Reissue of this 1999 collaboration between Etant Donnés (Eric & Marc Hurtado) and Michael Gira (Swans), featuring Mark Cunningham (Mars) and Saba Komossa (Delkom).
The album is based upon the text “Offenbarung und Untergang” (“Revelation and Demise”), written by the Austrian expressionist poet Georg Trakl in 1914. Trakl served as pharmacist on the front of World War I and was overcome by drug addiction when confronted with the overwhelming suffering he witnessed. In early November of 1914 at the age of 27 he took his own life via cocaine overdose at the military hospital in Krakow.
The Hurtado brothers create a fittingly eerie, somber and desolate soundscape as backdrop to Michael Gira’s reading and singing (in German) of Trakl’s equally somber poetic text. The music is filled with drones, noise, rumblings, bits of percussion, Gira’s deep and entrancing voice, Komossa’s sensual interventions and Cunningham’s martial trumpet.
From the opening moments, the listener is dealing with mysterious and menacing musical textures and the voice of Michael Gira that is slow, strange, nonchalant, sounding as under the influence of powerful narcotics. “Offenbarung und Untergang” is one of those unique and strong records which make you feel not completely the same before and after listening to them. The musical atmosphere and the hypnotic power of the voices make this album an intense, exciting and dark experience, as strange as unreal.