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Current 93

Prog Folk

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Current 93 Black Ships Ate The Sky album cover
4.29 | 19 ratings | 3 reviews | 37% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Idumęa (vocals: Marc Almond) (3:22)
2. Sunset (The Death Of Thumbelina) (3:18)
3. Black Ships In The Sky (3:38)
4. Then Kill Cęsar (3:58)
5. Idumęa (vocals: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) (2:42)
6. This Autistic Imperium Is Nihil Reich (4:03)
7. The Dissolution Of 'The Boat Millions Of Years' (3:57)
8. Idumęa (vocals: Baby Dee) (4:19)
9. Bind Your Tortoise Mouth (2:30)
10. Idumęa (vocals: Antony) (2:02)
11. Black Ships Seen Last Year South Of Heaven (4:07)
12. Abba Amma (Babylon Destroyer) (3:19)
13. Idumęa (vocals: Clodagh Simonds) (2:35)
14. Black Ships Were Sinking Into Idumęa (vocals: Cosey Fanni Tutti) (11:05)
15. The Beautiful Dancing Dust (vocals: Antony) (0:57)
16. Idumęa (vocals: Pantaleimon) (3:06)
17. Vauvauvau (Black Ships In Their Harbours) (4:41)
18. Idumęa (vocals: David Tibet) (1:50)
19. Black Ships Ate The Sky (4:20)
20. Why Cęsar Is Burning Part II (2:48)
21. Idumęa (vocals: Shirley Collins) (2:42)

Total time: 75:19

Bonus CD from 2006 SE - I Am Black Ship :
1. Black Ships Ate The Sky Instrumental Loop (0:55)
2. Idumęa (vocals: David Tibet) (3:00)
3. The Snakes Look Away From Black Ships (3:38)
4. The Boat Millions Of Years (3:53)
5. Oh Boy Harpsichord (3:05)
6. Numerical Beauty (0:41)
7. This Autistic Imperium Is Nihil Reich (3:57)
8. God Gave Noah The Black Ships Sign (7:59)
9. I Am The Road (0:54)
10. Vauvauvau (4:31)
11. I Am The Road (1:48)
12. Idumea (1:29)

Total time 35:50

Line-up / Musicians

- David Tibet / vocals, guitar (19)
- Steven Stapleton / performer
- Michael Cashmore / guitar
- Ben Chasny / guitar
- John Contreras / cello, arrangements

- Marc Almond / vocals & arrangements (1)
- Bonnie 'Prince' Billy / vocals & banjo & tambura (5)
- Baby Dee / vocals & harp (8)
- Antony Hegarty / vocals (10,15), piano (15)
- Clodagh Simonds / vocals & zither & harmonium (13)
- Cosey Fanni Tutti / vocals (14)
- Amy Phillips / vocals (14,19)
- Andria Degens / vocals & harmonica & Appalachian (16)
- Shirley Collins / vocals (21)
- William Breeze / viola (17,19)
- Ida Mercer / cello (8)
- Iris Bishop / concertina (21)
- William Basinski / performer (12,18)
- Colin Potter / composer & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Geoff, Anna & Seth Cox-Dorée

CD Durtro ‎- DURTRO JNANA 2112 (2006, UK)
2xCD Durtro ‎- DURTRO JNANA 2112 (2006, UK) Pre-order SE w/ CD including alternate versions
CD Durtro ‎- DURTRO JNANA 111 (2006, UK) Re-titled "Black Ships Eat The Sky", new cover art - Album of alternate mixes and versions of the original album (see own page)

2xLP Durtro ‎- DURTRO JNANA LP 2112 (2006, UK)

Thanks to clemofnazareth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CURRENT 93 Black Ships Ate The Sky ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (5%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

CURRENT 93 Black Ships Ate The Sky reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
4 stars Current 93's most artistically substantial mid-2000s release finds David Tibet and crew charting a course back through the neofolk territory of their peak years, offering an apocalyptic narrative with the recurring image of the titular black ships sailing in and out from it. A wide range of guest musicians appear on here from across Tibet's career, from Marc Almond (who like Tibet was a contributor to early Psychic TV releases) to Anohni of Anthony and the Johnsons, an act that Tibet actually discovered originally. A little overlong and not quite of the stature of classics like All the Pretty Little Horses or Thunder Perfect Mind, but still another intriguing trip through David Tibet's deeply personal and idiosyncratic view of the apocalypse.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Black Ships Ate the Sky" is a highlight in the discography of David Tibet's dark folk project "Current 93". The concept of the album is based around another of Tibet's visions, or dreams, where he saw black ships floating in the sky in preparation of the arrival of the final Caesar and the second coming of Christ. One of Tibet's favorite topics is the apocalypse, and he doesn't shy away from it in this album.

However, this mostly acoustic album is full of surprises and guest vocalists. The first interesting thing that distinguishes this album from the many other Current 93 albums is the appearance of the Charles Wesley poem "Idumea" not just once, but 8 different and distinct times through the 21 tracks on this album. Each version of the poem is sung by different singers and each version is completely different from the other. Among the vocalists taking turns on this poem are Marc Almond from "Soft Cell", Antony from "Antony and the Johnsons", indie-folk singer Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Clodaugh Simonds from "Fovea Hex", "Mellow Candle", and several Michael Oldfield albums, and Shirley Collins among others. The use of these various artists breath life and variety into the overall album, and, interestingly enough, the use and re-use of this poem never gets tiring. In fact they help break up the crazed vocals of Tibet.

As far as the other tracks on the album, most are sung by Tibet. When I say sung, though, I really mean narrate/sung. Tibet's vocals are very clear this time around, which is not always the case on other albums. These other tracks feature Tibet's narration/sing-song vocals backed by acoustic guitar and violin in most cases, and other processed keyboards and at times, strange and eerie sounds from different sources. Most of these tracks are mellow and acoustic, but some are quite intense as Tibet's lyrics and vocals become more frantic at times. You get quite a variety of beautiful and also scathing tracks. Interspersed among these tracks are the different versions of "Idumea" but also other tracks that are sung by other artists.

Most of the tracks are short, usually around the 3 ? 4 minute mark, except for one track "Black Ships Were Sinking Into Idumea" which passes the 11 minute mark. This one is not listed as such, but is actually a 2 part track, the first half being Tibet in his most frantic voice which turns quite chaotic before it goes into the second part being a minimal section with the soft vocals of Cosey Fanni Tutti.

Since most of the tracks are acoustic, having the guest vocalists contribute to variety and dynamic of the album. Overall, the feeling is quite minimal as far as instrumentation goes and there is hardly any percussion present on any of the tracks. This solidifies "Current 93"s foothold in the prog-folk genre. On their earlier albums, the project was not yet sure about which path they wanted to follow, so at times, you got some very heavy and loud Post black metal sounding tracks, but as time went on, it became more folk oriented. But, in actuality, you never really know what to expect from this neo-folk project. It pretty much was decided by Tibet's whimsy.

This music is not for everybody, that is for sure. Yes it is prog folk, for the most part, but there are always elements of avant- prog throughout the music. The music is dark, and it is often dissonant and disturbing. This album is no exception. There are many times things can get intense and noisy. This is not your Father's folk. It is daring and it is unsettling. It is also innovative. It is completely driven by a mix of folk and prog elements. It is music I really enjoy, at least when it is at its best like in this album. Some of their albums are not as good, but this one is definitely the one album you should check out in their discography just to see if it is for you. Just know that it is both very beautiful and very dissonant in other parts. Easily one of Current 93's best and also worth every star possible.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1385969) | Posted by moodyxadi | Sunday, March 22, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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