Review: Current 93 – Baalstorm, Sing Omega

Despite only one year lying between Baalstorm, Sing Omega and its predecessor Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, there’s a drastic difference in the sound of both albums. Aleph… was an angry record, centred on harsh guitar stabs and razorblade leads – a very deliberate texture overload accompanied by an appropriately aggressive vocal delivery from David Tibet. Baalstorm, Sing Omega is much more delicate in contrast, calling upon the flow and cascade of piano and cello instead, moving in wave-like surges and nudging along Tibet’s abstract ramblings, which babble breathlessly with an epiphanic urgency.

What is immediately noticeable about Baalstorm, Sing Omega is the fact that many of these tracks are not rhythmically driven, with melody and harmony free to embark on a ceaseless drift and strings and electronics washing softly over eachother – an effect most beautifully present on “December 1971”, during which cello and guitar meander back and forth alongside a gorgeously fluid and furious David Tibet verse. He is on faultless form here, sounding helplessly at victim to the vivid dreams and images that pour out of his mind.

Elsewhere are the sweet sounds of music box on “Passenger Aleph in Name” and the mournful progression of “The Nudes Lift Shields For War”, the latter of which is injected with an intensity of melancholy not seen since the harmonium-driven Sleep Has His House. It’s only during the last two tracks that the beauty of the album begins to give way; the 10-minute finale “I Dance Narcoleptic” spirals into carousel organs and the playful shouts of children, and personally I found it to be quite messy alongside the gorgeous choreography of the previous pieces.

But Baalstorm, Sing Omega is otherwise a beautiful work that, although seeming to drift aimlessly on first listen, reveals itself to be an intensely focused release when you step back and perceive the record as a whole. The aforementioned “December 1971” is already developing a spot high up on my list of favourite C93 tracks, and no doubt several more of the stunning compositions present here will quickly follow suit.