Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Current 93 - Live at the Roadburn Festival

Last Sunday - April 20th 2008 - I saw Current 93 (David Tibet supported by no less than eleven musicians) live at 013 venue in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Tibet's performance and its psychological effect on myself, reminded me strongly of the 1958 ethnography 'Voodoo In Haiti' by Alfred Métraux:

"The explanation of mystical trance given by disciples of Voodoo is simple: a loa moves into the head of an individual having first driven out the 'big good angel' (gros bon ange) - one of the two souls that everyone carries within himself. This eviction of the soul is responsible for the tremblings and convulsions which characterize the opening stages of trance. Once the good angel has gone the person possessed experiences a feeling of total emptiness as though he were fainting. His head whirls, the calves of his legs tremble; he now becomes not only the vessel but also the instrument of the god. From now on it is the god's personality and not his own which is expressed in his bearing and words. The play of his features, his gestures and even the tone of his voice all reflect the temperament and the character of the god who has descended upon him.


The preliminary crisis has a contagious effect, particularly upon people who are nervous or unstable. That is why the sight of a possession often has the effect of provoking others, not only among the hunsi who are ready to be ridden by the gods but also among the spectators who have come as visitors or out of curiosity.


Unlike an hysteric who shows his own misery and desires by means of a symptom - which is an entirely personal form of expression - the man who is ritually possessed must correspond to the traditional conception of some mythical personage.

And by which mythical personage is the man ritually possessed? By Walter Benjamin's angel of history:

"A Klee drawing named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

Post scriptum

I also met these very nice people (not familiar with their music, though).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fascinating.