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Psychic TV - Kondole / Dead Cat

Kondole / Dead Cat is a lavish Cold Spring production containing a double CD and DVD featuring David Lewis' short film Dead Cat with Psychic TV soundtrack and featuring acting roles for Derek Jarman and Genesis P-Orridge. Kondole was first released by Temple Records in 1989 as Kondole, Ov Dolphins and Whales. This edition compiles all of the full versions of music which has appeared in varied permutations on CD and vinyl over the years.

The insert excerpt Kondole, The Whale speaks of transformation, and that's really been the key to the work of Genesis P-Orridge work over the years. First as part of TOPY it was the realisation of the individual, and in recent years for Genesis it has been a physical transformation to pandrogeny. In the liner excerpt of the book stumbled upon by Genesis' daughter Genesse in a Shrewsbury bookshop, those present at the ritual as told in this Aboriginal tale were transformed into animals and Kondole being the largest of them all, was transformed into a whale.

Kondole was first issued by Temple Records in 1989 as a means to raise funds to support a campaign to close the local dolphinarium. P-Orridge and his family were residing in Brighton alongside members of TOPY who were living communally in what was known as Thee Big House. Informed by the writings of John C. Lilly dolphins were viewed as sentient beings and an integral part of evolutionary consciousness. TOPY Station alongside animal activists, members of the public and the local MP set about on what would be a successful campaign to close the local dolphinarium where two dolphins were being kept in cruel cramped conditions for the purpose of profit masquerading as entertainment. The campaign to close the dolphinarium also brought Genesis P-Orridge into contact with Timothy Wyllie, whose interest inhuman and non-human intelligences resulted in the book Dolphins, E.T.s and Angels: Adventures Among Spiritual Intelligences, quoted in the original release of Kondole. Wyllie, it would later emerge, was also a former member of The Process Church of the Final Judgement and this association would lead to the publication of Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment. But that's another story. This edition of Kondole / Dead Cat is re-dedicated to Timothy Wyllie, who died in 2017.

Kondole / Dead Cat fits neatly into the series of Psychic TV Themes releases and especially Themes 2 which featured tracks specifically recorded for films by Derek Jarman. While many of the original Themes releases were ritual based 'Dead Cat (Long Version)' ebbs towards an edgier new age type sound (if that term means anything these days). Recorded by Genesis P-Orridge and Fred Giannelli - a Genesis survivor and a constant thorn in the side for Genesis - 'Dead Cat (Long Version)' unfurls to a series of revving electronics dredging up dolphin sounds and whale song and moans in its murky undertow. It lasts some 48 minutes but there's very little in the way of sonic development besides the occasional thud, skittery effects and the earthy vibrating drone of the didgeridoo. The second disc contains a shorter more concise version of 'Dead Cat' but despite appearing on several versions this is the first time the full version of 'Dead Cat' has appeared since the original Temple Records CD release.

The second CD is the package features 3 tracks each roughly 23 minutes, naturally. The rhythmic ritual music of 'Thee Whale' is the pick of the bunch where loping passages of rhythmic bass and organ chime overlaid with whale song. Hand drums and whistles, bring a tribal almost Aboriginal essence to the sound. 'Thee Whale' dates from 1988 and is the earliest of the music featured on Kondole / Dead Cat as it originally featured on one side of the picture disc album sometimes known as Psychedelic Violences, which was the 10th album given free to collectors of the previous nine live Psychic TV albums on receipt of their vouchers. According to the liner notes of the Silent Record edition of Kondole the invitation to score Dead Cat was a direct result of the filmmakers listening to this track. It was also to serve as thee (shit, I just slipped into TOPY speak there) soundtrack to the 23 minute film called Kondole (Thee Whale), by David Lewis and Andy Crabb which remains unmade. Listening to this now 'Thee Whale' seems to acts as a bridge between the earlier ritual music of Psychic TV and the acid beats they moved, uh, to wards on Toward Thee Infinite Beat.

In something of a cruel twist of fate, as the past repeated itself, while living in self-imposed exile in the USA following unsubstantiated allegations of satanic abuse in the UK Genesis P-Orridge became aware of two imprisoned dolphins in the aquarium of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. As a direct consequence Psychic TV, featuring a one-off line-up of Dave Richardson, Markie M. and Genesis P-Orridge recorded 'Thee Shadow Creatures', which originally appeared on the Silent Records edition of Kondole, and marked the final piece in the Kondole trilogy. Bookended by lapping watery ripples, 'Thee Shadow Creatures' hits upon a tribal groove, the rhythm beating like oars being bashed and pummelled amidst aboriginal chants and recordings of varied forms of animal communication as it navigates through an ocean of murky sound and rhythmic invocations.

The second disc closes on a more concise reading of 'Dead Cat' and, since I don't turn to Kondole often, it's my preferred version. 'Dead Cat' is the soundtrack to the David Lewis film Dead Cat which is presented on the accompanying DVD, re-authored from the original source. Dead Cat only ever received a few select screenings including a showing at the Scala Cinema, soon to be immortalised in a book from the publishers Fab Press. Dead Cat features Derek Jarman, Genesis P-Orridge and Andrew Tiernan (who appeared in Polanski's The Pianist, Jarman's Edward II though I remember him best as a stuttering murderer in the UK TV series Cracker). Opening with an image of a dead cat nailed and hung from a wooden door, David Lewis's enigmatic short featured a cast list including Derek Jarman as a hermit-like medicine man who perched high up on an open door sill dispenses vials of sugar - from what looks like his Dungeness home - to a waiting group of addicts lined up below and Genesis P-Orridge who leads a group of thugs who harass and assault the film's protagonist. Tony Peake in his biography of Derek Jarman refers to Dead Cat as "a short student film" but it's worth a watch to witness the scenes of violence, sex and torture all atmospherically displayed in monochrome with the Psychic TV soundtrack. Lewis went on to work with Derek Jarman on films such as Blue and, along with Andy Crabb, acted as co-directer on Glitterbug, a stunning montage of Derek Jarman's Super 8 footage. David Lewis was also director of The Gay Mans Guide To Safer Sex which featured a soundtrack by Coil, and afterwards completed visuals to accompany live performances by Suede.

The history of Kondole / Dead Cat combines activism, ritual and evolutionary concepts but, with few exceptions, none of the music is particularly compelling. I'm pleased, though that the film Dead Cat is now readily available on DVD. On the whole though Kondole / Dead Cat is a worthwhile historical document of Psychic TV and Cold Spring have done a grand job with the lavish packaging and the unearthing of this rare film. Derek Jarman and Psychic TV completists wont want to miss this edition of Kondole / Dead Cat. For more information go to Cold Spring