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CURRENT 93

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Current 93 picture
Current 93 biography
CURRENT 93 is a longstanding project of musician/artist David Michael Bunting (aka David Tibet, aka Tibet), a loose collective who record and perform an eclectic brand of music that has roots in folk but employs sounds that range from metal to post-rock to industrial to neofolk, with nuanced sounds that encompass everything in between.

Founder member David Tibet has been the only constant presence in the band since their inception and his lyrical themes and subject matter encompass a wide variety of esoteric interests including: Christian eschatology, Aleister Crowley (from whom he took the band's name), Christian mysticism, Tibetan Buddhism, the iconography of the swastika and various occult left hand path traditions.

The group's direction is primarily guided by Tibet, but the group has close ties to many other groups including the avant band NURSE WITH WOUND (Steven Stapleton has recorded and toured extensively with both bands), as well as DEATH IN JUNE whose leader Douglas Pearce regularly appears with band. Other bands associated with the group include SOL INVICTUS, COIL, CRASS, HH and FIRE+ICE.

Tibet's prolific body of work has attracted significant attention from musicians of all genres over the years, and the band's album include appearances from an very broad range of artists from the folk singer Shirley Collins to Nick Cave to Marc Almond to the porn star Sasha Grey.

CURRENT 93's music challenges definitions of nearly every subgenre of progressive rock, and their inclusion on the ProgArchives will undoubtedly lead to an expanded definition of the Prog Folk label.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) and ExittheLemming <<

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Buy CURRENT 93 Music


Baalstorm Sing OmegaBaalstorm Sing Omega
Coptic Cat 2010
Audio CD$5.01
$3.60 (used)
Honeysuckle AeonsHoneysuckle Aeons
Coptic Cat 2011
Audio CD$5.01
$10.50 (used)
When the May Rain ComesWhen the May Rain Comes
Rotorelief 2016
Audio CD$10.79
$10.78 (used)
Aleph at Hallucinatory MountainAleph at Hallucinatory Mountain
Coptic Cat 2009
Audio CD$5.01
$5.01 (used)
Thunder Perfect MindThunder Perfect Mind
Extra tracks
Durtro / Jnana 2005
Audio CD$24.02
$9.45 (used)
I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: ChanneI Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: Channe
Spheres 2014
Audio CD$13.79
Faust 200Faust 200
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$20.46
Live at Bar MaldororLive at Bar Maldoror
Durtro / Jnana 2012
Audio CD$13.78
$22.81 (used)
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CURRENT 93 The Red Face Of God 12" Maldoror Rec. MAL-088 UK 1988 VG++ RARE 0B USD $59.98 Buy It Now 5 days
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6 days
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CURRENT 93 discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CURRENT 93 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.28 | 10 ratings
Nature Unveiled
1984
3.82 | 12 ratings
Dogs Blood Rising
1984
1.50 | 2 ratings
Meet Their Waterloo as Aryan Aquarians
1987
3.00 | 5 ratings
Dawn
1987
3.17 | 6 ratings
Swastikas for Noddy
1988
3.89 | 8 ratings
Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God
1989
3.08 | 6 ratings
Island
1991
4.24 | 12 ratings
Thunder Perfect Mind
1992
4.11 | 9 ratings
Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre
1994
4.06 | 13 ratings
All the Pretty Little Horses
1996
3.50 | 4 ratings
In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land
1997
4.50 | 10 ratings
Soft Black Stars
1998
3.86 | 7 ratings
Sleep Has His House
2000
2.96 | 4 ratings
Faust
2000
1.33 | 3 ratings
The Great in the Small
2001
4.57 | 5 ratings
Bright Yellow Moon w/ Nurse with Wound
2001
2.00 | 1 ratings
Maldoror is Dead
2002
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Little Menstrual Night Music
2003
2.50 | 2 ratings
How He Loved the Moon (Moonsongs for Jhonn Balance)
2005
3.81 | 12 ratings
Black Ships Ate the Sky
2006
1.00 | 1 ratings
Black Ships Eat the Sky
2006
3.63 | 8 ratings
Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain
2009
1.00 | 1 ratings
Monohallucinatory Mountain
2009
4.00 | 6 ratings
Baalstorm, Sing Omega
2010
3.50 | 4 ratings
Honeysuckle ons
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
And When Rome Falls
2012
2.09 | 4 ratings
My Name Is Nearly All That's Left
2014
3.71 | 7 ratings
I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: A Channel
2014

