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Current 93 - Nature Unveiled

A welcome reissue by Durtro Jnana of Current 93's debut full-length album Nature Unveiled, originally issued on Belgium's Laylah Anti-Records in 1984. With the exception of a brief limited vinyl reissue in the late eighties and an appearance on CD in 1992 in an expanded format outside of the collector market Nature Unveiled has largely been unobtainable until now. Nature Unveiled plays an important role in the expansive Current 93 discography as it represented their first forays into eerie experimental soundscapes, a style Current 93 would return to over the years with varying degrees of effectiveness. This edition presents Nature Unveiled in its original format, consisting of two tracks, with reproductions of the original inserts, related ephemera and photographs of the individuals that comprised this formation of Current 93. As a bonus to mail order customers, the first 1000 copies include an extra disc of reinterpretations by Andrew Liles, the noteworthy sound experimentalist and present member of Current 93.

With a dog eared copy of Lautreaumont's Maldoror and a penchant for apocalyptic biblical texts Tibet and Current 93 who at this time comprised John Murphy, Annie Anxiety, Nick Rogers, Killing Joke's Youth and Nurse With Wound's John Fothergill and Steven Stapleton they set about creating a series of unsettling soundpieces that continue to reverberate today.

'Ach Golgotha (Maldoror is Dead)' creates an oppresive black atmosphere, centred around a loop of Aleister Crowley chanting "Om". Added to this are Christian chants, repeated heavy piano stabs, and some heavy droning adding texture. Tibet's frequent and unsettling cries of "Maldoror", are stretched, teased and treated adding further layers to the unfolding oppressiveness. It all may sound so simple but Nature Unveiled is an effective release, largely due to its construction by Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton who skillfully builds the sound up binding drones and frequencies to Tibet's heavily manipulated vocal before breaking into silence and starting up again, often with the addition of further elements. Towards the end you have the full gamut of sounds: Crowley's mantra, Tibet's possesed cry, and lashings of frequencies and bursts of percussion. The unsettling presence of 'Ach Golgothat (Maldoror is Dead)' is largely due to its pace and structure, and despite its general uneasiness and Tibet's occasional lapses to juvenile insults it, like the flip side 'The Mystical Body of Christ In Chorazaim (The Great In The Small)', displayed a coherence that was sadly lacking from the successive release Dogs Blood Rising.

'The Mystical Body of Christ In Chorazaim (The Great In The Small)' opens to the strains of a Biblical epic soundtrack, gently morphing into massed Christian chanting. The tone is heightened by the rabid tongues of Annie Anxiety, adopting a distressed persona her character delivering what sounds like a frantic prayer at the end of the world. Stapleton cleverly weaves the disparate textures creating an otherworldy aura. Disembodied wails and moans surface as orchestral sounds continue to imbue the music with unsettling religious and mystical overtones. The overall subdued tone of 'The Mystical Body of Christ In Chorazaim' has ensured that it has aged well. Only the electronic frequencies accompanying Tibet's anguished cries that appear towards the close are reminders of the time. Listening to this now it is something of a neglected piece in the vast canon of Current 93.

The same can't be said of 'Maldoror is Dead' a track that has figured prominently in the work of Current 93. David Tibet has noted that it was written during a particularly depressive period, folllowing the abortion of his child and his close proximity to a friend's death. These episodes undoubtedly had a profound effect on Tibet so much so that he has returned time and time again to the track. It featured on the first ever Current 93 tape, Mi-Mort, reappeared as this version on Nature Unveiled, and was scheduled to appear on Thunder Perfect Mind in an acoustic format.

Early Current 93 were intent on setting a mood, an atmosphere and on Nature Unveiled they certainly achieved it. Even 20 or so years later Nature Unveiled remains a potent and powerful work, characterised by interests that still obsess Tibet to this day. Little did he know that Nature Unveiled would summon a legion of imitators, and spawn a whole host of dark ambient and ritual industrial albums that would cite Nature Unveiled as their prime source of inspiration.

The accompanying Andrew Liles remix, Nature Revealed, is a worthy reinterpretation of the original release. 'Ach Golgotha (Maldoror is Dead)' is stripped apart and reassembled to produce an altogether different but powerful form, each section separated by the sudden crash of breaking glass. Liles proves adept at creating an atmosphere taking the listener through passages of gothic chants, layered drones with bells and suspended piano chords before introducing the voice of Tibet, culminating in a climax of frenzied noise. On 'The Mystical Body of Christ In Chorazaim (The Great In The Small)' Liles places greater emphasis on the biblical type soundtrack, adding a weeping violin score to the religious music. Drones reverberate below. It's like listening to a requiem for end times. The fervent babble of Annie Anxiety and sound of children flicker through the imaginary dreamspace. Mammoth shifting tones signify destruction as sirens wail heralding the end of the world. An alarm clock rings as it descends into silence before reawakening with the frequencies and rhythms of the Current 93 debut release Lashtal.

Nature Unveiled remains a fantastic release, and with the accompanying CD of Andrew Liles remixes it is more than recommended. For more information go to www.durtro.com or www.jnanarecords.com