Current 93
All the Pretty Little Horses


5.0
classic

Review

by Steven Moore USER (24 Reviews)
August 16th, 2008 | 35 replies | 12,487 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hush-a-bye, Don't you cry, Go to sleepy little baby

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

The neofolk scene is certainly home to some of the most interesting musicians and personalities around. People in this scene range from the homosexual, fascist obsessing, mask sporting men (Douglas Pierce) to the priests in the high church of Satan who partake in organizations promoting male supremacy (Boyd Rice). Any way you look at it neofolk is certainly not a genre lacking in character. As you can tell, sometimes, these figures may carry their personalities out in less than positive manners. David Tibet, the mastermind behind neofolk act Current 93 stands above much of the neofolk scene, he does not need to rely on controversy to become a highly renowned artist, he does so simply by writing some of the most incredible music out there.

All the Pretty Little Horses is considered by many to be the peak of Current 93’s career, and it’s easy to see why. Right away from the first track “The Long Shadows Fall” you know you’re in for a trip, this song is driven by some sort of keyboard build up, unlike like anything I have ever heard before. Soon David Tibet speaks the words “why can’t we all just walk away”, this delivery may be simple, but it’s powerful, and despite being used as an intro track is always worth listening to simply because of how important it is to the album.

David Tibet’s singing is truly one of the most essential and unique aspects about this album, and Current 93 in general. He uses a good deal of variety in his vocal approach throughout All the Pretty Little Horses. On the first version of the title track Tibet uses a soft whisper, this works incredibly well with the lullaby like lyrics, some neofolk musicians try to use the whisper technique to create some sort of “dark atmosphere” but nobody comes close to matching David Tibet’s delivery. In some songs David Tibet may go a bit overboard with his voice, on “The Inmost Light” he sounds rather sadistic, which can be seen as a bit pretentious and distracting but doesn’t really hurt the album too much due to how little he goes that far. Mr. Tibet’s normal singing voice is rather high and very distinct sounding, some may find his voice irritating but it is his style that truly helps Current 93’s music convey so much imagination and emotion.

Lyrically All the Pretty Little Horses is an absolute masterpiece. The entire album deals with rather abstract themes about “the inmost light”. The title track features some beautiful lullaby lyrics as mentioned earlier, other songs such as “The Frolic” contain incredibly well written story like lyrics, that when combined with Tibet’s unique vocals paint a picture in your head truly making the listening experience amazing.

I walk into the altar room
All the buddhas are smashed there
Avalokitesvara's hundred faces lie shattered
I have done this
I walk to the makeshift redbrick altar a hundred years ago
There is a small brass image there
I have built this
The red and black ants mill around
Unknown journeys
I take my lighter and torch them
I take my lighter and torch them
I weep, I weep
The ants scatter or writhe
I take my lighter and torch them torch them
I have done this
I am surrounded by butterflies


Some of the tracks contain rather bizarre lyrics, such as “The Bloodbells Chime” or “The Carnival is Dead and Gone”. However despite their oddity these lyrics never prove to be distracting or hurtful to the songs quality.

All the Pretty Little Horses isn’t just masterful in the vocal and lyrical department. Musically this album is simply breathtaking. Overall the instrumentation here is far from complicated, but it certainly does not need to be to create amazing songs. The primary instrument used is the acoustic guitar, which always proves to be playing something incredibly beautiful. Whether it’s picking wonderful melodies or simply strumming pleasant chords to carry the songs along acoustic guitars are utilized very well. Other instruments are frequently thrown into the mix as well; violins make several appearances throughout this release. One of the best moments on the album is the end of “The Blood Bells Chime” when violins are played magnificently over the song to create an amazing climax to the song. Piano playing is also frequently used, which always adds a nice dimension to the songs.

Despite All the Little Pretty Horses amazing qualities it is not without fault. There are a few dragging moments on this release. For example, the song “Twilight Twilight Nihil Nihil” is a very drone-esq song with some interesting spoken sections, it’s cool for a little bit, but halfway through the song you feel like it should have ended already and you’ll find yourself becoming quite bored with it. “The Inmost Light Itself” also lasts a bit longer than it should. Additionally, some will also find David Tibet’s vocals a bit hard to digest at times, and therefore have a harder time enjoying the album.

This albums quality is further enhanced by special appearance, famous singer Nick Cave on the last 2 tracks. Nick Cave sings on the 2nd version of the title track, and his voice fits this song very well because it is so soothing and pleasant, and perfectly matches the mood of the track. He also contributes a spoken poem in the last song “Patripassian”, this song is quite similar to the intro track “The Long Shadows Fall” but a bit longer. The lyrics in this song are very interesting, and Nick Cave has the perfect speaking voice for such a piece.

