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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Folk definition

In the wake of the 60's, a Folk revival started on both sides of the Atlantic, and got quickly linked with a protest movement, not always, but often linked to more left-wing tendencies, which did not sit well with the authorities. BOB DYLAN, JOAN BAEZ, WOODY GUTHRIE, JOHN DENVER, BUFFY STE-MARIE, but also the FARINA couple Richard and Mimi for the US and SHIRLEY COLLINS and EWAN McCOLL (mentor of BERT JANSCH, JOHN RENBOURN ) for the UK and HUGUES AUFRAY in France. In Quebec, there was the "Chansoniers" phenomenon among which CLAUDE LEVEILLE and FELIX LECLERC were the most popular, waking up the sleepy "Belle Province" and stand up for itself from the English rule. The English part of Canada also brought up JONI MITCHELL, LEONARD COHEN (although he was from Montreal) and NEIL YOUNG.

As DYLAN turned electric with his Highway 61 Revisited album, much to the dislike of purists who yelled for treason, Folk Rock was born, opening the floodgates for younger artists to turn on the electricity. As DYLAN soon abandoned to style to create Country Rock with his next album, his British equivalent Scotsman DONOVAN stayed true to Folk Rock. In the US, THE BYRDS were the main promoters of the style by now, culminating with the superb "Eight Miles High" track with a lengthy (for the times) guitar solo of almost one minute. But countless other bands on the west coast, such as LOVE, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (and later its spin-off HOT TUNA), GRATEFUL DEAD, QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, and TIM BUCKLEY all started in the folk rock realm. Even San Fran's SANTANA with its Latino traditional music and, on the east coast, NY's THE LOVING SPOONFUL had folk roots. Notwithstanding the immense popularity of SIMON & GARFUNKEL and their delicious harmonies, Folk Rock was appealing only to the rock public as the older generations turned their backs in folkies.

In the UK, following on their countrymen DONOVAN, many Scotsmen were very influent in exploring new grounds for folk rock: INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (led by Scots Palmer and Williamson) with their two highly influential albums "5000 Layers Or The Spirit Of The Onion" & "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" and THE PENTANGLE (led by other Scots Renbourn, Jansch and McShee and their superb bassist Danny Thompson) and its incredible fusion of folk, blues and jazz style were very instrumental in developing the style to the same extent as FAIRPORT CONVENTION and THE STRAWBS who by that time were still more conventional US "west-coast folk rock". The single artistes in folk rock became known as Folk Troubadours were also numerous and often presented a more progressive side of folk: AL STEWART, NICK DRAKE, ROY HARPER, TYRANOSAURUS REX (actually a duo of Steven Took and Marc Bolan) , JOHN MARTYN etc.

However, the real angular album that will lead to further change of Folk Rock is FAIRPORT CONVENTION's "Liege & Lief" album, that proved to be highly influential for another generation of groups: this album concentrated into electrifying seminal English traditional folk and retained that quaint Englishness taste. It is interesting to see that both leaders of FAIRPORT quit the band after this success to go their respective way: Sandy Denny to a solo folk songwriting career and Ashley Hutchings to a very traditional folk rock. By this time, most connoisseur were talking of Acid Folk, Psych Folk, and Progressive Folk, all having limited differences and no particularly drawn-out limits or boundaries, but all relying on experimental or groundbreaking adventures and good musicianship but not necessarily of an acoustic nature.

