David Tibet's project, Current 93,
that often employed Nurse With Wound's Steve Stapleton,
Coil's John Balance and/or 23 Skidoo's Fritz Haaman,
centered on lugubrious ceremonies.
Nature Unveiled (1984), the quintessence of Tibet's black masses,
fusing mantra and Gregorian invocations, "unveiled" an ode to eternal suffering,
a terrifying fresco of the Universal Judgement. His experiments on the human
voice peaked with Dogs Blood Rising (1985), another sonic puzzle aimed at creating sinister atmospheres.
Tibet's new course was announced by Imperium (1987), a suite of sepulchral elegies imbued of themes from medieval Christianity, set to the usual sound of hell, and embellished with instruments of the Renaissance.
This bard of apocalyptic
folk ballads that were not particularly musical until Island (1991)
reversed direction and adopted slick and moving arrangements.
David Tibet's pagan acoustic folk (reminiscent of the Incredible String Band),
that hardly related to his beginnings, would become a genre in its own.
David Tibet was perhaps the macabre priest of the most imposing occult rituals
in the history of rock music.
A member of Nurse With Wound and of
Psychic TV, in 1982 he founded
Current 93, a collective inspired to
guru Aleister Crowley's
ceremonies of sexual magic
("The 93rd Current" is the definition of the
His main collaborators were
( Nurse With Wound ,
John Balance (Coil), and Fritz Haaman
The suites compiled on the cassette
Live At Bar Maldoror (Laylah, 1983)
costitute an early sinister peak of Current 93's satanic saga.
The 19-minute Alone Into The Alone keeps mixing and remixing
infernal screaming and thundering electronics,
distorted and reverbed through galactic space,
occasionally reminiscent of
Diamanda Galas and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
The 23-minute Only Shadows Of Hooks is a darker and more static piece
that pivots around a loop of monk-like vocals.
At the same time Current 93 released the EP
Ekki Er Allt Gull and the cassette of his friend
The EP Lashtal (Laylah, 1983), dedicated to the experiments that
Crawley performed in Sicily, was a sort of ideological manifesto.
Nature Unveiled (Laylah, 1984) is the quintessential black mass
of Current 93, an album that would remain a reference standard for the future
of esoteric music.
The 25-minute Ach Golgota opens with a monk choir and then rapidly
dissolves into warped spacetime. Tibet coins an electronic music for
otherworldly voices in which electronic dissonance fuses mantra-like,
Gregorian-like and theatrical invocations.
The 20-minute The Mystical Body Of Christ In Chorazaim opens with
symphonic and choral music. Here the voices accumulate and prevail over
the invocations, and the sense of the electronic poem is
a macabre journey through a hell overflowing with damned souls,
These two lengthy pieces constitute an infernal hymn to the Anti-Christ, to
universal perdition and to a sacrilegeous apocalypse;
an ode to eternal grief; a musical fresco of the universal judgment.
Tibet further delved into vocal experimentation on
Dogs Blood Rising (Laylah, 1985).
Christus Christus is another vortex a` la
Diamanda Galas, while
the 15-minute Falling Back In Fields Of Rape uses musique concrete
as a counterpoint to Tibet's expressionist kammerspiel.
The infernal liturgy ventures into the dark and angst-filled caverns of
the 14-minute Raio No Terrasu (the peak of pathos), evoking
a population of damned, priests, demons and prophets and children, all of them
deformed and disfigured by the reverbs and the electronic noise.
Tibet also recorded concerts under the moniker Dogs Blood Order, as
documented on 93 Presents Dogs Blood Order (Durtro, 1997).
David Tibet e` il tetro sacerdote dei piu` imponenti
rituali di occultismo e misticismo della storia del rock.
Membro dei Nurse With Wound e degli
Psychic TV, nel 1982 ha fondato i
Current 93, un collettivo che si ispira ai cerimoniali di magia sessuale
del guru Aleister Crowley ("The 93rd Current" e` la definizione
della religione Thelema).
I principali partecipanti sono
( Nurse With Wound ,
John Balance (Coil), e Fritz Haaman
Le suite Alone Into Alone e Only Shadows Of Hooks, sulla
Live At Bar Maldoror (Laylah, 1983),
costituiscono un primo sinistro vertice della saga satanica dei Current 93.
Nello stesso periodo uscirono il 12" Ekki Er Allt Gull e la cassetta
dell'amico Tiny Tim.
L'EP Lashtal (Laylah, 1983), dedicato agli esperimeni di magia
sessuale che Crawley compi` in Sicilia, funse da manifesto ideologico.
