Current 93 – Black Ships Ate The Sky (CD)

Why have I never even heard of Current 93, considering that they have cut over twenty albums and have been around for nearly twenty-five years? This brand of folk music is very narrative-based, and the sheer amount of different singers present on “Black Ships Ate The Sky” are enough to make a case for this being more of a play than an album. A few major players in indie music are present on this disc, with Bonnie Prince Billy being the largest star on the album.

Even though some of the lyrics during “Black Ships Ate The Sky” really do not make much in the way of sense (such as the title track), the smart instrumentation and inflection really tend to involve listeners. The rambling nature of this disc makes “Black Ships Ate The Sky” the best album to just put on and zone out to; full attention is necessary so an individual even has the beginning of an idea about what this album is trying to show to its listeners. Perhaps the strongest performance during this disc comes in Bonnie Prince Billy’s version of “Idumea”. In this version of “Idumea”, the breaking and cracking vocals of Billy during the track brings the album from its intangible opening to something much more tangible and applicable to individuals that are listening in. The minor instrumentation that backs up Billy during this track gives enough added power to make this song something tat should make it to radio, even if the rest of the songs on “Black Ships Ate The Sky” are a little too out there to join it.

When the guitar plinks through the second half of the track, there is only one interpretation; Billy’s voice has been replaced. The guitar comes into the equation much more during “This Autistic Imperium is Nihil Reich” to the point that it is actually the vocals that compliment the instruments, a reversal from the trend of most of the disc. Each track on this disc brings listeners something else; to say that one knows what to expect during a Current 93 album is something that shows a high level of ignorance. Current 93 should be taken alongside some of the more interesting acts present in music, and should be tie to acts like Gong and Arthur Brown; this is a style of music that has little in the way of reference but boldly creates its own style in a short period of time.

Top Tracks: Idumea (Billy version), Vauvauvau

Rating: 6.8/10

Current 93 – Black Ships Ate The Sky / 2006 Jnana / 21 Tracks / http://www.brainwashed.com/c93 / http://www.durtro.com / Reviewed 13 May 2006

[JMcQ]

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