1 ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE We’d been disappointed by live music for a few years, so it was a shock to see Acid Mothers Temple live two times in New York this spring and witness them redefining psychedelic music. Like a group of crazed wizards, they spiritually entrance you.
2 DR. STRANGELY STRANGE, KIP OF THE SERENES (Island) and HEAVY PETTING (Vertigo) One of our favorite bands ever, these Irish pioneers of what is now called “acid folk” were very much in the air this year, as we seemed to hear the quirky, surrealist lyrics and groundbreaking structures of their earliest albums (from 1969 and 1970, respectively) everywhere.
3 TRENT REZNOR We were surprised to receive a very respectful e-mail from Trent Reznor earlier this year asking if we’d remix a song from Nine Inch Nails’s new album, Hesitation Marks (Columbia, 2013). Of course we said yes, and went about adding howler monkeys, Shiva serpent and Tibetan thighbone trumpets, and the voice of my “other half,” Lady Jaye. We were honored to sing with Trent on the chorus.
4 THELONIUS MONK QUARTET, COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO ALBUMS COLLECTION (Sony Legacy) In Paris, we watched a documentary about Thelonius Monk that screened after Marie Losier’s film portrait of Tony Conrad, and were stunned by Monk’s physicalityhow, prior to sitting at his piano, he would move in ways reminiscent of an ecstatic Yoruban dancer. Our old obsession with Monk’s work rekindled, we were so pleased to receive this box set as a gift.
5 CHRISTOPHER ANDERSEN, MICK: THE WILD LIFE AND MAD GENIUS OF JAGGER (Gallery Books) In 1963, the Rolling Stones released their first single, “Come On,” and we were instant fans. The Beatles we hated. We wanted rebellion that reinforced our cultural alienation. We bought the official Philip Norman bio-book, and dreary and heavily self-centered and self-censored it was. Then Andersen’s “unauthorized” Mick appeared this past year, filled with all the deviant sex, drugs, and scandals we always suspected.
6 THE SOUNDS OF AMERICAN DOOMSDAY CULTS (Faithways International) Every time we play the sounds of Elizabeth Clare Prophet and her Church Universal and Triumphant, we are thrilled by their weirdness. Prophet devised the most bizarre praying-in-tongues style we have ever heard! She claimed to be in contact with all the ascended “masters”Merlin, Hercules, Jesus, Buddha, the Archangel Michael. But it’s her list of evil “pop musicians” that has all our friends crying with laughter.
7 LEIGHA MASON, SPIT BANQUET (1:1 Gallery, New York, October 11, 2012) This was the year’s most superb live performance. At a table laid with silverware, silver bowls, etc., the “diners” spat onto their plates, scraping the drool around, clattering vessels as they mixed saliva. Though not intended as a sound piece, Spit Banquet was to us on par with a John Cage masterpiece.
8 HUGO ZUCCARELLI’S HOLOPHONICS This “3-D” sound technology causes the ear to tell the brain it is hearing live sound. A real human skull with latex skin and human hair called Ringo (which Paul McCartney tried unsuccessfully to buy) is the recording device. Psychic TV’s Dreams Less Sweet (Some Bizarre, 1983, rereleased by Angry Love Productions) remains the only fully Holophonic album.
9 HAWKWIND LIGHT ORCHESTRA In 1971, COUM Transmissions, our “action art” group, supported Hawkwind on tour. This year, Edward ODowd (of our current band, PTV3) reintroduced us to these space-rock masters. In November 2012, they put out Stellar Variations (Esoteric) and this past October they released Spacehawks (Eastworld), their most recent emission of acid fun.
10 ALLAN KAPROW, HOW TO MAKE A HAPPENING (Something Else Press/Primary Information) Recorded in 1966 and reissued in 2008, the spoken rules Kaprow gives on this album seem to have influenced every piece of live art we saw this year.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is a New York–based artist and musician. This past summer, s/he mounted a major career survey at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.