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Lunch tonight was: Carnitas, carnne asada and pollo tacos from the place by the Harley Davidson store. Washed down with a half litre Mexican coke!

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Alex V. Cook is an author, journalist and music critic living Baton Rouge, LA. His work has appeared in The Believer, The Oxford American, DownBeat, Paste Magazine, Hails and Horns and The Wire, and his first collection of essays Darkness, Racket and Twang: Essential Listening from the Fringes of Popular and Unpopular Culture was published by Side Cartel in 2006.

He is the music editor for outsideleft.com, editor for Sweet Tooth, and a frequent contributor to 225 Magazine, OffBeat and Country Roads.

He is a founding contributor to the Badasses of Contemporary Composition blog.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Guilty Pleasure: The Gnsotic Death-obsessed Anglo-faerie rock of Current 93

Thanks to the fine work of the Bit Conjurer, an innocuous entry on a local music board and my tenacity that comes witha rekindled cult-rock flame, I have acquired most of the recorded output of Current 93, the umbrella under which operates one David Tibet. Current 93 is a difficult sell to the uninitiated. Sure, Tibet has perhaps the most breathless, antiquarian poetry slam delivery in the underground, and the music usually swings widely between set-the-effects-pedals-to-11 Industrial sludge, or melodramatic Celtic-esque folk delivered with such passion that it makes Tom Jones seem reserved.

But I unabashedly love it. Tibet somehow does gothic perfect. I feel sad for the Death of the Corn! I am calmed to my sinews with the 22-minute harmonium drone on "Sleep Has Its House." I want to join in his Maypole insouciance at nah-nahing Christ one minute, and weeping in the ivy covered ruins of the Early Church of Anglia over His wounds the next. Current 93 speaks to some unrealized gothic "GAVE UPON MY OTHERNESS" pretention I will not release.
The album that did it for me was 1988's Earth Covers Earth, which according to AMG, is one of the albums least popular works. It happened at a transition between Throbbing Grstle-ine niose and his obsession with Gnosticism, whihc seems to be , in Tibet's practice, the 180 from populat agnosticism (an intellectual disinterest in God) - Tibet is VERY into Christ. Not Jesus, mind you, there are trace few parables to be found in the Current 93 librabry, but an endless train of John the Baptist wild visions and exhortations about the blue gates of heaven and what not. There are children singing on one of the early tracks, which is an understandable deal-killer to most, but track two "Hourglass for Diana" still does it for me. Its a simple enough thing at the beginning: stridently strummed guitar, a lone cello playing up the spook noir factor and Tibet's unrelenting sermon which gets angry at teh 3:30 mark when violins and tin whistles join in the weirdness. I listened to it this morning agin for the first time in a decade, and it still stirs the blood like when I first played it on a whim during my afternoon slot during my college DJ days.

To me it epitomises the Current 93 thing. Feral and wild yet delightfully, Englishly contained. Flowery and furious. Ancient and Contemporary.
Current 93 - Hourglass For Diana

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