CURRENT 93 Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
NL-Centrum Amsterdam w/Nurse with Wound
1985
3.00 | 4 ratings
Live at Bar Maldoror
1986
4.00 | 1 ratings
As the World Disappears...
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Frankfurt Sound Depot 24-03-1991 (with Death In June and Sol Invictus)
1992
3.50 | 2 ratings
Hitler as Kalki
1993
5.00 | 1 ratings
All Dolled Up Like Christ
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Cats Drunk on Copper
2001
1.50 | 2 ratings
Who is the Sufferer?
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Saint Olave's Church (with Antony And The Johnsons)
2002
4.33 | 3 ratings
Halo
2003
1.00 | 1 ratings
Live at the Teatro Ibrico, Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday 8 February 2003
2003
4.80 | 5 ratings
How I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Birdsong in the Empire
2007
1.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Hotel Island, Reykjavk, 11 February 1988 / Live at the 100 Club, London, 23 April 1985
2010
1.00 | 1 ratings
Aleph at Docetic Mountain
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Hotel Island, Reykjavik, 11 Febuary 1988
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Tokyo, 20/21 December 1988
2010
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live At Off Festival 2011, Katowice, Poland 4th August 2011
2011

CURRENT 93 Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Since Yesterday: A Peek into the Pit
1995
2.00 | 1 ratings
Black Ships Heat the Dancefloor
2008

CURRENT 93 Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 4 ratings
Christ and the Pale Queens Mighty in Sorrow
1988
4.33 | 3 ratings
Earth Covers Earth
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
Emblems
1993
4.00 | 4 ratings
Horsey
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
Calling for Vanished Faces
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Untitled (with Michael Cashmore and Christoph Heemann)
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
England's Hidden Reverse (with Nurse With Wound and Coil)
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
SixSixSix: SickSickSick
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Judas as Black Moth
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
I Am Black Ship
2006
5.00 | 5 ratings
The Inmost Light
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Current 93 Compilation Part I
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Current 93 Compilation Part II
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Like Swallowing Eclipses (Current 93 As Dreamt By Andrew Liles)
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Unreleased Rarities, Out-takes And Rehearsals Volume II 1991-1995
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Unreleased Rarities, Out-takes And Rehearsals Volume I 1984-1990
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Untitled
2014

