Hell of a prospect here: Italian noise-metal-jazz monolith band Zu and mystik English Current 93 troubadour David Tibet in collaboration. Surprisingly enough, what comes out is in many places soft, sensitive and melancholy, marshalling strings and acoustic guitars alongside Tibet’s incantations. Mirror Emperor is released on House Of Mythology.
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- HOM011LP / Limited edition of 600 copies, black vinyl LP on House of Mythology, incl. thick (350gsm) card stock sleeve with matte varnish, printed inner sleeve, an additional 4-page booklet of lyrics and artwork and protective PVC sleeve
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- HOM011LPR / Limited edition of 400 copies, red coloured vinyl LP on House of Mythology, incl. thick (350gsm) card stock sleeve with matte varnish, printed inner sleeve, an additional 4-page booklet of lyrics and artwork and protective PVC sleeve
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Neo-folk’s got portmanteaus now. Check it out: Zu93, a word-melding that joins bands Current 93 and Zu in an irreversible unison. A collaboration for only the darkest recesses of the mind, ‘Mirror Emperor’ is an expansive and distinct set, keen to point out it is “Not Zu & David Tibet (Current 93)”, but a new project with its own dour characters and haunted landscapes.
I would argue David Tibet’s aesthetic trappings are quite inescapable, though: the stage-like pontifications that voice the record feel typical of his folkloric tone, like a glowing talisman guiding the way through strange, spectral environments. The music below shows Zu and Tibet at their most vulnerable and, often, serene, with nylon-plucked guitars offering patterns that dance like light rain and a hilltop breeze. Juxtaposed with the usual sense of dread, the record also serves as a harsh noise pantomime, the strings of “Enters to the Mirror Emperor” both intimate and regal at once, the hopeless doom folk of “To the Mirror Emperor” encasing its listener in a temporary tomb. It is a record of knife twistings, one that can be unnerving and punishing before offering gentle folk paeans.
What ‘Mirror Emperor’ scans as is a kinda imperial myth retold as fable, like a children’s story a little too bloodbathed to be appropriate. It is its own, new story, one that proves Zu93 would do well to keep imagining worlds together. With strings. Keep using strings.
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