PSYCHIC TV Peak Hour (Tin Toy)
Originally released in 1993, "Peak Hour" was recorded whilst Psychic TV lynchpin Genesis P Orridge was exiled in America. Following a television programme about child abuse, which had featured footage from an Orridge performance video, police raided the headquarters of the band's followers, the Temple Ov Psychick Youth, confiscating writing, tapes, videos and artwork by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Faced with arrest should he return to the UK, Orridge's contributions to "Peak Hour" were recorded from phone booths on the west coast, the finished masters eventually smuggled out to him.
With Orridge absent, it seems the rest of the band constructed a not unappealing, spaced-out collage of electronic dance music, far from the kind of confrontational, aggressive music that Psychic TV's reputation might suggest. "Peak Hour" is a very Orbient album more precisely it's very "U.F.Orb" - the light, floaty textures, bubbly rhythms and wispy dialogue samples are all strongly reminiscent of that album. Had "Peak Hour" sneaked into the marketplace ahead of that second Orb album it would stake a respectable claim as a visionary work. As it is, "Peak Hour" limped into record emporiums a year later than "U.F.Orb", making it look rather second-hand, even in the finery of this latest reissue, which boasts remastering and extra tracks. If the idea of an album that sounds uncannily reminiscent of "U.F.Orb" floats your boat, "Peak Hour" is recommended listening, and Psychic TV have certainly pulled off a difficult trick in a more enjoyable fashion than any other challenger I could name. Certainly no Orb studio work issued since has been this interesting. But for the casual browser, everything "Peak Hour" is has been done better beforehand.