One of the most immediately noticeable changes is the stripped back personnel that comprises Current 93 for this release. Instead of the huge and unwieldy collective of musicians used on Black Ships, this EP recalls Soft Black Stars or Sleep Has His House in its limited instrumental palette and group; this time out it's only Baby Dee on keyboards, Tibet on vocals and Andrew Liles inhabiting the usual Steven Stapleton role, producing and mixing.
Hearing someone other than Maja Elliott tickling the ivories for Current 93 is an interesting change: Baby Dee's style is less impressionistic, more traditionally melodic, tracing beautifully symmetrical piano figures informed by popular music or church playing. In some sense this is appropriate, as Tibet's lyrics become increasingly focused upon Biblical prophecy. In another sense, it seems utterly at odds with the apocalyptic visions being related, creating an unorthodox hybrid of gentle pop and ferocious, unhinged teleological visions – brainwashed.
Tracklisting: 1. I Looked To The South Side Of The Door 2. She Took Us To The Places Where The Sun Sets 3. The Nylon Lion Attacks As Kingdom 4. Suddenly The Living Are Dying
Behooving a sinner, Tibet's rarely been alone for his most personal explorations: From Antony Hegarty and Ben Chasny to sound artist Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Nurse with Wound's Steven Stapleton, he's amassed a revolving army to provide sounds worthy of such intimate and existential conflicts.
Aleph is a charging, rock'n'roll appraisal of Tibet's central concern-- living with respect to himself and to God-- supported by one of the best casts yet. Stapleton, improvisational drummer Alex Neilson, Chavez's Matt Sweeney, and harpist Baby Dee return, along with Andrew W.K., Rickie Lee Jones, guitarists James Blackshaw and Keith Wood, and the artistically ambitious porn star Sasha Grey. Carefully orchestrated beneath Tibet's uncanny voice, they create not only Current 93's most rock-oriented album to date but also a fine, fitting crown for Tibet's prolific decade.
A surprisingly tuneful, consistently compelling mix of industrial stomp and folk grace, Aleph offers both a career-spanning capitulation for newcomers and a bold push forward for zealots. - Pitchfork
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. Invocation Of Almost 2. Poppyskins 3. On Docetic Mountain
Side B: 4. 26 April 2007 5. Aleph Is The Butterfly Net 6. Not Because The Fox Barks
The record is housed and homed in a black and white sleeve with artwork by David Tibet and contains a 2-sided black and white Insert with all the lyrics and photos of the C93 family. Current 93, who were As Cool As Llies and As Real As RainBows, are now As Perfect As Planets: Eliot Bates, Baby Dee, Andrew Liles, Lisa Pizzighella, Armen Ra and David Tibet.
Only two of the album’s nine cuts approach any sort of Gnostic fury. The first “Baalstorm! Baalstorm! Baalstorm!” pursues eschatology in a subdued sort of way, its tension expressed in nervy, staccato piano flurries and whistling high organ tones.
The second, album closer “I Dance Narcoleptic,” rampages more dramatically, in a flood of nightmare imagery and mad calliope tootles. Yet even this song ends in a benediction, a two minute silence giving way to the swell of ocean surf, and then a quiet voice (not Tibet) singing “Till the storm is through / and all of god’s promises echo through.” This song, and perhaps the album as a whole, moves through chaos to acceptance.
There are endings here, both the mythological Revelations-style endings, and more personal ones. Tibet has always led his listeners through surreal, frightening spiritual landscapes, but with this one, he seems to have gotten through to a serene and unexpectedly beautiful other side. - Dusted
1. I Dreamt I Was Æon 2. With Flowers In The Garden Of Fires 3. December 1971 4. Baalstorm! Baalstorm! 5. Passenger Aleph Inname 6. Tanks Of Flies 7. The Nudes Lift Shields For War 8. Night! Death! Storm! Omega! 9. I Dance Narcoleptic