I first learned of P-Orridge in the late 1980s during the acid house period. I remember some of their Psychic TV material from the radio shows by Luc Janssen. However, I can’t seem to find the tracks that I heard at the time.
Where to begin? There is so much. Let’s start with the exceptional single “United/Zyklon B Zombie” (1978).
And let us add the album 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979) also by Throbbing Gristle.
There was a time when I actually thought that these were jazz-funk tracks.
New listener, do not fear, it’s very experimental but actually not that hard on the irritation scale.
When I discovered Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1990s, part of the attraction was the visual style and the grand narrative holding the whole project together. This style was just as much due to George Clinton as to Pedro Bell.
Bell’s unique album and liner notes contributed substantially to the P-Funk mythology and begot the Afrofuturist aesthetic evident also in Jean-Michel Basquiat (see for example the sleeve design for “Beat Bop“).
A seminal text in his poetic oeuvre is from the sleeve notes of Standing on the Verge of Getting It On (1974):
“AS IT IS WRTTEN HENCEFORTH… On the Eighth Day, the Cosmic Strumpet of Mother Nature was spawned to envelope this Third Planet in FUNKADELICAL VIBRATIONS. And she birthed Apostles Ra, Hendrix, Stone, and CLINTON to preserve all funkiness of man unto eternity… But! Fraudulent forces of obnoxious JIVATION grew…only seedling GEORGE remained! As it came to be, he did indeed begat FUNKADELIC to restore Order Within the Universe. And nourished from the pamgrierian mammaristic melonpaps of Mother Nature, the followers of FUNKADELIA multiplied incessantly!”
Pedro will be missed.