Current 93 - Swastikas For Noddy / Crooked Crosses For The Nodding God 2xLP


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Label: The Spheres

Our Review:

Here is the necessary reissue of Current 93's masterpieces Swastikas For Noddy and Crooked Crosses For The Nodding God - two albums that solidified the apocalyptic folk songwriting for David Tibet and company. Tibet's sergeant-at-arms for these sessions was Douglas P of Death In June with the ghostly presence of Steven Stapleton felt through sporadically through the mix; and a rather large cast of characters involved in making what are minimal neofolk albums. Swastikas For Noddy at the time of release in 1988 was quipped as "the pop album" for Current 93. Compared to the Crowleyian chants and nightmarish bricolage of Nature Unveiled and Dogs Blood , this would certainly ring true; but in the light of the entire C93 oeuvre, Swastikas For Nodd is a feral scrabbling of the more baroque orchestrations and arrangements that Tibet would coax out of his musical troupe. Noddy is a British children's character from the mid-century and in the fluid pantheon of godheads that Tibet worked into his cryptic poetry and revelations, Noddy had become a semi-deity which he figured into a canon of his own making alongside Christ, Crowley and Lucifer. It's an absurd declaration; and the whimsy that Current 93 can muster in such jaunty numbers as "Beau Soleil" and "Hey Ho The Noddy Oh" acquire a sinister irony to them. Current 93 offers their version of "Oh Coal Black Smith" which had been a British folk staple dating back to the early 19th Century under the title "The Two Magicians", matching Current 93's then infatuation of Comus with the wild-eyed psych-folk mania and urgent, two-note acoustic guitar strum alongside Tibet's feral vocals.

Crooked Crosses For The Nodding God is an album that originally came out in 1989 on Stapleton's United Dairies, as remixed, restructured and rerecorded versions of many of the songs that went into Swastikas For Noddy. These versions are much more skewed, demented and psychedelic, showing much more of Stapleton's penchant for dislocating the minimal folk arrangements and singsong tunes with warped effects, drones, cloak and dagger. Included here is a version of Current 93's "Looney Runes" with its glam-goth guitar riff and early Alice Cooper vibe, amidst Tibet's freakish chanting. It makes perfect sense to bind these two albums together, with the latter as the lysergic mind-fuck version of the former.