CURRENT 93 Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Mi-Mort w/Nurse with Wound
1983
3.00 | 2 ratings
LAShTAL
1984
1.50 | 2 ratings
Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin' w/ Nurse with Wound
1984
3.50 | 2 ratings
No Hiding From The Blackbird / Burial Of The Stoned Sardine (with Nurse With Wound)
1984
3.50 | 2 ratings
In Menstrual Night
1985
2.67 | 3 ratings
Nightmare Culture w/Sickness of Snakes
1985
3.00 | 1 ratings
Dawn
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ekki Er Allt Gull, Sem Gloir... Skamt Er fganna Milli
1987
3.00 | 2 ratings
Crowleymass w/ HH
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Augenblick #5 w/Nurse with Wound
1988
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Red Face of God
1988
2.00 | 2 ratings
Faith's Favourites w/Nurse with Wound
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hourglass
1989
3.00 | 1 ratings
She is Dead and all Fall Down / God has Three Faces and Wood has no Name
1989
4.60 | 6 ratings
Imperium
1989
3.00 | 2 ratings
????! (with Nurse With Wound and Sol Invictus)
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
American Society / Broken Birds (with Randy California)
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Horse w/Nurse with Wound
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Summer of Love
1990
3.50 | 2 ratings
Looney Runes
1990
4.00 | 1 ratings
1888 w/Death in June
1991
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Nodding Folk
1993
4.80 | 5 ratings
Lucifer over London
1994
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Fire of the Mind
1994
4.50 | 2 ratings
Tamlin
1994
4.67 | 3 ratings
Where the Long Shadows Fall (BeforeTheInmostLight)
1994
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Starres are Marching Sadly Home (The InMostLight ThirdAndFinal)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
When the May Rain Comes
1996
5.00 | 2 ratings
Seven Seals (w/ Nature and Organization / Tiny Tim / Nurse With Wound)
1996
3.50 | 4 ratings
A Gothic Love Song
1998
3.50 | 2 ratings
Misery Farm
1999
4.87 | 4 ratings
I Have a Special Plan for this World
2000
4.00 | 1 ratings
Immortal Bird / Cripple And The Starfish (with Antony And The Johnsons)
2000
3.50 | 2 ratings
This Degenerate Little Town
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Music For The Horse Hospital / Sounds From The Horse Hospital (with Nurse With Wound)
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Calling For Vanished Faces I / Virgin Mary (with Antony And The Johnsons)
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Some Soft Black Stars Seen Over London
2003
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Seahorse Rears to Oblivion
2003
4.50 | 4 ratings
Hypnagogue
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Niemandswasser
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Courtyard / Jerusalem
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Time Of The Last Persecution / Black Flowers, Please
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ntnau Nhtp Mpr Ahenju Eukm Ouem Tpe
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dream of the Green Goddess
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Moonbird
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Deuteronomy XXXIII:14 / Joshua X:12
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Black Ships Ate the Sky Tour Single
2006
3.67 | 3 ratings
Inerrant Rays Of Infallible Sun (Blackship Shrinebuilder)
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
Black Ship In The Underworld (with Sebastian Horsley)
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
Black Ships Heat the Dancefloor
2007
4.50 | 6 ratings
Birth Canal Blues
2008
4.50 | 2 ratings
Haunted Waves, Moving Graves
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Drank Honeysuckle ons
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Suddenly The Living Are Dying
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
Passenger Aleph In Name
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
Purtle (with Nurse With Wound)
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Arose As Aleph, The Speller, The Killer
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Channel
2014

CURRENT 93 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nature Unveiled by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.28 | 10 ratings

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Nature Unveiled
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by buddyblueyes

4 stars Call a priest and pray whatever demon just entered your body can be exorcised!

I remember waking out of my sleep at night as a child. I was deep under the sheets and I made a slight peep hole out of the covers so just my one eye could see into the bedroom, pointed at the door where a ghastly nightlight hesitantly illuminated into my room ever-so-slightly. I stared deep at that light, quiet and alone waiting for the prospect of sleep. I shut my eyes, briefly hoping I could get carried off into some Neil Gaiman wonderland. After a few moments I knew sleep would not come so I opened my eyes. Staring back at me was an eyeball! It blinked once. That's all it took. I pulled the peep-hole down and slid my head under the pillow. I started shaking and sweating. This was my first experience I remember with deep, deep fear.

The second was watching The Exorcist in the basement of my parents house alone. They went off to enjoy a New Year's Eve Party. I had to stop the movie three times and call my friend to distract me from the utter fear I was feeling every time the priest got ready to enter that room.

Later, I grew to love the horror genre. A diet of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw, The Thing, The Hills Have Eyes, Fright Night, Night Of The Demons, Return Of The Living Dead and many classic horror movies of the 80's were consumed.

Current 93's Nature Unveiled is probably the scariest thing I've heard in music. Goblin's Suspiria is a distant second. Nature Unveiled probes undisciplined sonic exploration. Weird percussive sounds, strangely engineered pyschobabble, and haunting chaos is in abundance. It's a soundtrack for whatever masterpiece Dario Argento felt wasn't ready to be released into the world. Check it out at your own peril.