Tibet esegui` alcuni concerti con il nome Dogs Blood Order, le cui registrazioni
vedranno la luce su Current 93 Presents Dogs Blood Order (Durtro, 1997).
Nature Unveiled (Laylah, 1984) e` la quintessenza della messa nera dei
Current 93, un disco che stabilisce uno standard di riferimento per tutto
il rock esoterico del futuro.
The Mystical Body Of Christ In Chorazaim e soprattutto
compongono un inno
infernale all'Anti-Cristo, alla perdizione universale e all'apocalisse
sacrilega, una sinfonia per voci d'oltretomba che fonde invocazioni
mantra e gregoriane in un concentrato di perversione,
un macabro excursus in gironi infernali rigurgitanti di dannati,
un'ode al dolore eterno, un affresco spaventoso del Giudizio Universale.
Dogs Blood Rising (Laylah, 1985), forte di uno sperimentalismo
canoro ancor piu` pronunciato,
affonda senza reticenze nelle catacombe della musica occulta. Il cerimoniale
si sgretola in un lugubre magma di voci filtrate e di rumori elettronici,
squarciato da improvvise esplosioni di violenza alla Diamanda Galas.
La liturgia infernale procede per quadri "horror" di inaudita ferocia e
malvagita`: nei vortici buii e angosciosi di
Falling Back In Fields Of Rape e soprattutto di Raio No Terrasu
rivolvono dannati, sacerdoti, demoni, profeti e bambini, tutti deformati e
sfigurati dai riverberi e dalle alternanze dell'elettronica.
Tibet e` il principale animatore dell'elettronica "nera".
Fra tante ingenuita` sensazionaliste, a lui si deve la scoperta
dell'elettronica come idioma dell'occulto.
The arrangements became luxuriant, and less poignant, with
Killkillkilly, off the
EP Nightmare Culture (Layla, 1986), and with the two suites of
In Menstrual Night (United Dairies, 1986), basically a collaboration with
The cacophonous Sucking Up Souls has no music as such: just
operatic soprano, cryptic female prayers, children's nursery rhymes,
The percussive To Feed The Moon sounds like a child's remix of a
Talking Heads hit.
Dawn (Mimort, 1987) was a sterile summary of loop and collage
techniques. It includes an 18-minute version of
Maldoror Is Dead and a rather trivial
14-minute Great Black Time (a festival of church bells that is slowly
transformed into the extremely dissonant background for a girl singing
in a medieval style and for an old
Mamas & Papas hit).
A new phase de facto began with
Imperium (Maldoror, 1987),
a collection of sepulchral elegies recited against the usual noise-infernal
Imperium is a 22-minute hissed poem in four movements that is permeated
with the lugubrious themes of medieval Christianity and is decorated with
audio icons (flutes, lutes), of the Renaissance (first movement),
languid cosmic electronics (second movement),
distorted drones (third movement)
and just acoustic guitar (fourth movement).
There is very little to redeem the rest: the
ten-minute Locust wastes a synthetic disco beat;
the nine-minute Or only features some tenuous metallic keyboards and
sparse booming percussion;
and the seven-minute Alone only has a heartbeat of synthesizers.
The skeletal arrangements are too little to balance the verbose and un-musical
super-ego of Tibet.
The 1987-88 releases are confused and amateurish. The artist seems to be drunk with
his own doctrine while unable of articulate it in music.
Christ And The Pale Queens Mighty In Sorrow (Maldoror, 1988) included the
nine-minute recitation with piano
Forever Changing (one of the most tedious recitations of the era) and
The Ballad of the Pale Christ (a simple guitar-based folk rant).
David Tibel clearly overestimated the value of his lyrics. These lengthy
pieces were repetitive like medieval Inquisition torture. Their only reason
to exist was the lyrics.
The setting and the progress of the 20-minute Christ and the Pale Queens Mighty in Their Sorrow could be intriguing if it didn't last so long, because
this time Tibet's pointless recitation floats in a cloud of
otherworldly female voices while gentle electronic whistles battle
horrible industrial clangor.
The CD version includes the single with the ten-minute
Breath And Pain Of God (1988), a much more haunting piece:
subliminal electronic drones, distant nun-like singing, fluctuating bass lines,
bells and rattles,
The Mighty in Sorrow appended to the CD is merely an 18-minute
repetition of the same chord (over and over again).
Crowleymass (Layla) sounds like a sarcastic parody of the followers of
the prophet set to a cabaret-ish synth-pop style.