Groups like THE THIRD EAR BAND and QUINTESSENCE relied on eastern Indian music influences and, sometimes, medieval tones. Other groups like the weird COMUS, THE TREES, SPIROGYRA, FOREST, the superb JAN DUKES DE GREY (all listed in the ProgArchives) but also TRADER HORNE, TUDOR LODGE, FOTHERINGAY, MAGNA CARTA, TIR NA NOG (all of whom could also be in the ProgArchives) were out to break new ground but with less commercial success as their predecessor. By 1972, all of the glorious precursors bands were selling fewer records and had problems renewing themselves and a newer generation of groups was relying in a more Celtic jigs or really traditional sounds. Such as HORSLIPS, DANDO SHAFT, STEELEYE SPAN, AMAZING BLONDEL, ALBION DANCE BAND and SPRIGUNS OF TOLGUS. Although JETHRO TULL had some definitive folk roots right from the start, their only albums that can be regarded as Prog Folk are 77's Songs From The Woods and 78's Heavy Horses. Ian Anderson (another Scots) was very keen in acoustical traditional songs. Some Folk Troubadours such as TIM BUCKLEY and JOHN MARTYN started turning records more and more axed towards fusing jazz and folk (a bit in what THE PENTANGLE were doing) , others became more and more electric and they started to be referred to as Singer Songwriters especially those with country rock influences.

In Germany, HOELDERLIN (and their fantastic debut album), EMTIDI, OUGENWEIDE, CAROL OF HARVEST, WITTHEUSER & WESTRUPP were exploring German folk while KALACAKRA , SILOAH and EMBRYO were indulging with Indian music. In South America, most notably in Chile, LOS JAIVAS (very bent upon Andean Indian music) and EL CONGRESSO (more Spanish-Latino folklore) were using folk in their rock, so much that some press talked about them referring it with the hateful term Inca Rock. In Quebec, the progressive movement exploded with the cultural identity and the Chansoniers tradition and this was carried out with LES SEGUIN and HARMONIUM and so many more. In France, many groups were out for folk rock such as RIBEIRO ALPS, TANGERINE, and ASGARD. In Spain, Flamenco playing a dominant role as well as Basque folk, TRIANA, ITOIZ and HAIZEA were the head of the movement once the Franco regime fell apart after his death.


There is also a very important medieval music influences dimension in some groups as the term Medieval Folk was also mentioned for a while but apparently dropped by musicologists. Among the UK groups are obviously GRYPHON, GENTLE GIANT and THIRD EAR BAND, in France: MALICORNE and RIPAILLE and in Scandinavia: ALGARNAS TRADGARD and FOLQUE.


Hugues Chantraine

Current Team as of January 1, 2015

Bob Moore aka ClemofNazareth
Ken Levine aka Kenethlevine
Sean Trane

Prog Folk Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Prog Folk | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.63 | 2841 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.33 | 2198 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.17 | 1190 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.21 | 272 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.14 | 465 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.13 | 519 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.15 | 275 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.18 | 186 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.34 | 63 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.18 | 169 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.14 | 268 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.47 | 33 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.05 | 1040 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.07 | 259 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.14 | 113 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.15 | 102 ratings
BASKET OF LIGHT
Pentangle, The
4.02 | 969 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.14 | 101 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.02 | 1234 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.01 | 1007 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Prog Folk experts team

GUSLIAR
Pesniary (Pesnyary)
THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell of Incense
A CANDLE FOR JUDITH
Way We Live, The
FRESH MAGGOTS
Fresh Maggots

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Finale by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Live, 2016
4.91 | 2 ratings

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Finale
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars Saving the best for last.

Finale is a live album that consists of the original folk/jazz/bues rock pioneering Pentangle members, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Terry Cox, Danny Thompson and Jacqui McShee, that was recorded during a summer reunion tour in 2008, but not released until this year. Guitarists Jansch and Renbourn have now both, sadly, passed away. Finale is a fitting memorial to their fine artistry, which seemed to have shone the brightest when the two were in the company of the afore noted drummer, double bassist and lead vocalist, respectively.

Having won a Life Achievement Award by BBC Radio 2 in 2007, the original Pentangle members finally put long standing differences, both artistic and personal, aside in order to celebrate their music and their long time fans, with a series of stellar performances that were expertly captured for prosperity. The recording were aided by state of art mobile digital recording techniques that were further enhanced by Jansch selecting the best song performances and mixing them, while Renbourn aided in their mastering.

