Current 93 is an eclectic British music group, working since the early 1980s in experimental-based musical forms. The band was founded in London, UK in 1982 by David Tibet (né David Michael Bunting, renamed 'Tibet' by Genesis P-Orridge sometime prior to forming the group).
Tibet has been the only constant in the group, though Steven Stapleton (of Nurse With Wound) has appeared on nearly every Current 93 release. Michael Cashmore has also been a constant contributor since Thunder Perfect Mind. Douglas P. of Death In June has played on well over a dozen Current 93 releases, and Steve Ignorant of Crass (using the name Stephen Intelligent), Boyd Rice, runologist Freya Aswynn , Nick Cave, Björk, Andrew W.K., Will Oldham, Ben Chasny, Rose McDowall, Tiny Tim, Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus, Marc Almond, John Balance of Coil, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, Baby Dee and Ian Read of Fire - Ice have also lent their talents over the years. Tibet is fond of the works of American writer Thomas Ligotti, and invited him to collaborate with Current 93.
Current 93 have released over twenty albums and many singles as well as having been a guest on many of the above listed artists' records. Tibet has also collaborated with Nature and Organisation and The Hafler Trio.
Much of Current 93's early work was similar to late 1970s and early 1980s industrial music: abrasive tape loops, droning synthesizer noises and Tibet's distorted, excoriating vocals. This early work became influential with the goth scene. Later works found Tibet mostly casting off such trappings in favor of a more organic sound, labeled by some as "apocalyptic folk" music, occasionally featuring his sinister nursery rhyme-influenced singing and primarily acoustic folk-styled music.
Tibet's lyrics have been fairly consistent, regardless of delivery: The earlier recordings reflect his preoccupation with death, Christ, mysticism, Aleister Crowley (Tibet borrowed the term "93 Current" from Crowley - the 93 Current being the current of Thelema or Agape), Tibetan Buddhism, Gnosticism, runes, swastikas, Noddy, The Wicker Man, and a variety of occult notions. The later to present-day period of Current 93's recordings increasingly reflect Tibet's interest in Christian mysticism. Tibet has stated that he identifies as a Christian.
Literary influences include Lautreamont's Les Chants de Maldoror, the Bible, The Poetic Edda, Hildegard von Bingen, John Dee, Heptarchia Mystica, The Thunder, Perfect Mind, William Blake, Louis Wain, writer Thomas Ligotti, occult British author Arthur Machen (originator of the title "The Inmost Light"), M.R. James's various ghost stories, The Cloud of Unknowing, Count Eric Stenbock, and Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker.
Musical influences include religious chants, traditional folk music, The Tam Lin ballad, The Incredible String Band, Sand, Comus, Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Love, Shirley Collins, some progressive bands such as Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and the British composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji.
David Keenan's book England's Hidden Reverse - A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground (SAF Publishing 2003) extensively covers Tibet's musical evolution along with that of Coil, Stephen Stapleton, and others.