CURRENT 93 – “Hourglass (For Diana)” (from the compilation Calling For Vanished Faces)
Current 93’s music’s been described as “Death Folk”: bang on. “Hourglass” is a setting to music of a poem by minor Carolingian poet John Hall, and the poem, like the song, moves from relative calm to frenetic, maddened disgust at man and his station. Your position on C93 is very much determined by your position on David Tibet’s voice. He shrieks and capers like a possessed Lord Fauntleroy, at once ridiculous and savagely intense: like a lot of underground artists, Current 93 require a certain suspension of disbelief, a willingness to meet them at least halfway and not judge them by whatever standards you conventionally judge music – or more specifically, musician’s attitudes and postures – by. Once you’ve gone that distance, the rewards can be enormous: “Hourglass” is a striking piece, Tibet spitting out Hall’s poetry against a backdrop of nagging guitar and whirling, sawing flute and strings. By the time he gets to “A ship of Glasse, toss’d in a Sea of terrour”, he’s screaming, the strings are too, and if you’re not sold on what the band does so will you be.