The result is some of the best sounding Pentangle recordings to date, be they live or studio. The low resonances reproduced by Danny Thompson's propulsive playing was merely hinted at on any of the group's first six studio albums, while Terry Cox's drums finally sound real and dynamic instead the thin cardboard box bashing that came across on the band's early releases.

Only Jacqui McShee sounds just a bit thin on these recordings, but her delivery is still strong, if just a bit measured.

And what of the two guitar heroes? Well, Renbourn plays with an authority that was only suggested at back in the day, and, if it can be believed, plays better then he did forty five years earlier, and that includes some wonderful sitar playing on two tracks. Jansch mostly ceded the guitar honors to Renbourn, as he was too busy singing lead on about a third of the songs. Yes, he's still had a wonderfully strong voice at that time and it doesn't sound as if had aged a single day. But don't fret. He exchanges red hot guitar notes with Renbourn on the instrumental "In Time", just like in the days of yore.

However, to dwell on the individual band members defeats the purpose of this fine album. Its the chemistry that was generated anytime these powerhouse musicians were in earshot of each one another that is to be enjoyed and celebrated. The jazz inflections and solos from Thompson and Cox, the fluid guitar lines of Renbourn, Jansch's percussive finger picking and world weary baritone, and of course, McShee's cooing bluesy siren calls which were often contrasted by her near angelic traditional folk song delivery.

I could be bemoan the absence of stalwart songs like "Way Behind The Sun" form the group's eponymous debut album, or "Train Song" form the Basket Of Light album. However, that's only because so much of their early collective output was so outstanding that fifty of their songs seem like essentials. What more can a reviewer say then that?

If you only own one Pentangle album, it should be Finale. If you own most of their output, then this album is icing on a very delicious and rich musical cake. Simpy put, it's an essential album artistically, sonically and, most of all for those who were initiated into Pentangle long ago, emotionally.

 Repetitions of the Old City - I by JACK O' THE CLOCK album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.58 | 8 ratings

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Repetitions of the Old City - I
Jack O' The Clock Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars

JACK 'O THE CLOCK Repetitions of the Old City - I

I really liked 2013's All My Friends but it showed signs of the band not firing on all cylinders yet--not everyone seemed able to rise up to composer Damon Waitkus' expectations. I'm glad to report that, while this is, sadly, only the second Jack O' The Clock album I've listened to, immaturity and scattered energy are no longer at issue: the band is performing Damon's compositions seemlessly, flawlessly, and Damon's composition and production skills are at his most masterful high.

1. "I Am So Glad To Meet You" (1:37) Damon Waitkus singing multiple tracks in his unusual, warbly, ANDY GIBB-like voice over an atmospheric echoscape. (7.5/10)

2. "The Old Man And The Table Saw" (10:30) a refreshing prog folk composition that sounds like no one else, proclaims (or reconfirms) that Jack O' The Clock is unique to folk and progressive rock music. (9/10)

3. "When The Door Opens, It Opens On Everything" (12:08) opens with a very folk/bluegrass-sounding acoustic guitar intro. At 1:15 the music shifts to a kind of AARON COPELAND/EDGAR MEYER sound in support of Daimon's vocal. Kate McLaughlin's bassoon plays a nicely prominent role in this one. Stellar performances by all band members in this mesmerizing composition. I even hear echoes of some of the sounds, melodies, and dueling of John McLaughlin's SHAKTI music ("Get Down and Sruti" from Natural Elements) on this one. (9.5/10)

4. "Epistemology / Even Keel" (5:45) opens sounding far more like an old WEATHER REPORT or JONI MITCHELL soundscape. But then all that dissipates in lieu of Daimon's nursery rhyme-like vocal. Not quite a cappela, it is supported rather sparsely with bird- and animal-like sounds created by acoustic instruments. The second half ("Even Keel"?) uses an electric jazz guitar and acoustic guitar to provide the foundational support for Daimon's voice. Double bass, shrill violin chirping, bassoon and flute provide occasional and intermittent accents and support. I like this song a lot. It's certainly a top three song. (9.5/10)