 Live at Bar Maldoror by CURRENT 93 album cover Live, 1986
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Live at Bar Maldoror
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There's no such place as 'Bar Maldoror'' and it's not live. These are in fact prototype recordings from 1983 from the 'Mi-Mort' session which would eventually morph and improve into the mighty 'Nature Unveiled' recording. More than likely it's an 'in the studio' recording, an early experiment laying foundations for greater things to come.

Annoyingly my 'Durtro' CD has scratchy old vinyl 'snap, crackle and pop' present. How on earth did we cope before the advent of the compact disc? No attempt has been made to remove surface noise. Yet, because of the nature of these sounds it doesn't detract too much.

'Live at Bar Maldoror' sounds like the tormented dead souls of people crying in frustration at being unable to die in peace. It's another of those Apocalyptic and eerie albums that Current 93 were masters at creating in the mid eighties. Dark, bleak and swirling in a thick Victorian fog. It's all very malevolent in that 'Gregorian Hell' vibe that they captured, like lightning in a bottle.

All sounds are loop-tastic swirling around like a whirling dervish where David Tibet spouts his demonic venom and vitriol on this first recorded release by his Current 93 moniker. It's really no wonder they never hit the big time. This is music for a very small audience, most of whom are going straight to hell.

400 years ago David Tibet would have been hung, drawn and quartered for such a blasphemous sound. No, seriously, King James the 1st would have had him on the torture rack stretching his little body to breaking point demanding confession.

It's all entertaining stuff though, despite the crumby recording quality. One of the two bonus tracks - 'Christ's First Howling' uses looped sounds from 'Nurse With Wound's' 'Homotopy to Marie'. That reverberating gong effect used so effectively on the aforementioned album. It's all a bit superfluous and unnecessary though.

Ah well, at least my copy has the ultra creepy pumpkin head painting on the sleeve.

Such a shame then that it's also another of those annoying CD's that was susceptible to disc rot - an oxygen decaying effect on the CD that afflicted many early 90's pressings from this label and sister labels NER (Death in June) and Normal (Coil). So watch out if you're buying a second hand copy. Mine has gold stains around the outer edges but still miraculously plays unhindered, unlike many others.

 Nature Unveiled by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.28 | 10 ratings

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Nature Unveiled
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is one seriously confrontational album from Current 93. Nothing at all like their later work. The fact the it's recorded on four track only adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere. It's also the the most frightening album I own... by a long shot. Only Schloss Tegal's 'Oranur III' comes anywhere close.

Right from the outset on 'Ach Golgotha', chanting monks are sonically torn apart by animalistic growls of anguish and the tape manipulated vocals of David Tibet. On this recording he sounds like he's been possessed by Satan himself. The inclusion of snippets of an Aleister Crowley mantra only adds to the sense of impending doom.

There's a chunky, chopped piano sound, played with massive delay that sounds like it belongs in a 'Hammer Horror' film. What really sees this album hit it's heights are the vocals. They are intensely treated through echo filters and create the most malevolent sounds I've yet heard, despite being recorded 31 years ago. This is due to the very odd and instantly recognisable vocal style of David Tibet. He of the apocalyptic biblical texts.

Another plus is the fact that none of 'Nature Unveiled' sounds rushed. There's space between sounds which only adds to the disorientating bleak atmosphere of this Satanic disaster-scape. The frequent electronic screeches put another layer on top of what is already an intense sound. This would have been the perfect soundtrack to a silent version of 'The Exorcist'. Chants are slowed down and sped up amongst the demented monks.

As far as tunes go, there ain't many. This one is a soundscape for tortured souls. There's a raw purity present that is sadly absent from most of Current 93's subsequent recordings. The cartoonish element is non existent. It's like they weren't even trying to sound 'dark' and 'spooky'. It just occurred naturally.

