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Music Review: Current 93 – Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain

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Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain is David Tibet’s modest attempt to write his own version of Homer’s Odyssey. The fact that his 437 line epic poem actually makes sense when read without regard to the music is amazing. Listening to Aleph backed with music makes the poem something else again.

Current 93 has always been David Tibet’s project, in conjunction with various colleagues over the years. Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound has been a near constant, as has Michael Cashmore. On Aleph, Tibet brings together his most eclectic group ever.

In addition to Tibet, there are 16 other artists credited here. They include Rickie Lee Jones, Andrew WK, and porn star Sasha Grey, among others. With this many cooks in the kitchen the potential for disaster was enormous. It is a tribute to Tibet’s unyielding vision that this record works so well.

“Almost in the beginning was the murderer,” goes the cryptic opening line, and it is delivered by a child. This is followed by some of the most powerful guitar ever featured on a Current 93 record.

More heavy guitar appears on “Not Because The Fox Barks” and “On Docetic Mountain.” Current 93 have never sounded so “rock,” and they pull it off brilliantly.

The tale such as it is, really is a hallucinatory one. Tibet’s stream of consciousness epic is broken up into eight songs of varying lengths. Given the various colors added by the many collaborators on Aleph, the modes and voices on Aleph are somewhat overwhelming.

A few years ago, David Tibet coined the term “apocalyptic folk” to describe his music. Songs such “Poppyskins,” “UrShadow,” and “As Real As Rainbows” certainly qualify as such.

David Tibet’s journey from Aleister Crowley references (the name Current 93), to his present day identification as a Christian has been a fascinating one. Twenty-five years after his first recording with Stapleton, Tibet’s vision just continues to expand.

Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain is one of the most interesting, and challenging records I have heard this year. There is literally something for everyone on this CD. The packaging is stunning as well, featuring the entire text, and paintings by David Tibet in the six panel Digi-Pak.

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