The blaspheme EP Happy Birthday Pigface Christus is released as a
Swastikas For Noddy (Laylah, 1987) completed the regression towards the
brief song format, despite the fact that the guests included
(Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, ex Psychic TV) and
Oh Coal Black Smith sounds like an amateurish imitation of Nick Cave's sermons.
Tibet wears the hat of the pub folksinger in
Black Flowers Please and Stair Song, boasting an emphasis to
rival David Peel's, a style that peaks with
the eight-minute demented singalong Beausoleil.
There is a lot more singing, and it is often inspired by religious chants of various
cultures (Benediction, Blessing, Panzer Rune).
La produzione si fa elefantiaca, e meno pregnante, con Killkillkilly,
sull'EP Nightmare Culture (Layla, 1986), e i mediocri e ripetitivi
In Menstrual Night (United Dairies, 1986), condizionato dalla
presenza dell'amico Steve Stapleton (spartito fra la
cacofonica Sucking Up Souls e la
percussiva To Feed The Moon)
Dawn (Mimort, 1987) fu uno sterile riepilogo delle tecniche di loop e
di collage, comprendente una versione di
Maldoror Is Dead e una meccanica
Great Black Time.
Una nuova fase ha infatti inizio con Imperium (Maldoror, 1987),
una raccolta di elegie sepolcrali recitate sul solito sfondo
rumoristico-infernale, un poema musicale in quattro movimenti
suggestionato dai temi lugubri del cristianesimo medievale e
immerso in climi da song elisabettiana, fra flauti e liuti, anche se ancora molto "sintetico".
Nel 1987 escono lavori confusi e approssimativi, in cui l'uomo sembra tanto
invasato della propria dottrina quanto incapace di articolarla musicalmente.
Il bizzarro album Christ And The Pale Queens Mighty In Sorrow (Maldoror)
e il singolo Breath And Pain Of God sono opere minori di una carriera
minore. Crowleymass (Layla, 1987) e` una sarcastica presa in giro dei seguaci del
profeta all'insegan di un synth-pop da cabaret.
L'EP blasfemo Happy Birthday Pigface Christus esce come strenna natalizia
alla fine dell'anno.
Swastikas For Noddy (Laylah, 1987)
completa l'involuzione verso la canzone normale di tre minuti, nonostante fra
gli ospiti si contino HoH (Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, ex Psychic TV) e Boyd Rice
Black Flowers Please,
Stair Song e Oh Coal Black Smith sono quelle che rimarranno in
Abandoning the horror overtones of his "industrial" phase, Tibet underwent
a cathartic process that harked back to the pagan roots of his land.
Earth Covers Earth (United Dairies, 1988 - Free Porcupine Society, 2005),
the second installment of Tibet's "apocalyptic folk", featuring the guitars of
Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) and Douglas P (Death In June), as well as
the occasional vocals of Rose MacDowell,
conjured folk-rock ballads sung as if the end of the world was rapidly
Rome for Douglas P,
Hourglass for Diana (yet another recitation with guitar and violin,
that the violin crescendo almost makes listenable),
and especially the oneiric Earth Covers Earth.
The CD version adds
She Is Dead And All Fall Down, another amazingly static litany,
The Blue Gates Of Death - Before And Beyond Them, whose main
accompaniment is a girl's singalong,
and the fearful 20-minute musique-concrete poem The Dreammoves Of The Sleeping King (finally some action),
The two works of apocalyptic folk bridged the (apparently dramatic) gap between the exoteric
commune of the 1980s and the hippy commune of the 1960s
(foremost among them, the Incredible String Band),
and, musically, bridged the gap between electronic industrial music
of the 1980s and chamber folk music of the 1960s.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Claudia Parma) |
armonie a tinte fortissime della sua “fase” industriale, Tibet subì un processo
catartico che lo ricatapultò alle radici pagane della sua terra. Il mini-album Earth
Covers Earth (United Dairies, 1988 – Free Porcupine Society, 2005), seconda
parte della saga “folk apocalittica” di Tibet, che vanta le collaborazioni alla
chitarra di Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) e Douglas P. (Death in June) e
occasionalmente alla voce di Rose MacDowell, evocava nelle ballate folk-rock
una fine del mondo quantomai prossima (She Is Dead And All Fall Down,
Hourglass, il singolo Horsey). Questi due lavori riempirono il vuoto
(apparentemente incolmabile) fra la comune esoterica degli anni 80 e quella
hippy degli anni 60 (al centro l’Incredibile String Band) e musicalmente
abbatté ciò che separava la musica elettronica industriale degli anni 80 da quella cameristica folk degli anni 60.