5. ".22, Or Denny Takes One For The Team" (6:58) opens as if we are getting to unleash a high-speed Celtic reel, but when dulcimer, electric bass and drums enter to support and mirror the established lead melody of the violin, it feels more rock like. At 1:30 everything shifts into a dreamy MARK ISHAM-like section. Violin and cymbal play support the baseball reference section as sung by Daimon and his support chorus. A lot of FLEET FOXES similarities in this middle section. I like it very much. The story here feels very dream-like, as if imagination (and time) is toying with the recollection of some past memory. My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

6. "Videos Of The Dead" (7:21) opens with bass and low tom thumping a slow, straight 2/2 time while the guitar of prog legend Fred Frith slide over and between. While the time signature gradually shifts, and the song develops, it is still fairly sparse and simple when Daimon's simple vocal begins. At 2:50 things become heavier, more insistent as first the low end and then the middle of the soundscape fills a bit. Flute solos in the fourth and fifth minutes while the song shifts and other instruments snake around beneath. When Daimon returns to sing at the end of the fifth minute, a full Nu-grass kind of jam is mounting an assault beneath him. then, suddenly, at the 5:40 mark, order is restored just when I thought (and hoped) that wild chaos was about to break open. Awesome, even amazing song. My other top three song. (9.5/10)

7. "Whiteout" (2:28) a foundation of odd sounds (including synths, zithers, bass clarinet, bowed double bass, and what sounds like a backwards flowing solo electric guitar throughout) supports the slow, treated play of a hammered dulcimer. (9/10)

8. "Fighting The Doughboy" (13:42) starts out with a bit of an odd, gangly plod-and-hop sound that might have come off of a MAHAHIVSHNU ORCHESTRA or JEAN-LUC PONTY rehearsal during the 1970s. By the end of the second minute it's feeling more like a UNIVERS ZERO song. But then lyrics/vocals appear. At 4:30 the song suddenly steps into a straightforward rhythm--but only for about half a minute, when it returns to the syncopated UZed sound, style and pacing. Horns, violin, vibes, and bassoon are all quite prominent. At 6:30 another foray into straightdom provides a section with some interesting background vocal activities and harmonies--and even a lead vocal from a different male (Jason Hoops?). At 8:20 a kind of calypso foundation begins over which SHANKAR-like violin melody leads before a flanged Daimon Waitkus vocal slowly emerges (and continues moving into the foreground--with accompanying vocalists). At 10:30 new section begins with a sound that is reminiscent of some of JONI MITCHELL's jazzy-world music from the mid 1970s. Voice samples from the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. are interwoven among the Dixieland party that ensues--and plays out to the song's end. Intriguing song! High marks for creative originality. (9/10)

9. "After The Dive" (3:38) a very cool, unusual song with great, delicate performances from all--and a nice vocal from Daimon. (9/10)

A masterpiece of prog folk and progressive rock music. This band is maturing, gelling into one of the most compelling masters of the modern prog scene.

 Live - Bursting Out by JETHRO TULL album cover Live, 1978
4.16 | 357 ratings

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Live - Bursting Out
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars As much success as JETHRO TULL had releasing one huge successful album after another throughout the 1970s, it wasn't until 1978 that they put out their first official live release in the form of the double album BURSTING OUT which would only come out after the release and tour of their eleventh studio album "Heavy Horses". As a result of waiting so long the playlist is quite the sampling of the band's entire canon up to the point that this particular live release only contains two tracks from that album. The performances are from the European segment of their tour although the individual tracks remain uncredited for any specific venues so it's likely that instead of an accurate representation of any given night, this is sort of a compilation of the best tracks of the lot and then were compiled and tidied up for this special 93 minute and 31 second celebration of their energetic live performances as an offering to those who were unable to attend their fantastic fun filled folk rock parties in the flesh. As with many albums of the period, this one happens to be one of those that was released differently across the pond having one double album release in the UK originally and once released on CD in the US omitted three tracks ("Quatrain," "Sweet Dream," "Conundrum.") in order to be cheap and throw it all on one disc. This has since been corrected with newer double CD versions retaining the original song listing.

