Current 93, "Hypnagogue"

Saturday, 17 May 2003 21:33 Jonathan Dean Reviews - Albums and Singles

It has never been more clear that David Tibet lives in a completely idiosyncratic sphere of his own. Perhaps this is true for everyone, but Tibet's world seems particularly out of step with current trends in music, culture and thought. There is something terribly admirable and beguiling about that. Hypnagogue beautifully proves that Current 93 is continuing in its tangential orbit, and exists solely as the outlet for Tibet's poetic musings on Christ, cats, children, dreams, piety, horror, death, dread, decay and apocalypse. You're not going to find any concessions to glitch-pop or retro-electro here. PanDurtro

This EP is designed to be a prologue to an upcoming full length, and it consists of nine tracks or "chapters" of a long poem called, appropriately, "Hypnagogue: A Dream Prologue." Like many of Current 93's recent works, it's impossible to rate this album based on the music alone, which is mostly incidental. The main focus is on the poetry, and if the listener is not willing to carefully absorb Tibet's linguistic imagery, the point of the music is lost. The musical accompaniment is minimal: Maja Elliott's impressionistic, Debussy-esque piano is the sole instrument. Her sad, skittering melodies serve to underscore Tibet's rhymeless, alliterative balladry. There are times when the piano brilliantly punctuates a passage, and others where its complex swirl of sound competes with Tibet's intense delivery. David Tibet is an impressive poet, his style remiscent of mystical and abstruse poets like T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and even Angus MacLise. The poesy is modern, but certainly not post-modern. There is no irony in Tibet's fatalistic prose, just a classic weaving of idiosyncratic metaphors that may or may not resonate, depending on the listener's willingness to listen and think about the complex symbolism. Like a true classical poet, Tibet even slips into Latin verse here and there. As a bonus, there is a web address on the inside cover where a PDF of the accompanying text can be downloaded, so that one can read along. From the topiary bunny on the cover to the obscure magical glyph at the front of the text, Current 93 and David Tibet defiantly resist any easy categorization. Though I fully expect that many people will find Hypnagogue hopelessly esoteric and even self-indulgent, I feel that it is a beatiful and unique work of art.


Last Updated on Monday, 25 May 2015 10:35