Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto have a considerable amount of music history behind them, and with Hackedepicciotto, the couple have gradually transmuted that history into some form of audio and visual intrigue. The Current marks the pair’s fourth album under the moniker, one which they have described as a soundtrack to “an apocalyptic feature-length film, hopefully with a happy end.” That description is as good as any since these 11 tracks each weave through instrumental passages that are as dissonant and discordant as they are enchanting; from de Picciotto’s classical training, we are treated across The Current to the familiar cries, howls, and slithers of violin mixed with the thrums of autoharp and the hurdy gurdy, while Hacke’s distinct and distorted bass tone pervades each track with the kind of guttural pulse that has made him one of industrial music’s most celebrated progenitors. The use of electronics throughout is subtle, the pair relying on them to color the breathier, more organic ambience created by the more unorthodox instrumentation. For instance, celestial tones and arpeggios add flavor to tracks like “Petty Silver,” in which a somewhat broken music box melody plays atop a mechanical loop that underscores a bewitching and slowly read spoken word, or on the epic “Third From the Sun” as the distant howls of what could be an electronic brass section give way to tribal drumming patterns and the wax and wane of glitched sequences; a danceable drumbeat enters, the atmospheric cacophony gradually reaches a tense crescendo, and the song finally dissipates into nothingness, making the longest track on the album its most sonically potent. The same can be said of “The Seventh Day” with its subtle interplay of arpeggiated electronics and rapid fire bass progressions, along with beautiful vocal harmonies that make for a darkly pleasurable track, and while the glitched samples of breakbeat loops seem to punch the listener’s ears amid scattered scrapes of metal and a reverberant spoken word on “Metal Hell,” one can’t help but be reminded of Einstürzende Neubauten. Also notable is Vincent Signorelli’s drumming on “Onwards,” which somehow evokes a martial or perhaps Celtic vibe, as well as the overlapping of spoken word passages and heavily effected vocal melodies on “The Black Pool,” all relating the ills of life in a post-modern 21st century world, with the statement of “we have to create our own reality” feeling all too relevant; as the track fades out with layers of flowery ambience and static noise, it’s a rather ambiguous conclusion, but one that truly conveys the duo’s hope for that happy ending. As Hacke and de Picciotto have been members of or have collaborated with members of Neubauten, Crime & The City Solution, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, it is difficult for Hackedepicciotto to escape such comparisons; indeed, the couple do craft their own unique vision of neo-noir dark cabaret rock and proto-industrial sound collages, but this can only encourage those with an interest in these sounds to get swept up in The Current. It might be somewhat esoteric, but the pair exhibits a vibrant energy that invites repeated listens to discover new elements in the dense mix, and to get lost in the expanse of a desolate world in need of hopeful souls to repopulate it.