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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Tele.S Therion - Nature Unveiled [Radical Matters - 2010]

I have to confess I didn’t have very high hopes for this album when I read inside the sleeve of it that it was a concept album based on Current 93’ Nature Unveiled album from 1984. Albums based on other people’s albums or dedicated to particular people are one of my pet hates but I was pleasantly surprised by how good this actually is.

I’ve not been able to find out a huge amount about the people behind Tele.S Therion. They call their music acousmatic black metal. Acousmatic being a term related to Pierre Schaeffer the French musique concrete artist. He described acousmatic as  “referring to a sound that one hears without seeing the causes behind it.”   I’m not sure that’s an entirely accurate way to describe this as the means and method of the composition are fairly transparent. The instrumentation used is given on the sleeve notes so there is certainly no air of mystery about the causes of the sounds.  It has elements of metal but that’s tempered by the actual results being far more avant garde or experimental than your average black metal album. Metal tends to stick to a fairly rigid template whether it be speed metal, black metal or death metal (probably why we have so many metal sub generes). This album stretches the definition of metal to quite a length.

The sleeve notes give away a lot less than I would like but we find out that Tele.S Therion comprises of two individuals
S.G.: Eelectroacoustic phono-medianic record sessions of prepared electric bass guitar with metal coils, amplified in environmental feedback. Samples.

K11: Pietro Riparbelli Instrumental transcommunication actions with short-wave radio receivers. Medianic Chants.

I suppose you could take that as being prepared bass, short wave broadcasts and chanting.

If you get past all the hyperbole and actually listen to the album what you get is probably quite simple in its construction but nonetheless pretty effective.

I’m not sure in what way this relates to Nature Unveiled the only really similarity I can see is some of the vocal type sounds used on this album are of a similar style to those on Maldoror is Dead of Nature Unveiled.  But that aside what does this actually sound like. Well the five tracks all have a recurrent theme of a large blast of distorted bass repeating though out them. It sounds very much like someone slapping the bass very hard on open strings and looping the resonating sound. The sound being distorted quite radically. Add to that the randomness of short wave broadcasts ( a favourite of experimental musicians for eons) and some occasional deep throaty black metal growls or chanting and you have the basic set up of this album. Somehow it manages to create an atmosphere and feel that captivates you and keeps you listening. You do start to feel that perhaps it’s all becoming slightly repetitive but there are enough subtle differences to make going the whole length of the album seem perfectly sensible. It is undoubtedly an album that is based on one trick but when the trick is one that works as well as this then why change it.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

David Bourgoin
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