Monday, June 25, 2007
Current 93 - I Have A Special Plan For This World
To my mind, it is difficult to find music that can truly claim to be "sinister". Of course, there are many difficult records that can claim to be "obtuse", "unsettling", "somewhat frightening", or even perhaps "startling". But these do not truly find themselves next to something that is "sinister". Thus, when one considers listening to music that is sinister, they have to consider their motivations behind doing so. Almost inevitably, the realization arrives that you should probably somewhat familiar with the artist before attempting to listen to "the sinister".
Thus, we arrive to Current 93's "I Have A Special Plan For This World". Few of David Tibet's albums past Nature Unveiled and Dogs Blood Rising even come remotely close to the apocalyptic nightmares exhibited in these albums. Yet, while those albums were immense (if not particularly long) journeys into ideologically charged industrial soundscapes, this album is instead a minimalist dark ambient masterpiece. The record consists of twenty-two minutes of "voice-synth" drones (my way of describing it), along with scattered field recordings of a British man, various sorts of radio static, tape machine squeaks and blips, and David Tibet's deadpan delivery of Thomas Ligotti's (an American horror writer, of whom David Tibet has been a long-time fan) misanthropic "I Have A Special Plan For This World" narrative. Tibet's voice is one of the greatest aspects of the recording. Gone is the fervent "spoken-sung" voice he uses on his recent albums. Instead, he speaks in a disinterested monotone a strange tale of the nature of death, the "world as a mistake", twisted puppet shows, obsession, futility and paranoia. It is also fairly low-fi and two-dimensional, as if he recorded it on the tape recorder which is heard throughout the recording. Throughout the reading, a highly distorted (and disturbing) voice (which may or may not be an electronically-distorted version of David Tibet's voice) accompanies every spoken passage, as well as sometimes appearing by itself.
Not convinced that the passages are creepy? Check this selection out then:
There are many who have designs upon this world, and dream of wild and vast reformations.
I have heard them talking in their sleep, of elegant mutations and cunning annihilations.
I have heard them whispering in the corners of crooked houses, and in the alleys and narrow back streets of this crooked, creaking universe, which they, with their new designs, would make straight and sound. But each of these new and ill-conceived designs is deranged in it's heart.
For they see this world as if it were alone and original, and not as only one of countless others whose nightmares all proceed, like a hideous garden grown from a single seed. I have heard these dreamers talking in their sleep, and I stand waiting for them, as if at the top of a darkened flight of stairs.They know nothing of me, and none of the secrets of my special plan...while I know every crooked, creaking step of theirs.
If some records are akin to kittens or baby seals, than this record is the equivalent of a stunted hell hound. It probably would not be able to kill you, but it certainly exudes an aura of uneasy menace and dread. This is best listened to in total darkness, alone, with no other sounds being able to heard (if you can manage it). I can say I have...but I didn't like it. That is not to say that the music is not good (indeed, it is excellent). It is just that it almost effortlessly takes away any comfort the listener may have had at the moment, and continues on a pulse of uncomfort for twenty-two minutes. Awesome mood music for fatalistic moods. Although a similar recording, "In A Foreign Town, In A Foreign Land" (featuring heavy input from electronic artist Christoph Heemann), I consider "Special Plan..." to be slightly better in that it is a complete work, while "Foreign Town..." was a "musical accompaniment" to the stories, with occasional vocal cues from Tibet and others.
From what I can gather, the CD version has been re-issued over the last few years, so it's available in many locations.
PS Thanks Chris for the correction! :)
Thomas Ligotti Homepage
Brainwashed Current 93 Homepage