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C93/NWW, "Bright yellow moon/purtle"

Bright Yellow Moon is the latest in a series of eschatological meditations from Current 93, with the inimitably hallucinogenic assistance of fellow traveler Nurse With Wound. Tibet's musical trajectory has taken him in a sort of closing spiral from the universal apocalypse of "Nature Unveiled" & "The Seven Seals" towards ever more personal losses, and artistry which is correspondingly more powerful and emotionally complex.Having put his father to rest only a year earlier with the stunning album "Sleep Has His House," an unexpected personal brush with death provided the fodder for this latest, most claustrophobic installment. Where "Sleep" was all hush and harmonium, beautifully mournful and exquisitely aware of the unknowability of the next world, "Bright Yellow Moon" is a far more harrowing journey to the terrifyingly knowable last moments of this world. At turns dreamlike and painfully lucid, Tibet's astonishingly generous work here takes the form of an unblinking stare at the catastrophic dilemma of original sin. The religious concerns remain predictably prominent, but they are seen here through the microcosm of a single life's end, suggesting, as did "The Great in the Small", that any meaningful sense we might find of larger purposes or "the grand scheme of things" will come to us not through vast divine revelations, but from the stitching together of the modest minutiae of our lives, in the small, temporary space of our daily experience.
"Bright Yellow Moon" (and the accompanying disc "Purtle" for those fortunate enough to have received the limited edition) is a terribly beautiful work, brutal in its willingness to face the emptiness of our last moments, brutal in its uncompromising assertion that we are all thoroughly surrounded and invaded by evil, and brutal in its capacity to maintain the painful awareness of the possible meaninglessness of our lives. "Nichts I and II", compositions at least as chilling as those of Stapleton's recently reissued "Thunder Perfect Mind", strike me as perfect and perfectly forceful illustrations of this brutality. But throughout, as in all his work, a fervent hope is expressed, and small memories of love and beauty are enshrined as edifices against a sea of incomprehensible loss. In the fifth track, a vision of sailing with a beloved companion on a light-streamed ocean describes a love which transcends lifetimes, and "a life inextinguishable in you and your love." Lest you think our Tibet has gone the way of all schlock, the beautiful vocals gradually disintegrate in this song, as in "I have a special plan for this world,' into unintelligibly garbled paralysis. As always, words fail: Tibet laments that "we all speak unknown languages to each other", and I lament that I am unable to sufficiently convey the majestic scope and beauty of this fantastic album.