Now that they moved away from the magical atmospheres of the early days,
Current 93 were little more than the vehicle for the acoustic pagan folk of
David Tibet, with the music mostly composed by
Michael Cashmore of Nature And Organisation.
After a hiatus of three years, nonetheless filled with bootlegs, compilations
and live albums,
in 1991 Tibet increased the number of Scandinavian collaborators (besides HoH)
on Island (United Diaries, 1991), a euphoric endorsement of mainstream
production methods that Tibet attempted to wed with his dreamy folk music.
The fusion of tribal drumming, floating strings and interlocking female chants
evoked a marriage of Peter Gabriel and
The hypnotic and lulling The Dream Of A Shadow Of Smoke boasts a tinkling
arrangement from which an elegant female choir soars (possibly the most
melodic moment of his career).
The delicate neoclassical madrigal Fields Of Rape boasts pure
suspense and ecstasy (possibly the most touching moment of his career).
The shimmering keyboards, plantive violin and the multitracked voices of
Oh Merry-Go-Round pen a moving requiem.
Tibet's theater sounds far more assured and gripping here:
he recites his visions
in the glacial dissonant soundscape of Lament For My Suzanne,
amid the emphatic orchestral and choral sounds of Passing Horses
over the agonizing drones and rumbles of Anyway People Die,
over the polyrhythmic tribal beats and minimalist keyboards of The Fall Of Christopher Robin.
Then out of the blue Tibet jumps on a disco stage for the seven-minute
Crowleymass Unveiled, which belongs to synth-pop of the 1980s,
and even launches in the exotic lounge dance of Paperback Honey.
By the end of the album, Tibet has become a real bard, not just a (mediocre)
actor: Fields Of Rape and Oh Merry-Go-Round rank with the best
songs of any genre in that year.
Thunder Perfect Mind (Durtro, 1992 - Jnana, 2005), featuring
Stapleton but not HoH,
and beginning the collaboration with Michael Cashmore of Nature And Organisation,
contains humbler tunes inspired by ancient styles:
the medieval-inspired The Descent Of Long Satan And Babylon,
the baroque and dancing A Song For Douglas After He's Dead,
the gentle ancestral A Sadness Song,
the angelic polka-like When The May Rain Comes.
Some of them are now "too" humble: Tibet sings (as opposed to reciting) but
there is too little to sustain the atmosphere (just acoustic guitar and a few
seconds of orchestral instruments).
The bard is anthemic in In The Heart Of The Wood And What I Found There,
one of the shortest songs and probably the best.
He returns to his demonic pub-inspired recitation only in the nine-minute
All The Stars Are Dead Now (overlong and verbose like its
predecessors of previous years).
The 16-minute Hitler As Kalki for guitar, violin and flute ideally
belongs to another album: a raga-folk-jazz-rock jam that blurs the border
between Neil Young and
It's A Beautiful Day.
The lyrics shy away from the extreme occultism of Current 93's beginnings
and reach out for a confused Christian heretic ideology but ultimately
a more positive vision of the world.
Emblems (Durtro, 1993) is a career anthology.
Tibet gave a follow-up to Thunder with
Of Ruine Or Some Blazing Starre (Durtro, 1994), but this one is dominated
by elegies that have no singing and virtually no music development, just
tedious recitation against a backdrop of faux Renaissance music
(Steven And I In The Field Of Stars,
the seven-minute The Teeth Of The Winds Of The Sea).
A denser arrangement and a hint of chanting surface in
Moonlight You Will Say and
The Great, Bloody And Bruised Veil Of The World
but it's way too little.
At the other end of the spectrum,
the seven-minute The Cloud Of Unknowing virtually abolishes the
accompaniment, leaving only a trace of droning electronics and tinkling
Lucifer Over London (Durtro, 1994) was the first work to betray a
bit of anger and passion, while returning to infernal themes.
The Fire of the Mind (Durtro, 1994) is soundtrack music for
James Low's recitations.
The mini-album Where The Long Shadows Fall (Durtro, 1995), containing
the haunting 19-minute Where The Long Shadows Fall for looped female
chants and sparse guitar chords
(ruined by Tibet's usual recitation),
was the beginning of the trilogy of Inmost Light.
Its second part was the album
All The Pretty Little Horses (Durtro, 1996), that
leveraged his confused career by bringing together his experience with both
avantgarde music and chamber folk music, with
Michael Cashmore composing most of the music.
All The Pretty Little Horsies and The Bloodbells Chime
basically offer a more evocative and touching
version of the spoken-word elegies of Of Ruine.
