking this was in that same vein. The MESH track was a minor hit, so we thought perhaps this was more of that (and hopefully better since MESH was kinda shite). Everybody and their mother hated this record and it ended up in the trash bin or the 50 cent pile. Years later, with internet and so on we found out it was a Psychic TV attempt at being original.
Original isn't always good. Also this was not groundbreaking in terms of acid house being new. This ain't acid, and even if it was, you can't say acid house was just getting started in '88. If you think so because you are from London, then Rodney Baker, Sleazy D, Ron Hardy, DJ Pierre, Spanky and other citizens from the birthplace of house would beg to differ. acid was at least 2 years old by then.
Being a fan of house music and acid house I can confirm that virtually everyone I know and myself who fell for this crap and bought it hated it. Nothing to do with acid house. Hardly even house music. An utter pile of shite that was binned as soon as we'd played it once. Psychic tv should hang for sins like this.
Jack The Tab (a release from Psychic TV's acid house circle at the time, which was mainly Genesis P-Orridge with help from Fred Giannelli), is definitely one of the most interesting electronic albums you can find. Whilst acid house is generally associated with using a Roland 303 synth over a 4/4 beat with some added vocals, Psychic TV surprised everyone with this record by taking the "trippy" idea to the next level and made something here that was no doubt innovative, introducing the idea of creatively sampling and adding in just about any trippy sounds over the usual rhythmns to create an "on acid" sound. Of course, this was all along with the added underlying philosophies, dark undertones and sense of humour which were trademarks of Genesis P-Orridge and the Psychic Youth team mixed in, giving you the feeling a lot of effort and, dare I say it, maybe even fun went into making this. Also bear in mind that this came out in 1987, before sampling any old thing had become quite so common, and you can understand how this record must have been quite cutting edge at the time, which makes it all the more impressive.
Though some of the tracks on here are quite repetitive (although that was the idea of acid house after all), there are definitely a lot of clever and surprising moments across the album. Without giving it all away, "Over Thee Brink" is a great example of taking a theme (in this case war) and building on it in a trippy way so exaggerated only Psychic TV could have thought of it, using samples of bombs being dropped, a guy screaming "THIS IS A F***ING WAR!" and mashed up aeroplane samples which scrape across the speakers. The whole album seems to choose different themes in this way, take as many different sounds associated with it as they can, and then try to mix this into either a dance track or something that's just trippy and listenable, which works and surprises you most of the time. Other notable examples are "Balkan Red Alert", a more downtempo tune which almost sounds like an early trip hop track with its use of breaks rather than a 4/4 beat and unusual, mellow African influences, and "Blue Heart", an incredibly dark and psychotic house track with a carefully rolling bassline underneath off-key, sinister organ samples and a woman screaming in pain at different pitches whilst talking about the pain of her dreams.
On the whole, this album must have also been quite unexpected. P-Orridge had been known for dark, minimal industrial works, as had Psychic TV, and so suddenly choosing to take his project into the upbeat world of rave music must have been quite a surprising move, only a few other groups such as The Shamen and Severed Heads had dared to try moving in this way from the very different genres they began with to experiment with acid house sounds around this time. If you come across this unusual album, definitely give it a listen. It certainly is an influential example of how to not make flat and generic electronic music, even if it's not quite IDM.
one of the better concept albums on the market. if this had actually come out right at the end of the 60s i think it would have freaked people out. the band's sampling of all things from that era makes this also a great learning lp. Vietnam, The Trip, swinging London, biker movies and Dallas 1969. What more could you want?
This is truly one of the conerstones of modern techno music. Consider when listening to it today how groundbreaking it was in 1988, at the birth of acid house. To the person above who says it's just "acid jazz with enless acid patterns" - considering that acid jazz and world music were not even recognized as being compatible with music like this, I'd say GPO and company deserve some serious props. "Balkan Red Alert" is as mind-blowing now as it was then. And let's not forget that probably 70% of this album is played live, not sequenced or programmed, most notably the drum tracks. This is just a super album that deserves repeat listenings.
I think this LP was kind of boring. It'S more early Acid Jazz mixed with endless acid-like patterns. the sound was rough like an underground production. The highlight is "Blue Heart" by Essence. btw: Are the titles and artists swapped? it's King Tubby with "Psyche Out" and not the other way or not?