OM/Current 93 - Inerrant Rays of Infallible Sun (Blackship Shrinebuilder) (Neurot 10") & OM/Six Organs of Admittance - Split (Holy Mountain 7")
As promised, this be the review of the two new splits from Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius' OM, one with David Tibet's Current 93 and the other with Ben Chasny's Six Organs of Admittance. Chasny also played on the last Current 93 record, but not on Tibet's side of the split so unfortunately I can't wrangle that angle of Six Organs/six degrees trivia to my journalistic advantage. The OM/C93 split has been in the works for quite some time now, at least I remember hearing about it near the beginning of the year (or maybe it just seems that long ago). I remember thinking, along with many others, "Current 93?! Sharing sides with OM?! That's just too zany!" but maybe it isn't, the more I think about it. After all, OM do work within that ritualistic mysterio headspace that Tibet seems aboard (especially after reading that recent Wire piece). So what if he didn't cut his teeth in filthy punk rock clubs playing heavy, down-tuned stoner metal riffs to strung-out teenagers in EYEHATEGOD shirts? Or...maybe he did! Maybe there's more to this story than we're privy too! I have it on good authority that David Tibet played in the early formations of Brujeria's lineup...all right I've completely lost track of what I was trying to say, so onto the music hmm?
OM's side is "Rays of the Sun/To the Shrinebuilder" and finds them exactly where you expected/hope they would be, still churning out their fabulous brand of post-Sleep fuzz and lurch. Al Cisneros' intonations are still kinda mile-a-minute in that galloping drawl he's taken as his own. I have to say sometimes I still think the music would benefit from the subtraction of a few wordy passages, but other times I do dig tumbling along with the prose (which are printed on the back sleeve along with Tibet's lyrics - handy!). A little less than halfway through the side the tempo switches up, which I guess explains the song's division into two titles. It's a bit slower but not by much, and it does let up enough for a heart-pounding bass solo before the duo bring that beast around full-circle and grind it to a halt.
Current 93's track is a sidelong effort by the name "Inerrant Infallible (Black Ships at Nineveh and Edom)", though the lyrical divisions on the sleeve suggest it's divided into tiers. It's interesting to note that the C93 lineup is shorn down to just David (on electric guitar, electric bass and voice) and Catriona MacAffer on bagpipes. Tibet works up a repetitive down-tuned guitar riff almost as quickly as he lends his unique voice to the fray, and although it's a bit offputting at first (particularly if you're not a Current diehard) it's very easy to be charmed by. It's kind of like Tibet is some kind of likeable goblin who regals you with epic tales of who knows what, and I really do mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Where else are you going to be serenaded with lyrics that reference both Jhonn Balance and Reese Witherspoon? Either way, the music serves as more of a kind of medium for Tibet to get out his poetry, which seems to me to be the opposite of OM, who sound like they work the onomatopoeic values of the words they choose around their rhythms. Whatever the case may be, it's just as easy to lose your head in the steam pressure cooked up by the guitar/bagpipe combo of Current as it is in OM's doomy funk, and for that I cry "success!".
Neurot have pressed this 10" on five different colors of vinyl, with green and blue being the domestic versions and clear, purple and red being the overseas (and more expensive) colors. Mine's green for the record, which I think is the "standard" one anyway.
The OM/Six Organs of Admittance split is only pressed on one color, onyx black, but why should you let that impede your enjoyment? OM's side is "Bedouin's Vigil", the bonus track found on the Japanese version of their "Conference of the Birds" album. It's nice for us non-Japanese to be able to hear the song without buying the LP all over again, so I approve of this little recycling job. Especially when the track is as ludicrously heavy as this one is. Talk about a bulldozer; Cisneros' bass strings must be literally hanging off his guitar while Hakius beats the everloving shit out of his mammoth-skinned kit. I wasn't sure if OM could work in the short format, but these 4 minutes prove it, hands down. Cisneros does some more rambling, but no lyrics this time around.
Chasny's side is "Assryian Blood" and starts all kinda quiet and contemplative but you get the feeling that something ain't right when that big electronic synthy sound tears through your speakers/soul. But it reverts back to a gentle acoustic guitar and some ohhhmm (coincidence???) chanting and you think just maybe it'll be okay, if only you could shake those paranoid buzzes and squelches. But just then Chasny explodes out of who the fuck knows where and lays down an outrageously scorching electric solo that's sure to wilt all the daisies in your garden. Holy mother of pearl. Check your stool for blood after the groove runs out.
So the music is all well and super on this one, but my only small complaint lies in the packaging, which kind of makes the whole thing look like some radio-only promo 7" (what's with that typeface). Nevertheless, I'm picking nits again. They could've packaged this in my grandmother's coffin and I'd dig it up just to get at it. So I digress. I always do.