Swastikas for Goddy
is the 1988 album from experimental folk group Current 93, labeled by fans at the time as their "pop" album as previous to this a defined structure was often lacking in their compositions which had a lot more in common with the droning, abrasive sounds of early industrial music. The original title of the album was Swastikas for Noddy, but due to copyright infringement issues with the childrens television show of the same name in 1993 the album was re-released with the new title.
This album is best described as a rollercoaster of varied textures. Whilst the neo-folk aspect of the group formulated its origins here with the inclusion of lush acoustic guitars, the group was still prone to experimentation and never falls short of curious ideas. Benediction
begins the album with a suitably apocalyptic spoken word section by Current 93's singer and main man David Tibet, but it isn't until Blessing
kicks in that you know you are in for something different. A haunting, deep female voice paints an immeasurably dark soundscape all by itself which brings to mind the tradition of the monophonic compositions of medieval classical music. It feels like a distant fire, but the warm and nostalgic tenderness of it is completely heartwrenching.
Many of the tracks on Swastikas for Goddy
are mere soundbites, nearly half of the album is composed of tracks which are under two minutes in length and most of those are only under one minute. The traditional neo-folk acoustic guitar songs Current 93 are known for are here in force, songs such as North
, Black Sun Bloody Moon
, Oh Coal Black Smith
, The Final Church
, and Hello Angel
are suitably excellent and will satisfy any fans of their later material. Though there is some decidedly less polished off songwriting then that of Thunder Perfect Mind
and All The Pretty Horses
the group had a bolder tendency to experiment with unusual arrangements and subtleties, such as the rather creepy nursery rhyme accentuated by a lonely music box at the start of Black Flowers Please
(a similar motif is later used in(Hey Ho) The Goddy (Oh)
), the rest of the song being an acoustic ditty wrapped around a lo-fi drum machine. It's strange, but good.
is where the experimental side of the group really shines. The haunting female vocal element of Blessing
returns, coexisting this time alongside what sounds like a train stumbling along its tracks as well as samples from a classical opera piece. Once again this is a very bizarre composition, but a hypnotic one that just manages to be completely captivating somehow. When you thought things couldn't get any more off the wall they even manage to rope in Cajun music specialty act Beausoleil to guest star on the track... Beausoleil
. This song is long and repetitive, but quite upbeat and cheery as it does Cajun neofolk with some unusual samples ducking in out which is once again odd. The album ends with Valediction
, which features some strange male vocal shrieks that ultimately give way to closer Malediction
. This is basically a polyphonic extension of the monologue at the start of the album, which is fitting but inconsequential to the overall album.
Swastikas for Goddy
is the sound of Current 93 attempting to find a musical niche, perhaps feeling an increasing need to ditch the experimental sounds of old in favour of trying to properly flesh out some songwriting. As a result, it is a rather spastic effort at times with the number of tracks and their inconsistent average length but one that can only be admired for being unique despite all its flaws.