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Current 93 - I Am The Last Of All The Field That Fell (A Channel) CD (album) cover


Current 93


Prog Folk

4.02 | 13 ratings

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4 stars Released in 2014, Current 93's "I Am the Last of All the Field that Fell (A Channel)" is another of the many albums released by the project headed over by David Tibet. Tibet has really been the only constant with the project through the years. However, he has utilized a collective of several different musicians on his albums. This always helps bring more depth and variety to his music, which definitely benefits from the wide array of talent from these various musicians.

The music on this album, at first listen, may seem too much alike. However, the only thing that remains constant through the album is the piano interpretations of classically-trained Dutch pianist Reinier Van Houdt. Every one of the tracks feature his piano which is even more prevalent than Tibet himself, though he is there a lot also with his unique speak-sing style. On this album, his vocals are less melodious, however and more tuneless, but not quite just plain spoken word either.

Those things are the only constants on this album. Beginning with "The Invisible Church", the piano chords are quite dissonant, and this is the case through the entire track. To help bring in more sound and depth, Bobbie Watson's (from Comus) lovely soprano vocals sing along as Tibet's monotone-like voice continues along. Then John Zorn brings along his sax to give even more of a layer of chaos to the track. This is the first time Zorn has guested on any of Current 93's albums, but it was a given that he would eventually appear in this discography. At the same time, we get the addition of a cello, acoustic guitar and drums as it all continues. "Those Flowers Grew" becomes less dissonant and less chaotic, but retains Zorn's sax, but is also a little less interesting, however you can hear how Tibet's use of inflection and urgency directs the instruments to increase or decrease in intensity even as the piano continues to drive the track along as it does throughout the album.

In various points of the album, there is a recitative called "Truth is One" read by another guest to provide a few breaks from Tibet's signature vocalizations. "Kings and Things" is a more quiet, yet sometimes quietly chaotic, track and utilizes Bobbie Watson again, which is something you wish would occur more often on the album as it helps to soften the sometimes brashness of Tibet's vocals. This is what you can expect through most of this album but with some extreme differences at times. This is the case with the heavy guitar outbursts that work almost like thunder blasts contrasting the persistent piano and soft flute on "The Heart Full of Eyes" and the track that nears extreme music on "And Onto PickNickMagick". There is also the very surprising turn on the almost accessible pop-beat and instrumentation on "I Remember the Berlin Boys" which almost sounds like an attempt at a radio-friendly single, even with Tibet's vocals. Another great surprise is the jazz-influenced sounds of "Spring Sand Spent Larks" which sees the return of Zorn's sax.

To also help in the variety department, Tibet brings along a few other friends to take over lead vocals on a couple of tracks. Antony Hegarty (from Antony & the Johnsons) utilizes his more melodic, yet unique style on the lovely "Mourned Winter Then" which also utilizes some deep, monastic wordless vocals that give the song even more depth. Also, Nick Cave comes in for lead vocals on the last track "I Could Not Shift the Shadow" where his deep vocals sound right at home with Tibet's lyrics and the shimmering harmonizations of some background vocalists. A very lovely Ziorn sax solo that plays under the piano riff at the end of this track finishes off the album.

As with most of Current 93's albums, the taste for Tibet's music is an acquired one. His subjects for lyrics are quite deeply entrenched in his religious beliefs and ends up being way over the heads of many listeners. However, there is a lot of beauty and variety in this album and that is one of Tibet's strengths, knowing (for the most part) what musicians will match the atmosphere he is trying to create from each track. It doesn't always work on this album, but it does work more often than not. Those that love the sometimes strange and unusual sounds of Neo-folk mixed with experimental progressive music will find a lot to love here.

TCat | 4/5 |


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