The street folksinger resurfaces briefly in This Carnival Is Dead And Gone.
Unfortunately, the eight-minute The Frolic is more of Of Ruine's
Only the eight-minute Twilight Twilight Nihil Nihil abandons all
pretensions and delves into a demonic whirlwind of droning noise and
A zenith of pathos is achieved in
the nine-minute The Inmost Light Itself that substitutes musique concrete
(mainly a collage of children's voices) for the Renaissance music of Ruine,
and whose finale is truly harrowing (the children are enveloped and taken away by
a wind of otherworldly chants).
The mediocre mini-album The Starres Are Marching Sadly Home (Durtro, 1996) closed the trilogy.
The triple-CD Inmost Light Trilogy (Jnana, 2006) collects the
entire trilogy: Where The Long Shadows Fall,
All The Pretty Little Horses,
The Starres Are Marching Sadly Home.
Lontani dalle morbose atmosfere magiche dei primi tempi, i Current 93 di questi
anni sono semplicemente il veicolo espressivo per il folk pagano acustico di David Tibet.
Dopo uno iato di tre anni, peraltro fitti di bootleg, antologie e album dal vivo,
nel 1991 Tibet aumenta il numero di collaboratori scandinavi (oltre a HoH) e registra
Island (United Diaries, 1991),
un euforico revival dei metodi di produzione della psichedelia degli anni '60,
che Tibet tenta di sposare al suo trasognato canzoniere
(The Dream Of A Shadow Of Smoke e Lament For My Suzanne).
La lunga suite psichedelica Hitler As Kalki su
Thunder Perfect Mind (Durtro, 1992 - Jnana, 2005),
apre cosi` una nuova stagione.
Con Stapleton e senza HoH, Tibet indovina due delle sue
A Song For Douglas After He's Dead e All The Stars Are Dead Now.
E` un improvviso cambiamento di rotta nella carriera incostante di questo
confuso personaggio che si presenta sempre piu` come il trait d'union fra
l'Incredible String Band e i Legendary Pink Dots.
Emblems (Durtro, 1993) e` un'antologia curata da Stapleton.
La lunga e monotona cerimonia pubblica di Tibet prosegue con
Of Ruine Or Some Blazing Starre (Durtro, 1994), fedele seguito di
Thunder, e con il minialbum
Lucifer Over London (Durtro, 1994),
il primo a tradire un minimo di rabbia e
passione e a tornare ai temi infernali.
The Fire of the Mind (Durtro, 1994) e` invece la musica di sottofondo
per le recite di tale James Low.
Come se non bastasse, con il mini-album Where The Long Shadows
Fall (Durtro, 1995) ha inizio la trilogia di
continuata da All The Pretty Little Horses (Durtro, 1996),
che e` una delle opere piu` compiute della maturita`, o
perlomeno quella in cui Tibet mette a frutto tanto i suoi trascorsi nella
musica d'avanguardia quanto la sua stagione di folksinger
la paurosa Twilight Twilight Nihil Nihil,
The Inmost Light Itself).
Il mini-album The Starres Are Marching Sadly Home (Durtro, 1996)
conclude la trilogia in tono minore.
The triple-CD Inmost Light Trilogy (Jnana, 2006) collects the
entire trilogy: Where The Long Shadows Fall,
All The Pretty Little Horses,
The Starres Are Marching Sadly Home.
In A Foreign Town In A Foreign Land (Durtro, 1997) is the soundtrack
for the lyrics of Thomas Ligotti. The four extended pieces display Tibet's
most subliminal skills.
Tibet has become a sophisticated chansonnier and proves his subtlety first on
the EP A Gothic Love Song (Durtro, 1998) and then on the album
Soft Black Stars (Durtro, 1998), a cycle of piano lieder (mostly
spoken-word) accompanied by strings and winds, perhaps his most minimal work.
The author of the music was actually long-time collaborator
Calling For Vanished Faces (Durtro, 1999) is a double-disc career
Sleep Has His House (Durtro, 2000) includes
Tibet's tribute to his late father,
the requiem Sleep Has His House, which is just 24 minutes of
tragic drones, looped over and over again, with some dejected mumbling by
Alas, the rest of the collection is devoted to Tibet's favorite format:
monotonous (and often pompous) spoken-word art with Renaissance-style accompaniment.
The only piece worth mentioning is the
eight-minute The Magical Bird In The Magical Woods because of its
surreal instrumental coda.
(To prove the sincerity of his grief, Tibet released the album as
a limited-edition, super-expensive, colored-vynil collectors' version...)
