[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]
A couple of months ago, the announcement of the cooperation between the prolific genius of David Tibet from Current 93 with Killing Joke bassist Youth caused some sensation amongst the fans of post-industrial and dark music. That’s understandable: there are two highly inspirational musicians involved in the project and it’s natural for the specialized press and for the social media users to mount the same hype as when there is a new supergroup in the pop-rock field, on a slightly smaller scale. But Hypnopazūzu is not a merely commercial operation, as it became immediately clear to everyone when the teaser “Magog at the Maypole” was released. This track doesn’t sound as anything already heard from the two halves of the duo, it’s essential, but powerful and epic at the same time. The alchemy that these two musicians managed to put together, is far too deep and accomplished to dim Hypnopazūzu as just a side project, it claims all the attention that a regular release by Current 93 would deserve. In fact, as Tibet declared, there is a thematic link with his work with Current 93, as you understand by the lyrical leit motivs of his poetry that can be found through the album. But while in the latest works by the legendary and ever-changing apocalyptic-folk collective (most of all in “I Am the Last of all the Field that Fell”), Tibet’s charisma seems not to be enough to channel the individual efforts of all the excellent musicians in a fully focused output, here he seems to be more at ease.
His voice is unique, as always, but he has never been so melodic as here, he dares to push his vocal skills one step further and the results are surprising. Just listen to the hypnotic vocal line of the stunning opener “Your Eyes in the Skittle Hills” or the subsequent “Incidentally, Shaitan”, that brings my mind back to the classic album “Imperium”. Elsewhere Tibet’s voice reaches unprecedented peaks of intensity (“The Crow at Play”) and its snarling aggressiveness is enhanced by a skillful use of reverbs (“Christmas with the Channellers”). It’s almost as if without having a wide range of musicians to direct and control, Tibet feels more free to focus on the nuances of his interpretation and it was a long time since its ever more complex and detailed lyrical dreams were so tied with the music. The sumptuous orchestrations fit perfectly on the biblical verbosity of the lyrics and Youth’s style is one of a kind, blending psychedelic guitars to cinematographic symphonies and the distinctive filter-sweeps of the Moog synthesizer. He manages to write timeless scores that are halfway between a John Carpenter theme and the soundtrack of a ’60s peplum movie (“Pinocchio’s Handjob”, “Christmas with the Channellers”). In the end, each of the two components is fully aware of his role, but Hypnopazūzu is a creature that goes over the individual contributions of Tibet & Youth and that’s the best thing about “Create Christ, Sailor Boy”: there is something that is more than the sum of its parts, may it be the experience of these two musicians, their flawless interplay (it doesn’t seem possible that they didn’t cooperate again after the seminal “Nature Unveiled” in 1984), the aura of mystery around it or the otherworldly entities evoked in its realization, in one word: magic. “Create Christ” contains that hint of magic that lacks in much music that we hear nowadays and that makes an album worth listening again and again. An essential chapter in the story of this non-genre of music and already one of my favorites for 2016.