BURSTING OUT begins the festivities with a welcoming introduction in a few European languages before the band members jump right into action on the hard rockin' "No Lullaby" which serves as a sort of warm up practice where they improv around the basic melody on their instruments before Ian Anderson finally kicks in his poetic singing bearded bard persona with his unmistakable vocal signature and then never lets up for the entirety of the double album. BURSTING OUT jumps all over the place as far as representation of their career is concerned. While it does begin with a "Heavy Horses" track, it jumps into the past with the non-album single "Sweet Dream" all the way back from the "Stand Up" days and then into the unavailable anywhere else track "Jack In The Green." The album continues cranking a track or two from almost every album except for "This Was" and "A Passion Play." There is even an outstanding performance of "Thick As A Brick" although it is wisely edited it down to a manageable 12 and a half minutes but nonetheless a power display of their majesty and their ability to pull off all their studio antics in a live setting.

While the band pretty much play together in cooperative and intricate symbiosis there are moments where the occasion allows the performers strut their stuff as when Anderson dishes out a beautifully compelling flute solo on the "Bourée" Medley and Barriemore Barlow is allowed to demonstrate his drums and glockenspiel talents that wouldn't be appropriate on the studio recordings. The band generally play together quite organically and sound on top of their game which at this time they were. This album could also be considered the last of the good old days since shortly after this release, bassist John Glascock would quickly deteriorate from a congenital heart defect, leave the band and pass away only a year later. The band's popularity would begin to wane after BURSTING OUT although they would continue on in new uncharted folk rock directions and never really wash out. Despite the release of BURSTING OUT, JT would not overindulge in the release in a flood of live albums and it wouldn't be until 1990 that they released another live offering in the form of "LIve At Hammersmith '84." Luckily there have been quite a few stellar JT live offerings since then but this is the best of the lot and one of the most important live recordings of their 70s appearances.

 High Plateaux (as Rubaja and Hernandez) by RUBAJA, BERNARDO album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.00 | 1 ratings

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High Plateaux (as Rubaja and Hernandez)
Bernardo Rubaja Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Produced by Mark Isham at more or less the commercial peak for the new age genre and its flagship Windham Hill label, "High Plateaux" is something of a different entity. While Windham Hill did tend to focus on solo or duo work, most of it represented a somewhat homogenized Americanized representation of the spiritual search, devoid of any aspect that might offer clues as to the inner nature of the artists. Fans purported to reject of the vapidity of this golden economic era while accumulating all its toys and trappings as enthusiastically as any population before or since. Rubaja and Hernandez hailed from Latin cultures or countries, and were not shy about expressing that connection. It is true that at times they submit to Osterization on this instrumental offering, but fine writing, playing and arranging emerge with sufficient regularity to save this one from ignominy.

As expected, pan flutes are a common part of the mellow blend, and they more than once can't help but suggest "El Condor Pasa" for better or worse, but both of these gentlemen play a variety of keys, chiefly pianos and synthesizers, and Isham's brass contributions add profundity to almost every track, played more for atmospherics than as lead instruments. Harp, acoustic guitar and more traditional charango also weave in and out of the highly visual soundscape. Even the titles conjure nature, color, and fantasy, from the absolutely stunning opener "Puerto Del Sol" to the noble "Indian Woman", the hypnotic "Icebird" and the reflective "Child's Dream". The rhythm section is more than capable and always tasteful.

