Reviewing a new Current 93 album entails a twofold task: on one hand, you can judge it as an autonomous body of work, and on the other as an integral part of the huge collective opus that is Current 93’s discography. For The Moons at Your Door in particular, a third aspect needs to be taken into account: that it is meant to be the companion piece to the same-titled anthology of short stories that is due to be published by Strange Attractor Press later this month. With the book not having reached my hands yet, my opinion is unfortunately restrained to the primary twofold inquiry.
Had this album been the outcome of any other artist, it would be, beyond doubt, an unexpected surprise. An already well-documented eerie and nightmarish atmosphere is prominent throughout the entirety of both songs presented here—one that has been crafted uniquely enough that I’ve never heard anything similar from any other artists. It could be an unconventional soundtrack to a documentary about Jack the Ripper (similar to the impressive collaboration between Les Sentiers Conflictuels and Andrew King, 1888) or to a post-apocalyptic vision in the vein of Lustmord’s heritage. To be frank, the closest artist that The Moons at Your Door could relate to is probably The Hafler Trio, but without the excessive use of their trademark piercing sequences.
This is, however, an album by Current 93, and it is by default that linking it with the previous works of David Tibet is an inevitability. The Moons at Your Door is actually the album most faintly relevant to the most striking ambient-based works of Tibet’s past releases. It certainly falls under the general ‘haunting’ side of Current 93, yet it sounds original and refreshing. Those familiar with Faust, In a Foreign Town, in a Foreign Land (the collaboration with Thomas Ligotti), Music for the Horse Hospital / Sounds from the Horse Hospital (one of many splits with the equally seminal Nurse with Wound), Haunted Graves, Moving Waves, Who Is the Sufferer?, or I Have a Special Plan for This World will find an honest successor. Those longing for another apocalyptic folk or progressive rock-influenced album will not find it here. Tibet’s narrative vocals, orchestrations, Coptic references, progressive rock experimentations, and all other Current 93 reference points are absent. It is Andrew Liles’ stigma that is more evident here, more so than in any other of his collaborations with Current 93.
A collage of natural soundscapes have been masterfully mixed and provide the prominent sound of The Moons at Your Door, and, alongside Alan Taylor’s unsettling vocal performance, construct this utterly nightmarish album. This is a soundtrack for fear, which is, after all, the desired outcome for Tibet, who prompts the listener to ‘hear loud, in the night, in the dark’ for further enhancement of the impending terror.
To these ears, works that are founded merely on ambience are often on the borderline of being uninteresting and often mask a probable lack of talent. Ideas on sound structuring, ideal production, and cohesive meaning are elements that appear to elude the average artists of purely atmospheric albums. It’s fortunate then, as always when dealing with Current 93, that this is not the case with The Moons at Your Door. It manages to sound rich and inspired even in the context of minimalism. Keeping in mind that this release makes little to no use of synth work, relying solely on non-musical recordings, it’s an even greater achievement that it provides an exceptional aesthetic, captivating its listeners effortlessly.
For nearly two decades, Current 93 have been my favorite vehicle for travelling elsewhere: in fields of rape, in foreign towns, in foreign lands … I’m grateful that Tibet has still managed to retain that level of inspiration. The Moons at Your Door further justifies the huge amount of non-ephemeral acolytes that Tibet has formed around himself over the years. As with the rest of Current 93’s ‘lunar’ works, this album provides another vivid yet fleeting glimpse into the darkest side of Tibet’s creative musings. Should one wish to arrive at this subliminal port, I can’t think of a better portal to it than The Moons at Your Door.
A1) The Moons at Your Door
B1) There Is a Graveyard That Dwells in Man