David Tibet takes a seat in the vocal department on 'The Mystical Body of Christ in Chorazaim'. Annie Anxiety takes centre stage and has her shot at scaring the pants off you. This track displays more screeching electronics and weird drills which are interwoven around her 'Diamanda Galas' like vocals. Mediaeval chants are looped amongst indeterminate and hugely stretched, shrieked voices. It's a challenging listen - even today.

To many this may sound like torture noise from the depths of hell. To me, it's one of my top ten albums of all time. Good old 'Throbbing Gristle' spawned more bands than they were ever credited for. Interestingly David Tibet was the name given to him by Genesis P. Orridge of said band. Without them, this would more than likely never have happened.

The bonus tracks whilst being relevant and extremely odd in themselves are of poor quality, particularly the last two tracks which are actually bootlegs. They don't come anywhere close to the overwhelming brilliance of the original album.

As with many bands - their first release is best. The follow-up 'Dog's Blood Rising' while excellent, lacks coherence. 'Nature Unveiled' is tightly structured, with a definite vision of the final product.

This is a very original and unnerving recording and is perfect listening for a dark foggy Halloween night. Played at high volume - you certainly won't have any pesky kids knocking at your door asking for monkey nuts. They would not dare.

The stuff of nightmares made flesh.

 Black Ships Ate the Sky by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.81 | 12 ratings

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Black Ships Ate the Sky
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by moodyxadi

4 stars Never a fan of folk music at all my knowledge about Curret 93 was restricted to works as Nature Unveiled and Dogs Blood Rising, terrifying opuses that really makes me feel frightened. The development of David Tibet's music over the years was very diverse finding its main focus on what we can call (with some restrictions) neofolk of British pedigree. This album is beautiful but still terrifying in a very different way than the others mentioned above. It's the most important thing on the genre that I have heard in the last ten years. You cannot really describe it and listening to fragments just don't help either; try to catch it the way you can and listen to the full piece while reading Rob Young's "Electric Eden" and you'll get a glimpse of the development of English folk music to its nineteenth century roots till today. Fascinating and essential for music lovers with a taste for adventure and brave enough to face his innermost fears. Prog? I don't think so but who cares? For me is a 5 star-album that gets only four because you can't call it prog in a proper way.
 My Name Is Nearly All That's Left by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.09 | 4 ratings

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My Name Is Nearly All That's Left
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

2 stars Mad Rambling Is Nearly All That's Left

I was expecting a deep pulsating void of stark black electronics and the apt David Tibet vocals to accompany such a thing. I wrap the cellophane from the album and proceed to whack it on my stereo. A vague tone of tape noise or something like a distant hint of a power-tool emerges and a ceremonial voice suddenly utters:

'I am the last of all the field that fell

The invisible church born in your mouth

Dreams pour into your condom'

"What?" I say, and listen even more intently as the following desolate observations are delivered in the best Edgar Allen Poe manner. The sort of cobwebs of the mind one often weaves in the wee hours of night, where black is black and every thought and imagery are solid dreams on this dark canvas.

That's how I imagine Tibet; lying in a dark damp studio made out of fog and old stones. He hasn't slept for days, and the darkness around him only heightens his senses - taking in all and everything without filter - spewing out horrible dreams from a poignant mind.

'Your children are my children'

That one really speaks to me, although it's followed by a train of sentences......perpetuating a dark lord Ginsberg in leather and black boots.

'Shall we - Can we execute?'

Perhaps, but let's leave it up to people with scores to settle.

'The sex of stars?'

I often wonder about that too.

'The salmon in high heels - the salamander in drag.....'

What were we talking about again? Oh yes the new Current 93 album 'My Name Is Nearly All That's Left'.....erm yeah well, this isn't so much an album as it is a spoken word performance akin to a dark preacherman's ramblings after a strange night of peyote and serrated thoughts. Let me put it this way: you'll be looking long and hard for any music on this baby! Hah! Churning elliptical drones is more like it. The voice towers everything.