Tibet finally returned to the malefic grandeur of Nature Unveiled
with his soundtrack for the Faust (Durtro, 2000).
The 36-minute piece is basically a two-part collage of electronically-treated
voices, a welcome change from Tibet's tedious recitations.
No Renaissance music, no rhythm, just voices floating weight-less in space.
The single I Have a Special Plan for This World (2000) contains the 22-minute I Have a Special Plan for This World and the 19-minute Excerpts from Bungalow Tapes, and, again, seems to long for the dark-ambient
phase of Current 93.
Tibet summarized his career with a gigantic collage of all of the Current 93
albums, The Great In The Small (Durtro, 2001), certainly a first
(albeit a grotesque one) in the history of music.
Tibet almost died in the summer of 2000 and
Bright Yellow Moon (Durtro, 2001), officially
a collaboration between Current 93 and
Nurse With Wound,
was meant to be the "soundtrack" of that experience.
Stapleton's hell seems to prevail over Tibet's purgatory
in expressinistic collages like Mothering Sunday (possibly the standout)
while Tibet pours his heart in the lunar ballads
Nichts, Butterfly Drops and Walking Like Shadow.
The collaboration is most awe-inspiring in the solemn requiem
Disintegrate Blur 36 Page 03 (17 minutes), but the album overflows with
filler and half-baked ideas.
Tibet's apocalyptic folk is a bit of a jinx: as soon as he begins strumming
his guitar and uttering pretentious (and terribly banal) lyrics in his drowsy
(and terribly limited) voice, you know that the fun is over.
All Dolled Up and Cats Drunk On Copper are live albums.
In A Foreign Town In A Foreign Land (Durtro, 1997)
is basically the soundtrack to a novella by horror writer Thomas Ligotti
and marks a return to the bleak noise of early Current 93 albums.
The 40-minute suite Ares And Telos appeared on a split album with
Nurse With Wound (Durtro, 2002).
A Little Menstrual Night Music (United Durtro, 2003) is a remix of In Menstrual Night.
Halo (Durtro, 2004) is a live album.
How He Loved The Moon (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2005)
was introduced as a tribute to
Coil's John Balance, although it simply contains
four remixes of In Menstrual Night.
How I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon (Durtro Jhana, 2005) documents
Judas As Black Moth (Castle, 2005) is a double-disc anthology of the
"chamber" decade 1995-2004.
The first truly serious album by Current 93 since 2000,
Black Ships Ate The Sky (Durtro, 2006) is built around eight versions
of Charles Wesley's hymn Idumea (1763), each delivered by a different
(Cosey Fanni Tutti,
Marc Almond, etc).
Tibet's arrangements employ guitar (Michael Cashmore, Ben Chasny),
cello (John Contreras), viola (William Breeze), harp, piano (Antony),
harmonium and electronic keyboards; a display of lush orchestration not
witnessed since the early 1990s.
Marc Almond's Idum is reminiscent of spiritual songs,
Will Oldham's Idum sounds like a requiem (almost a cappella), etc.
The other songs of this sprawling album introduce quite a bit of variety.
The apocalyptic tone of Tibet's sermons is diluted effectively in the
psychedelic crescendo of Black Ships In The Sky,
in the tragic ceremonial music of This Autistic Imperium Is Nihil Reich
(one of the few occasions in which his passion for Renaissance music paid off),
in the quasi-metal maelstrom of Black Ships Ate The Sky (totally
inusual in his career).
It swings like a ghost trapped in an intermediate dimension between the
charming eden of
Bind Your Tortoise Mouth and the noisy purgatory of Vauvauvau (Black Ships in their Harbours).
The EP Inerrant Rays Of Infallible Sun (Neurot, 2006 - Durtro, 2006) is
a split with stoner-metal group Om.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Claudia Parma) |
In a Foreign
Town In a Foreign Land (Durtro, 1997) fa da colonna
sonora alla penna di Thomas Ligotti. I quattro brani mostrano le abilità più
segrete di Tibet.
chansonnier sofisticato e mostra la sua sagacia prima nell’EP A Gothic Love
Song (Durtro, 1998) e successivamente nell’album Soft Black Star
(Durtro, 1998), pianoforte e lieder (per lo più parlate), accompagnate da corde
e fiati, probabilmente il suo lavoro più minimale. L’autore delle musiche è il
collaboratore effettivo più collaudato Michael Cashmore dei Nature and
Vanished Faces (Durtro, 1999) è un doppio cd,
antologia dell’intera carriera dei Current 93.
