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CURRENT 93, "AT SUNSET BLACK SHIPS ATE THE SKY"

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This unassuming CDEP was made available at the recent Toronto shows, but the people working the merchandise table were mysteriously tight-lipped about its contents. The packaging contains no information other than arcane Coptic Greek text printed in gold on a black background: "PSHOUO NMEHPSAITSHOMTE: NTNAU NH�TP MPR� AHENJ�U EUK�M OUEM TPE."
Durtro Jnana

There were also T-shirts for sale with this same cryptic text, untranslatable to all but the most diligent esotericists. After seeing Current 93 play all three nights, and popping this CDEP in for the first time, however, it became quite clear that this was a brand new Current 93 single, taken from the forthcoming studio album Black Ships Ate the Sky. David Late Tibet and friends are long overdue for a new full-length, so it's very nice indeed to see something surface, a new release rather than another in a long line of re-released repackagings of remixed, reshuffled remasters. And luckily, the new material sounds utterly brilliant: a return to form and some of the best music Current 93 has made since 2000's Sleep Has His House. It is clear from the first few seconds, however, that Black Ships in the Sky does not repeat the same minimal, ascetic instrumental palette as Sleep or Soft Black Stars, much to my relief. As much as I loved those albums, I was always hoping that Current 93 would revisit the fuller, richer, more compositional arrangements of classic albums like All The Pretty Little Horses and Thunder Perfect Mind, and that is exactly what I got on this single. The EP contains only one seven-minute track, divided into two sections. The first has David Michael describing at intense apocalyptic vision glimpsed at sunset in his sixteenth year, against a lovely backdrop of fingerpicked guitar and disarmingly gorgeous swells of viola and cello. Though there are no personnel listed on the sleeve, I am guessing that these are the contributions of Simon Finn, William Breeze and Joolie Wood, talented collaborators all. As the track passes the three-minute mark, things suddenly become dark and nightmarish, and the music becomes a series of noisy, staccato string stabs, electronic pulses and the searing electric guitar work of Ben Chasny (of Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire). David Michael screams and curses his fate, wishing in vain that he had been "unborn," straining and cracking his voice, crying out in the abyss: "Who will deliver me from myself? Who will deliver me from myself?" It's very intense stuff indeed, and bodes very well for the upcoming album. - Jonathan Dean

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 18:01  


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