For some, All the Pretty Horses is an album that will take a few listens to truly understand and appreciate, or like me, you will be able to recognize the genius of the album upon the very first listen. If a voyage of unique folk music that can be extremely moving and beautiful sounds appealing to you, than look no further than this album. All the Pretty Horses is home to everything that is good in neofolk music, and is a release that should be heard by one and all.

Recommended Listening:
-All the Pretty Little Horses
-The Blood Bells Chime
-The Frolic



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Angmar
August 16th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Review might suck because I'm still jet lagged and probably can't catch mistakes as well but I did my best, listen to the sample song, it rules.

foreverendeared
August 16th 2008



14678 Comments


i'll check this out. great review. no suckage found here

BallsToTheWall
August 16th 2008



44187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What forever said. I hope the first paragraph doesn't imply Nest or Empyrium guilty of the above.

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Angmar
August 16th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well no, Nest and Empyrium are hardly part of the neofolk scene anyway, this is a completely different style and group of musicians. Instead of being related to metal these groups are formed and associated more with industrial and noise artists.

foreverendeared
August 16th 2008



14678 Comments


hmmm after reading this again, the main complaint i have is you really only spend one paragraph on the actual music

Angmar
August 16th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

eh? :confused:

I spent only one paragraph talking about the instrumentation but I spend others talking about vocals, weak points of the album, describing a couple of the tracks, and lyrics which all add up to the actual music...

foreverendeared
August 16th 2008



14678 Comments


yeah that's what i mean, there's several talking about lyrics, one really short one describing the music in a couple tracks, a couple tracks you point out as low points but all you describe there is that one is "drone-esq." it's a really great review don't get me wrong, i'm just sayin you don't spend much time describing the actual music, just one paragraph. i don't know i haven't heard this so maybe one paragraph is good enough. i dunno

Angmar
August 16th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One paragraph is fine on the instrumentation because it's far from complicated, if I wrote more than that it'd be rambling, and I don't want to give EVERYTHING about the album away.

foreverendeared
August 16th 2008



14678 Comments


haha ok well sorry for nitpicking. i'm listening to the newer songs on myspace and they are so dark and beautiful. i love it. really poetic lyrics. this just oozes with artistry

Angmar
August 16th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah David Tibet is a very consistent artist, this is my favorite by him though. This Message Edited On 08.16.08

jrowa001
August 16th 2008



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album! glad to see your review of it. i still need to listen to it a few more times to give it a 5, but its damn near it alreadyThis Message Edited On 08.16.08

fireaboveicebelow
August 16th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Thunder Perfect Mind is more of a 5 than this but this isn't far behind

rasputin
August 17th 2008



14540 Comments


This album's name has been thrown around a bit on the forums, maybe it's time I checked it out. Good review.

Angmar
August 17th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really love Thunder Perfect Mind but this is just a bit better for me, thanks for the comments!

Silenius
August 25th 2008



302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well written, actually put a lot of focus on the lyrics and vocals which are such an important part of C93. Good review, very in depth and a very deserved high rating.

novaheat
September 26th 2008



2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just wanted to mention that on the first song ("Where the Long Shadows Fall"), it's not actually David Tibet intoning the words "Why can't we all just walk away?" It's actually the late Jhonn Balance of Coil, who was a frequent collaborator with folks like David Tibet and Douglas P.

Otherwise, a pretty good review. I'm glad you mentioned Tibet's vocals, as they are rather off-putting at first. Once you get used them though, there's a lot of emotion and depth there. As Silenius mentioned, the vocals are, in a sense, the real focus of C93 (not to take anything away from Michael Cashmore of Nature & Organisation, who took over musical composition duties from Douglas P.), so spending time talking about them is appropriate.

Personally, I like "Thunder Perfect Mind" more ("Hitler as Kalki" might be best thing Tibet has ever recorded), but this album is a close second, especially if you picked up the recently re-issued "Inmost Light Trilogy", with "All the Pretty Little Horses" packaged with "Where the Long Shadows Fall" and "The Starres are Marching Sadly Home" EPs.This Message Edited On 09.26.08

Angmar
September 30th 2008



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys, I'll edit in those changes later when I get some more time, glad to see some others who also greatly appreciate this.

Meatplow
June 10th 2009



5524 Comments


Good review Angmar.

I've fallen in love with this group, i'm yet to hear this however. Thunder Perfect Mind and Swastiskas For Goddy pretty much own my soul these days and I can't wait to catch up on all their other material.

BallsToTheWall
July 16th 2009



44187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Teh rulage.

Meatplow
July 16th 2009



5524 Comments


Can't wait to get to this, still working their way eagerly through their discography (theres so much of it!).



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