Sleep Has His
House (Durtro, 2000) include il tributo che Tibet
rende al padre nel requiem di 23 minuti Sleep Has His House. La
suite registra in realtà apici di commozione ma sarebbe stata più toccante
anche concentrata in un quarto della sua durata. Pure il folk acustico ha i
suoi limiti. Per comprovare la sincerità del proprio dolore, Tibet fa uscire
l’album in edizione limitata, costosissima, in versione vinile ipercolorata da
Tibet torna infine
all’onnipotenza malefica di Nature Unveiled nella colonna sonora per Faust (Durtro,
Tibet tira le somme
della sua carriera nell’immenso collage di tutti gli album dei Current 93, The
Great In The Small (Durtro, 2001), certamente primo esempio (sebbene
grottesco) nella storia della musica.
Tibet quasi ci lasciò la pelle e Bright Yellow Moon (Durtro, 2001),
ufficialmente collaborazione fra Current 93 e Nurse With Wound, volle essere
“scenario” di quell’esperienza. L’inferno di Stapleton sembra prevalere sul
purgatorio di Tibet in collages espressionisti, quali Mothering Sunday
(forse il pezzo forte) mentre Tibet riversa la propria essenza nelle ballate
lunari Nichts, Butterfly Drops e Walking Like Shadow. La
sacralità reverenziale della collaborazione si esprime tutta nel requiem Disintegrate
Blur 36 Page 03 (17 minuti), ma l’album trabocca di idee stucchevoli e
apocalittico di Tibet ha il vago sapore del portatore di sventure: non appena
accenna alla chitarra brani pretenziosi (e terribilmente banali) con voce
soporifera (e alquanto stentata), in quel momento si sa che la festa è finita.
All Dolled Up e Cats Drunk On Copper sono album registrati live.
In A Foreign
Town In A Foreign Land (Durtro, 1997) fa da sfondo
alle pagine di letteratura horror di Thomas Ligotti e determina un ritorno al
rumorismo desolato di inizio carriera dei Current 93.
La suite di 40
minuti Ares And Telos appare nello split realizzato con i Nurse With
Wound (Durtro, 2002).
A Little Menstrual Night Music (United Durtro, 2003) è un remix di
In Menstrual Night.
Halo (Durtro, 2004) è un live.
How He Loved The
Moon (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2005) venne presentato come
tributo a John Balance dei Coil, sebbene contenga semplicemente quattro remix
di In Menstrual Night.
Il doppio cd How
I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon (Durtro Jhana, 2005) documenta performances
Judas As Black Moth
(Castle, 2005) è un’antologia in doppio cd del decennio “cameristico”
Il primo album
serio dei Current 93 dopo il 2000, Black Ship Ate The Sky (Durtro,
2006), è costruito attorno a otto differenti versioni dell’inno “Idumea” (1763)
di Charles Wesley, ciascuna interpretata da una voce diversa (Cosey Fanni
Tutti, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Anthony, Shirley Collins, Marc Almond, etc…). Gli
arrangiamenti di Tibet contemplano chitarra (Michael Cashmore, Ben Chasny),
violoncello (John Contreras), viola (William Breeze), arpa, pianoforte
(Anthony), harmonium e tastiere, esempio di sontuosa orchestrazione che non si
vedeva sin dai primi anni 90.
apocalittico dei sermoni di Tibet è diluito nel maelstrom quasi metal
Black Ship Ate The Sky. Il fantasma è intrappolato in uno spazio
intermedio fra l’eden meraviglioso di Blind Your Tortoise Mouth ed il
purgatorio di suoni di Vauvauvau.
Rays of Infallibile Sun (Neurot, 2006 – Durtro, 2006) è uno split con gli
Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain (Dutro, 2009) represented
a sudden incursion
into rock music by a musician who had rarely displayed any appreciation for
the history of the genre. Flanked by an army of collaborators
Rickie Lee Jones,
Matt Sweeney, harpist Baby Dee), Tibet metamorphed into a rocker.
The influence of Black Ship Ate The Sky is evident on the thundering
eight-minute Invocation Of Almost
the ten-minute Not Because The Fox Barks,
and the eight-minute On Docetic Mountain (although the latter merely
replaced Renaissance music with heavy-metal guitars but retained the tedious
recitation of Of Ruine).