Get this one if you're an English teacher looking for something wordy and poetic to scare the living daylights out of your first graders at Christmas. Get it if you're into stagnant universes - low calorie, low fat, low everything "music". Get it if you've always pondered what it would sound like had Bernard Marx decided to cut an album AFTER he'd lost his marbles. Get it if you're interested in things that others find repulsive. Get it and you're mad as moccasins.

 Island by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.08 | 6 ratings

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Island
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Frequently miserable and occasionally brilliant, 'Island' is quite unlike any other Current 93 album. This is mainly due to the fact that it is in fact a collaboration with with electronics whizz- kid Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson. The production values on 'Island' are far better than any of their previous releases. A young Bjork makes an early appearance which is a nice addition.

An ice cold recording that is less diabolical than it's satanic predecessors. At times it does get a bit silly and pretentious when you consider how overtly serious it sounds. The lyrics are, as usual, without hope - where man is destined to eternal damnation with no hope of re-birth. Portent of doom David Tibet makes sure of that with his willfully obfuscating lyrics.

Quite frankly, the whole album can be quite upsetting if you're not in the right mood for it. It could quite easily put you in a complete downer for the whole day. It did to me when I listened to this and 'Imperium' back to back whilst cycling to work a few weeks ago.

Thankfully there are one or two moments that, whilst not being upbeat, certainly enliven proceedings. 'Crowleymass' is the perfect Christmas carol for all anti-christs. Full of of references to Aleister Crowley and re-birth, it even has some electric guitars at work and is a good laugh to terrify employees at work with.

'The Fall of Christopher Robin' is a classy little tune which has excellent lyrics and is executed with real malevolence by Tibet. This sounds bizzarely like the early 'Human League' with lots of heavy electronics, although the vocals give it it's own definite identity. Clearly influenced by the German legend of Faust - it's all about a wee boy who basically sells his soul to Beelzebub.

What was almost a four star recording has to be trimmed back to three simply because the first half hour made me thoroughly suicidal. Sometimes 'Island' is beautiful but it is mostly depressing. I used to love this kind of stuff when I was younger, but now at 42 I find it quite hard to take. I guess it's just a sign of getting older. Bah!

 All the Pretty Little Horses by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.06 | 13 ratings

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All the Pretty Little Horses
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Imbuing nursery rhymes with sinister musical, vocal and lyrical overtones, CURRENT 93's "All the Pretty Horses" is about as viscerally disturbing as broadly defined folk music can get. It's as if SPIROGYRA and THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND were stripped of their tenuous sanity layer by layer. I understand this band goes back to the early 1980s but leader David Tibet, a pioneer of industrial pop at the time, only turned to twisted folk after meeting early English pioneer SHIRLEY COLLINS in the 1990s. The result was nothing like her work, yet could never have existed without her influence.

Against all odds, some of this is shimmering in its beauty, even as you over clutch the edge of your seat until the stuffing extrudes. In particular, the short pieces that comprise the bulk of the tracks combine hypnotic and minimalist melodies with heavily enunciated barely sung words and sonorous acoustic guitar. Apart from the lullabye "All the Pretty Horses", "The Bloodbells Chime" is almost pure acoustic bliss with innocent if creepy cliches, while "The Inmost Light" begins to insert dissonant voices that add to the growing sense of foreboding. "The Frolic" is a much longer track that is in the vein of the brief experiments, just successfully elasticized, and with a macabre closing. Then again, "The Inmost Night" might be where Tibet could ease off the throttle. It's all well and good to be privy to the ruminations of a disturbed mind, but dementia?

The two climactic "epics" veer sharply towards post rock, particularly "Twilight Twilight", which fails to engage for more than a third of its considerable duration, while "The Inmost Light Itself" represents a continuation of "Inmost Light" but with considerably more overt vitriol. The album ends with a reprise of the title track and the ambient "Patripassian".