This may not be the most challenging of albums, but don't let that new age label put you off. In "High Plateaux", sadly the only combined effort by these two gentlemen, we have a first class instrumental prog folk album that is quite on another plain.

 Out Of The Coma by COMUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 103 ratings

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Out Of The Coma
Comus Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars The acid folk (death folk?) cult favorites reappear to pay homage to their longtime fans with three new songs, along with a rare never officially recorded opus that points the way to what could have been.

After regrouping for a Swedish festival in 2008, the original members of Comus decided to a issue this postcard to fans in 2012. Minus original woodwind player, Lindsay Cooper, the group compiled the three studio tracks piecemeal, with the basic tracks on Out Of The Coma recorded in the UK and Colin Pearson's violin overdubbed in Berlin. Additional guitar parts were overdubbed in yet another UK studio by Glenn Goring. This, I believe, is why these songs, "Out of the Coma", "The Sacrifice" and "Return", as welcome as they are, lack the organic spontaneity of the material (recorded live) found on the band's seminal debut album First Utterance from 1971. While all perform admirably, Goring's failure to produce warped demonic slides and hypnotic Bert Jansch styled finger picking, which was so prevalent on First Utterance, is definitely missed. Roger Wootton's vocals have not improved with age, which I suppose is a good thing for this material, but female vocalist Bobbie Watson's eerie soprano has and she's a revelation on this material, as well on the long lost copy of a live performance of the band's intended follow up suite song/album to First Utterance tilted "The Malgaard Suite."

Recorded on a cassette tape in 1972 (according to the liner notes), "The Malgaard Suite" is a greater leap by bounds over anything recorded on First Utterance. Poorly recorded due to the source equipment and medium, it is a fantastic blend of malevolent progressive folk music with a heavy emphasis on operatic singing and song arrangements, that quite frankly, makes "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen sound like a pop song. Running over fifteen minutes, Watson is the star of this piece with her ear shattering soprano singing and classical sounding scat vocals that easily give Annie Haslam a run for her money. Roger Wootton is able to shadow Watson without sounding sour and indeed gives much of the evil overtones to the music about a stalking midlevel ogre named Malgaard who's out to capture and have his way with a maiden of his fancy. Pearson's violin adds much to the eastern European "Transylvanian" vibe that's perfectly complemented by Cooper's spooky bassoon.

Much of what is sung is indecipherable, but like listening to an opera in a an unfamiliar language, this works to the song's advantage, and gives it a romantic edge seldom found in much of prog music. And frankly, "The Malgaard Suite", even in it's warts and all recorded condition, is some of the best prog music that I've had the pleasure to hear in the last forty five years.

It leaves one to ponder what a sympathetic record company could have done with the proposed two sided album long suite had not commercial concerns intervened and eventually forced the band to split up prior to the side two conclusion from ever being played after it was written, let alone recorded.

A must have album of prog? Hardly, but it's a must have for fans of Comus' cult classic debut album.

 I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: A Channel by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 7 ratings

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I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: A Channel
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ever since Michael Cashmore left the nimbus of musicians around David Tibet we call Current 93, the project's sound has drifted in the most fascinating manner. The last major release featuring Cashmore, Black Ships Ate the Sky, was a summary and capstone to the particular neofolk sound which had come to dominate their work during the Cashmore era, but was then followed up by excursions into doomy psychedelic rock and a reconfiguration of their neofolk sound which took in more recent trends in indie folk.

Now, believe it or not, on I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell the project goes folk-jazz. Inviting none other than John Zorn to provide jazzy saxophone contributions which really take the album out into territory hitherto never visited under the Current 93 umbrella. Excellent choices are made in guest vocalists too, with Anohni providing an achingly beautiful lead vocal on Mourned Winter Then and Nick Cave bringing proceedings to a magnificent close on I Could Not Shift the Shadow. It is, in short, another successful experiment which proves that there's life in the old project yet.