Alas, he is no Lou Reed and no
Baalstorm Sing Omega (Coptic Cat, 2010),
The third part of the trilogy that began with Black Ships Ate the Sky,
features Eliot Bates (oud, erbane and daf), James Blackshaw (12-string, slide and electric guitars, glockenspiel and voice), John Contreras (cello), Baby Dee (piano and Hammond organ), Andrew Liles (guitar, bass and electronics), Alex Nielson (drums and percussion), and sounds like a collective meditation on religious themes.
It is perhaps more important who doesn't feature on this album: Cashmore, who
had been the main composer for almost 20 years.
The sound is completely different from its predecessor: instead of hard rock,
Current 93 returns to its pagan-folk phase, notably with the
mellow acid-folk lullaby Passenger Aleph in Name
agonizing neoclassical lied with strings I Dreamt I Was Aeon.
His stream of consciousness is rarely interesting. Moderate exceptions are
the more theatrical pieces, such as December 1971,
I Dance Narcoleptic (with fairground organ, circus drums, thunder and found voices),
and especially Baalstorm! Baalstorm!.
Haunted Waves Moving Graves (2010)
contains two childish sound collages:
the 37-minute She Is Naked Like The Water and
the 34-minute The Sound Of The Storm Was Spears.
His passion for ancient heretic Christian mythology permeated
Honeysuckle Aeons (Coptic Cat, 2011), a skeletal work a` la
Soft Black Stars that, unfortunately, focused mostly on Tibet's rants
and not enough on the (more intriguing) accompaniment of theremin (Armen Ra)
and piano/organ (Baby Dee).
Eliot Bates plays oud, bendir and erbane in
Cuckoo and Lily.
Michael Cashmore and Steven Stapleton were sorely missed.
His singing is a poor imitation of Comus' vocalist Roger Wootton, and
his spoken vocals are so overtly melodramatic to sound like self-parody.
Hypnagogue (2013) and My Name Is Nearly All That's Left (2014) are spoken-word albums.
I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell - A Channel double (Spheres, 2014) featured
These New Puritans'
Jack Barnett on organ,
on bass, Ossian Brown on hurdy-gurdy,
Nick Cave and
Antony on vocals,
Dutch classical pianist Reinier van Houdt on piano, Tony McPhee on guitar,
Comus' Jon Seagroatt on bass clarinet and flute,
Carl Stokes on percussion,
John Zorn on saxophone, etc.
Rarely as such an assortment of talents been wasted for the sake of
turning into music such rambling and monotonous recitation (not really singing).
At times, the awkward mix of instrumental accompaniment is so little cohesive to
suspect that it was recorded in different places at different times.
The Invisible Church has the quality of a late-night jazz lounge
and I Remember The Berlin Boys has the marching flavor of a smoky German cabaret of the 1920s.
The nine-minute Those Flowers Grew pares the crescendo of his declamation
with martial piano, drumming tension, distorted guitar, dissonant saxophone.
One wishes that Tibet would shut up so we could focus oin
the female backing vocals, anemic piano and guitar feedback
of Kings And Things, or on the piano work of
the bare With The Dromedaries,
or on the contrast between pastoral flute and gargantuan guitar in
The Heart Full Of Eyes.
The eight-minute And Onto PickNickMagick, designed as a
harrowing kammerspiel, is the worst offender, with little piano and guitar to
justify the endless narration.
Even Nick Cave's recitation in I Could Not Shift the Shadow gets in
the way of a subdued piano and saxophone duet.
When Antony Hegarty intones the Renaissance-style piano madrigal Mourned Winter Then, it feels like a breath of fresh air.
Tibet returned to the dark-ambient style of old Current 93 albums when he released an anthology of horror stories and composed a sort of soundtrack for it: The Moons at Your Door (2015) and then The Stars on Their Horsies (2018) are sound collages that wed musique concrete and ambient music.
Alasdair Roberts (Appendix Out),
Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance)
Michael York (bagpipes, whistle, duduk, bells),
(electric guitar and electronics),
Reinier Van Houdt (electric piano, synth and bass), Rita Knuistingh Neven (piano and organ) and Aloma Ruiz Boada (violin) helped Tibet to shape
The Light Is Leaving Us All (The Spheres, 2018), a collection of
simple songs of pagan folk, some inspired by
medieval dances (The Policeman Is Dead)
and some by Celtic folk (The Kettle's On).
In order to enjoy the hypnotic tinkling of xylophone of
30 Red Houses, we have to tolerate an endless amount of silly music.
As usual, there is too much recitation and too little music.
Mirror Emperor (2018) was a collaboration with Zu.
Tibet remixed some of Current 93 music to create the soundtrack to one of his art installations, Invocations of Almost (2019), another venture into dark ambient music.