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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently researched
If you're as obsessive about these three bands as myself, you've probably ordered this book already. However, if you balked at the price, you've made a mistake and should order it forthwith.
This is a remarkable book, full of insights from the main players, especially Balance, Tibet, and Stapleton, but you also get the views from their associates at various points...
Published on 19 Jun. 2003 by approachingdarknessfish

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15 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing�unbalanced account
I am a compulsive Coil fan and I really anticipated reading Keenan's book. Sadly my disappointment was manifest, as most of the book seems to be a series of pieces derived from previously published material. Early on, Keenan needed to distinguish between the various players in the Industrial genre. Most of those he mentions (C93, