Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Black Ships Ate The Sky

I'm always intrigued by what I like and what I do not and why. My tastes are fairly eclectic and reasonably catholic though I would be a liar if I said I could appreciate the qualities in anything.

One of Tinseltroos' favourite bands is Current 93, a band who have tried most genres in their long career with, to my ears at least, highly variable degrees of success. At present they seem to be in a rather "post rock" mode. Post rock is a rather unhelpful name as it implies that rock is now defunct, which it isn't, and that post rock is a natural successor, which it isn't. I prefer the term "prog punk", i.e. a type of music played by people who would like to play complex prog rock but only have enough skill to play punk. The end result is usually a band with an unnecessary number of guitarists (four at one stage last night - that's more than The Eagles ever managed) and assorted stringed instruments, pianos and keyboards. A simple riff pattern will start quietly and slowly and then get louder and a wee bit faster, but never to a tempo that could be misconstrued as exciting, over the course of about seven minutes until the song is done. The singer, David Tibet in this case, will "sing" over the top of this mass of sloppy sound generally on the subject of black ships (likes his Homer obviously) and skies. This went on for nearly two hours, which was a bit much I felt.

There were some good parts to the evening though. Marc Almond did three of songs with longtime Current 93 collaborator, Michael Cashmore. The first song was transcendentally wonderful and is apparently on Current 93's last album. He then did a couple of songs of the poetry of Eric Stenbock set to Cashmore's music. Stenbock is a terrible poet, and I mean "terrible" in both its common usage sense and its true definition: this is poetry so bad that it makes the skin crawl. Almond's performance was lovely and it's a shame that such talent had to be wasted on this sub-McGonagall twaddle.

The other surprise of the night was Baby Dee. Her brand of music can be described as slightly vaudevillian, slightly post-rock (it gets everywhere these days it seems) and was at times entrancing and spellbinding. Playing both the piano and harp with equal adeptness her vocal style always feels like it is an almost painful release of energy and emotion. A real gem.

All things considered it was a very mixed evening. Had Current 93 played for an hour less than they did I think I would not feel so negatively about the performance. I can take a little post-rock, I even actively like some Sigur Rós but two hours of the same song was a little much for me. According to Tibet, this will be their last performance for "a long time". I am hoping that next time they will have found another musical genre that better suits their talents.

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Blogger Churlita said...

yeah. I often wish bands would trim their playlists a bit. It gets too much like masturbation for me.

9:07 pm  
Blogger Mr Atrocity said...

What's wrong with masturbation? As Woody Allen put it, "Masturbation? It's sex with someone I love."

9:00 am  
Blogger Beverly Sutphin said...

Yeah, but you wouldn't watch somebody else doing it for fun, would you?

Or... I dunno... maybe you would.

6:20 pm  

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