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Current 93 - Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre CD (album) cover

OF RUINE OR SOME BLAZING STARRE

Current 93

 

Prog Folk

3.97 | 12 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is a rather transitional album for Current 93, being the first album since David Tibet parted ways with Douglas Pearce of Death In June infamy. The duo had been close musical collaborators for almost a decade, but would not work together again. Pearce claims that he ended his friendship with Tibet because Tibet and Steven Stapledon (of Nurse With Wound, and Tibet's longest-standing and most consistent collaborator in Current 93) had begun working with, of all people, the classic eccentric ukelele-master Tiny Tim, Peace claiming to have been offended by Tim having homophobic views.

It may well be true that Tiny Tim said some hurtful things, but Pearce's reason for his musical divorce with Tibet doesn't ring true with me. For one thing, both before and after this Pearce was happy to work closely with Boyd Rice, who has expressed a range of vile opinions over the years and cultivated relationships with a range of noxious people (including numerous neo-Nazis and even, no shitting, Charles Manson), many of whom have proven to be far more overtly and violently homophobic than Tiny Tim ever was... and indeed, Boyd Rice cultivated his own close friendship with Tiny Tim and regularly praises him, so the excuse rings rather false.

Moreover, there were signs on the preceding Thunder Perfect Mind that Tibet was beginning to become unsettled by Pearce's longstanding fascination with fascism and Nazi Germany, with A Song For Douglas After He's Dead being fairly unambiguously directed at Pearce and raising severe questions about Pearce's various obsessions. In addition, and bringing things back to the music here, David Tibet had also by that point brought into the mix a new musical collaborator in the form of Michael Cashmore, an intensely talented multi-instrumentalist, and part of me wonders whether Pearce felt that his place in Tibet's coterie was threatened, since Cashmore's gentle guitar playing - a major highlight of this release - puts Pearce's rudimentary strumming into the shade. (It's notable that, whilst Cashmore did guest on Death In June's 1992 album But What Ends When the Symbols Shatter? along with most of the other Current 93 lineup at the time, he was conspicuous by his absence from the sessions for Rose Clouds of Holocaust, the last Death In June album that David Tibet and many of his allies would participate in.)

Whatever the truth of the matter, the departure of Pearce manifests in a shift in musical style here; the harsher and spookier directions that the preceding albums had regularly indulged in are dialled back, and Tibet's poetic lyrics and the musical backing from Stapledon and Michael Cashmore taking a somewhat gentler and more personal bent, of the sort which had begun to flower on Thunder Perfect Mind. Because of the reduced ensemble, it is a cozy and intimate affair, and due to its transitional nature it doesn't quite hit its predecessors heights, but its interesting excursion into gentleness suggests a new direction in Tibet's thinking which would lead to further fruit soon enough. Cashmore's influence is in fact especially strong, and in some aspects the album feels like a development of the sound pioneered on Cashmore's personal project Nature and Organisation.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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