Just like the music herein, the album deliberately lacks balance. It's one that invites, nay, demands, at least rudimentary pangs of interpretation. Regardless, it erodes prior set points for progressive folk. I won't get on my high horse here but I'm pretty sure this intriguing if mildly flawed effort deserves a roundup.

 Nature Unveiled by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.28 | 10 ratings

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Nature Unveiled
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by thellama73
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars For me, at least, religious horror has always been a special kind of terrifying. Films like The Omen and The Exorcist were always far more frightening than simpler tales of hook-handed serial killers or more aggressive than average sharks. The kind of existential fear that comes from the unknown and unknowable realm of gods and the afterlife, utilized so effectively by Lovecraft and his contemporaries, taps into a far deeper level of the human psyche than more the more immediate and comprehensible threats of bodily harm.

It is appropriate, then, for me to review one of Current 93's earliest efforts, a bleak and relentless patchwork of New Testament nightmares that could be described as an aural equivalent of the Book of Revelations. David Tibet, the creative force behind Current 93, has always had a fascination early Christianity and describes himself as a Gnostic, referring to the early sects of that religion that were shunned and quickly drummed out of existence by the Catholic Church in the first few centuries AD. Gnostic literature can get pretty wild, with a far greater penchant for the fantastic and otherworldly than the rest of the accepted Christian canon. Their somewhat darker outlook is perhaps understandable when one realizes that one of the central themes of Gnosticism is the idea of a wicked creator deity, the Demiurge (the Old Testament, vengeful God), who is separate from the pure and loving God of the New Testament.

With this little bit of backstory, we are at least a little more prepared for this noisy and disturbing record. A bed of sampled Gregorian chants floats eerily in the background, while discordant industrial noises clank and moan over them, punctuated by hellish growling and Tibet's strident vocals proclaiming that "Maldoror is dead" (a reference to Lautreamont's classic proto-surrealist, stream of consciousness novel that is itself quite unsettling.)

The album is broken up into two, side-long tracks, but it really sounds like a single piece of music. Tape manipulation stretches vocals out into deep bass groans. Christian themes are repeated throughout, with the title of side one referencing Golgotha, the place in which Christ was crucified. Although Nature Unveiled bears little resemblance musically to Current 93's later, folk-influenced work, thematically there is much in common, and the listener is always left feeling that the Apocalypse is just around the corner.

Towards the end of the album, the vocals fade away and are replaced by distant wailing and increasingly urgent sirens, a harbinger of imminent and inescapable doom. Then, suddenly, it's all over, the vision of the end of days complete.

Nature unveiled is a raw, powerful and extremely noisy record, and although Tibet and most of his collaborators drifted away from and ultimately rejected the "industrial" label, there is no doubt that this album remains one of the best and most effective examples of what industrial music was all about in the early eighties. Still, it will probably leave most people desperate to turn on all the lights and put on something a little more cheerful.

 Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.89 | 8 ratings

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Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by thellama73
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Current 93 is the name former Psychic TV member and all around weird guy David Tibet records under, assisted by whatever motley crew of UK underground musicians he can manage to round up that week, the most frequent of whom is Stephen Stapleton, of Nurse With Wound. This dark partnership has resulted in many, many fine albums, since both men are notoriously prolific and seem to have more than enough creativity to spill over onto guest appearances on other albums.

Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God is one such album in which Stapleton's presence in particularly felt. The whole thing is basically a remix/reworking of the 1987 album "Swastikas for Noddy" with some fresh recordings thrown in to liven the proceedings. The result is one of Current 93's most engaging records, that nicely bridges the gap between the band's violent, industrial past and its present tendency towards overly gentle folk meanderings. Tibet rambles on about his Gnostic faith enough to be interesting, but there also room for his other interests such as the sheer horrific creepiness of children's nursery rhymes and even a couple of cover tunes.

