Genesis P-Orridge (Psychic TV/Throbbing Gristle) is a legend, and a voice that is sadly missing among us since their death in 2020. Dave Ball (Soft Cell/The Grid) is by all means a legend in his own right. These two giants of electronic musical experimentation could have only been brought together by an artwork as unique and thrilling as their own creations. The rarely-seen short film Imagining October, by Derek Jarman, was created in 1984 and intended as a challenge to its age, drawing attention to the persecution of homosexuality reaching a fever pitch at the time on both sides of the Iron Curtain, by the way of a reflection from the queer perspective on the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The first ever release of this soundtrack comes in a beautiful physical format of a 12″ vinyl featuring an etched B-Side. Recorded at DJM recording studios on Theobalds Road, London, the music that accompanies and interacts with the film’s imagery is a fantastic display of these artists talents, and remains powerful to this day.
As the music begins, a steadiness welcomes us, and stays by our side as we advance in an emotional landscape. Walking the path may be hard, but there is no other way. Atmospheric sounds interact with one another across layers of time and auditory space. Chimes feel like splashes to the face as we traverse immense clouds. The first track delights in ethereal vibes. We are flying through the air, or at least hovering a few inches off the ground as we come to the end.
The second track kicks in like dropping onto thick dirt, then bouncing off and becoming aware. A mechanical heartbeat of some organic lifeform held steady in the dark of night. A night that reveals itself slowly, like a predator stalking us, ever more viciously. The arrival of vocals is magnificent, focusing the instrumentation into majestic classical arrangements. The heartbeat turns into a steady rhythm like a clock. The way these sounds drift in and out of an eerie, unnerving quality is masterful suspense work.
The music is rich in emotional content, and any fan of experimental music is likely to find solace in this release…
The chants of revolutionaries greet us in the next track. Their voices always carry a hint of joy and sadness, for all they trust will gain, for all they dare sacrifice. The sound of the steady marching time signals the unstoppable march of history, the tides of destruction and death. A knife held at the throat of the common man, woman and child, forcing us to conform to what is expected.
In the final track, the sweet sounds of organic expressions project like voices of survivors, emerging slowly in the dark. The pounding that crushes them, a reminder of the surrounding harshness, is held back by angelic voices. Hope always carries its own hint of sadness, as it exists in the absence of what is hoped for.
The music is rich in emotional content, and any fan of experimental music is likely to find solace in this release, which has felt very timely to review.
Scribed by: Goro Riffs