 Baalstorm, Sing Omega by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Baalstorm, Sing Omega
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The third part of the trilogy that began with Black Ships Ate the Sky and continued through Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain returns to neofolk after the second album's diversion into psychedelic rock, but it's a rather different flavour of folk this time around, possibly because of the absence of Michael Cashmore who had been such a major presence from the early 1990s onwards in Current 93's folk-oriented works. A little more threadbare, a little more countrified, a little more keen on gentle harmony, pieces like Tanks of Flies in particular could pass as indie folk in the Iron and Wine sort of vein. An interesting stylistic shift.
 Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The second part of the trilogy that began with Black Ships At the Sky shifts startling away from the restatement of Current 93's neofolk sound on that album. David Tibet had collaborated before this on an EP with Om, a doom metal duo comprising former members of Sleep, and their influence seems to have spilled over here; this is not quite "Current 93 go stoner doom", but the sound here is louder and heavier and rooted more in psychedelic rock with noise rock influences than in their typical neofolk territory.

This is the project's first album for quite a while without Michael Cashmore onboard, which may explain the shift in style; of course, Current 93 has always been David Tibet and whoever he gets to play with him, but this time around it's a very unusual Current 93, with familiar faces like Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapledon rubbing shoulders with unlikely visitors like Andrew W.K. and porn star Sasha Grey, who is sneakily quite a keen industrial music fan.

The connecting thread, of course, through all of Current 93's works is David Tibet's idiosyncratic poetry, and by adding doomy psychedelia to his sound here he once again offers a fresh new light on his work. A real late-career surprise.

 And When Rome Falls by CURRENT 93 album cover Live, 2012
2.05 | 3 ratings

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And When Rome Falls
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This captures a live set performed, as the title implies, in Rome in late 2005 - shortly before the release of the Black Ships At the Sky album. Unfortunately, it's a rather flawed recording, sounding more like a rather good-quality audience tape rather than a recording direct from the sound board - David Tibet's vocals, in particular, suffer quite badly from this, and as a result it's a rather inferior live release, especially disappointing given that by this point their live albums had become true treats. The Birdsong In the Empire live album, though it is marred by a few audio issues of its own, comes from the same year and is miles better than this.
 Birdsong in the Empire by CURRENT 93 album cover Live, 2007
3.82 | 3 ratings

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Birdsong in the Empire
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a live set from Current 93's June 2005 visit to Canada - a return engagement following the previous year's gigs as recorded on How I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon. The set list is largely reconfigured this time, however, thanks in part to David Tibet and his collaborators (including special guest Bonnie "Prince" Billy) gearing up to bring together the project's landmark studio album of the mid-2000s, Black Ships At the Sky. The raucous version of the title track from here makes you feel like the Black Ships truly have come to consume our universe.

It's a very good live set, though unfortunately David Tibet's microphone cuts out at points, marring what would have been an excellent collection.

Data cached

Prog Folk bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
0.720 ALEACION Mexico
3 DAFT MONKEYS United Kingdom
AALTO Finland
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL Lebanon
ACCOLADE United Kingdom
ACCOLADE United States
ADARO Germany
AFFORESTED United Kingdom
AFION Croatia
AGAPE Canada
AGINCOURT United Kingdom
AIGUES VIVES Germany
AKTUALA Italy
NICU ALIFANTIS Romania
ALMÔNDEGAS Brazil
ALVA Multi-National
AMANITA Italy
AMAROK Spain
AMAZING BLONDEL United Kingdom
AMBER United Kingdom
AN DRO Germany
ANACRUSA Argentina
IAN ANDERSON United Kingdom
THE ANGELS OF LIGHT United States
ANNAMY Sweden
APARECIDOS Multi-National
AQUAPLAN Finland
AQUARIUM Russia
DAN AR BRAZ France
MARCO ANTONIO ARAUJO Brazil
DAN ARBORISE United Kingdom
THE ARBORISTS Canada
ARIA PALEA Italy
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