Tibet's voice is very unusual and his alternations between overly melodramatic whining (sometimes approaching outright crying) and gutteral growls take some getting used to, but if nothing else it's unique. Never fear though, there are a number of guest vocalists to round out the album, including John Balance (Coil) Rose MacDowell (Strawberry Switchblade) and the obligatory incomprehensible babbling of Boyd Rice (NON).

The tracks are mainly short and run the gamut of sounds from straight recitations with sound effects ("He Is Everywhere Nowhere") to traditional folk tunes with a sinister edge ("Oh Thou Coal Black Smith") to industrial stomp-rock ("Looney Runes") to nightmare inducing pastiches of music boxes and children singsonging lyrics about evil things that lurk in dark heart of the woods. There's even a Blue yster Cult (????) cover shoved in there!

For me, this is the Current 93 record that has everything: Beautiful melodies, religious themes, Halloween spookiness and most importantly a sense of surreal fun. Tibet has a tendency to be a rather serious chap, and it's a rare moment when he seems to be able to laugh at himself. Stapleton's sense of whimsy combined with Tibet's vision make Crooked Crosses a must have addition to any Current 93 collection.

 Dogs Blood Rising by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.82 | 12 ratings

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Dogs Blood Rising
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Black blood

Sounding unlike anything else in Current 93's discography, Dogs Blood Rising throws the listener into a nightmarish jagged edge soundtrack. I've heard a lot of people talking about evil music - albums that are supposed to be frightening, and most of the time what you encounter are melancholic droopy atmospheres which are as horrifying as a pack of black poodles. Woof!

This debut though will have you reaching for the light-switch in no time. I know, I've had several nightmares due to it. I often use music in the mornings to pull me out of bed - setting the timer on my stereo, and then slowly and comfortably awake to the soothing gentle touch of patterned sound. Having forgot about the cd changer in my old stereo system, this particular album sometimes acted as substitute for an alarm clock, although I wouldn't in a million years consciously dream of using it as such. No way in hell! The music had a ninja like way of sneaking into my dreams - terrorising and haunting me like an evil shadow you can't escape. Each time, I woke up completely soaked in sweat with flashing black dots in front of my eyes - desperately trying to remind myself about reality, life and sunshine.

The music itself is void of bass and guitars, which does conjure up a distinctive high pitched atmosphere, that evokes images of ancient bottomless Gothic churches with huge black holes in them that stretch all the way down to the place where demons and darkness dwell. Instead the sound spectrum is filled with strange embryonic tape loops, crashing cymbals, whispering witches on the wind and most importantly David Tibet's demonic vocals.

It's strange to think that this album just might be the most religion saturated one inside an enormous discography, yet at the same time fulfilling the role of being the single most devilish, evil and frightening of the lot. David Tibet sounds like a man who's personally spent a couple of weeks dangling on a cross with rusty nails through his wrists before laying down the vocal tracks. Imagine an absurd mix of Prodigy's Keith Flint and the utmost vile and rusty black metal screeching cobbled together into one bone-chilling affair - and you're not that far off. Somewhere between incantations and mad unchecked warnings from a religious hermit - you'll find this startling man. With a lyrical content that puts forth the horror and madness of the biblical texts, he illustrates what man has become in order to contain the animal side of him - though always lurking in the back of our minds like burning white embers.

Whether you choose to look at the cold and lifeless ambiance of the music, that more than anything resembles a soldier's march through fields of death and mud - or you face towards the raging vocals of Tibet - the counter-pointing effect of religion and fear, God and hell, man and animal, -is always there. Drawn like a fly to a wound, the feel of this record is the omnipresent soulless and bottomless pit. It's frightening yes - dissonant at times also, but aside from all of these less than sympathetic characteristics of Dogs Blood Rising, you have to give the band some respect for putting such a record out in the midst of the 80s. There was literally nothing out there that sounded remotely like this, and even today I struggle to find any other album that frightens me the way this one does. It is that scary. Feels like a long strange kiss from Vlad the Impaler, while sniffing in the smell of burning wild flowers.

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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