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Marc Almond with Michael Cashmore - Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover

Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover is the first of a series of collaborative releases from Marc Almond and Michael Cashmore, the key composer behind Current 93 and solo artist who has recently recorded with Antony Hegarty on The Snow Abides. Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover features musical settings of two poems from the gay 19th Century decadent poet and author Count Eric Stenbock. Both tracks feature exquisite arrangements from Michael Cashmore of gentle finger picked guitars, piano and assorted stringed instrumentation. Using short phrasing and extended notes Almond's voice is free of any theatrics, allowing Cashmore's refined compositions space to flourish. And flourish they do with passages of lightly picked guitar, solemn strings and gentle piano notes, as Almond inhabits these romantic poems with a restrained purity weaving in and around the graceful swell of Cashmore's complex arrangements.

And when he sings on 'The Lunatic Lover' of a "face so brilliantly pale ... corpse-like refined ... and subtle coloured hair", he breathes life into words that almost describes Stenbock's exhibitionistic tendencies, in a poem rich with sexual imagery. The strange biography of Stenbock, who in his short life embraced alcoholism, drug addiction with a penchant for occultism, ensures Marc Almond is a more apt conduit for the setting of these Stenbock poems than Antony Hegarty who featured on Michael Cashmore's stunning previous release The Snow Abides. Of course, Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover will have obvious appeal to followers of Current 93 (David Tibet being a Stenbock obsessive, and publisher of many of his works) and Michael Cashmore through his previous work as Nature and Organisation to his recent solo material but the release of this CD also dovetails nicely with the relatively recent reissues of Almond's Absinthe and Jacques releases.

The sleeve and booklet of Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover are adorned with some stunning portraits of Marc Almond, with the texts to the Stenbock poems. Without a doubt a beautiful package and I for one can't wait for the next instalment from Marc Almond and Michael Cashmore. For more information go to or