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Current 93 - Untitled (with Michael Cashmore and Christoph Heemann) CD (album) cover

UNTITLED (WITH MICHAEL CASHMORE AND CHRISTOPH HEEMANN)

Current 93

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 2 ratings

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TCat
4 stars This is a collection of outtakes and alternative versions of music mostly from two Current 93 albums; 'All the Pretty Little Horses' and 'Soft Black Stars'. Three of the Current 93 tracks on here are from an unfinished album. The alternative versions from the first named album are mostly acoustic guitar and very folky, where the versions from the latter album are piano ballads. The Current 93 tracks are all sung by David Tibet using his speaking/sing-song style vocals.

There are also 3 tracks performed by Michael Cashmore and 2 from Christoph Heeman. These 5 tracks are based on other Current 93 songs.

It all starts off with 'An Introduction to Suffering' originally from 'Soft Black Stars', a solo piano prelude. The next three tracks are taken from 'All the Pretty Horses', beginning with the traditional lullaby 'All the Pretty Little Horses' which is a very nice rendition and Tibet's style does it complete justice making you hear this song unlike never before. 'Calling for Vanished Faces' is more complex and inaccessible, but also more progressive. Tibet's voice is a bit harder to digest here as he becomes a little intense. 'The Cat is Dead' has a combination of acoustic guitar and piano and Tibet's vocals are more melodic. It's a nice ballad.

Michael Cashmore then plays a short acoustic guitar solo, the first of his 'Untitled' pieces. It is very tranquil and nice. David Tibet then returns for the spoken word vocal of 'In an English Garden' with a subdued atmospheric background. This track is from the unfinished album. Then we have another short Cashmore interlude, the 2nd 'Untitled' piece. The order of these tracks make this into a nice little pastoral suite.

Next is Current 93's 'The Flower is RedRobed', another track from the unfinished album. This is another spoken word track of Tibet's take on poetry. The background music is more experimental this time around, but the recitation is a little emotion-less especially compared to the dissonant and abrasive background.

Michael Cashmore makes his last solo appearance on the album, but he still participates with the more ensemble style Current 93 tracks. This is his longest solo at over 5 minutes entitled 'A Silence Song, Silent'. It is Cashmore's rendition of a Current 93 track. This is mostly acoustic guitar but also fleshed out to include a melodic accordion, piano and chimes. This is followed by another unreleased, but very short Current 93 track 'Et In Arcadia Est'. Again, this is spoken word with electronic background textures.

Tibet continues, this time singing/speaking with a lovely solo piano accompaniment with the alternative version of 'Moonlight, or Other Dreams, or Other Fields' from 'Soft Black Stars'. This is followed by the 9 minute variation of 'Judas as Black Moth' also from the same album. Again, we have solo piano, which gives us a long, pensive introduction. Several minutes into the track, Tibet begins a spoken verse. The recitation is much better this time with more inflection, but it is rather dark with a strand of hope running through it.

After this, we close the album with the 2 Christoph Heeman tracks. First off is a 12 minute track 'Lazy Moon, Part I', which is an extended remix of sorts of Current 93's b-side 'Moon: Page 209, Twenty Two Eighteen Now'. It is an experimental track featuring an electronic drone and various field recordings and noises. The drone doesn't come in until a little over a minute and only has slight variations that you have to listen extra closely to hear. It intensifies very slowly, that you might not even notice, and deep down in the mix, you hear a lot of textures that are dissonant at times, and harmonic at others. Listen close and you can hear Tibet playing the Hurdy Gurdy. There is also a violin and an organ mixed in there. As it intensifies, it gets lower, almost sounding like an airplane drone as it flies overhead. The drone diminishes to almost nothing, with other electronic textures staying ambient. Then it intensifies again as the pitch lowers.

'Lazy Moon, Part II' fades in with drone elements from 'Soft Black Stars', field recordings and electronic textures. This has a more spacial feel to it with the echoing effects. You can hear an organ playing sustained notes with a slowly oscillating volume like you can hear it in the distance being carried by the breeze. It becomes quite ambient towards the end with some beautiful sounds and textures.

You get quite an eclectic collection of outtakes and alternative version in this set of tracks. Most of the album is acoustic and folk. But you get electronic treatments and experimentation too. Overall, it is quite pastoral and peaceful, but there are many unsettling moments in there also. I really enjoy the variation among the tracks, and the acoustic parts have enough change among the instruments, that it seldom becomes boring. Even though this is a hodgepodge of tracks, it actually feels like it all belongs together. It is defiantly better than 3 star material, though some may think the drones last too long, but if you really listen, there are a lot of layers and movement there. It's also a good mix of flavors from these artists, especially Current 93. I have no problem kicking this up to a 4 star rating.

TCat | 4/5 |

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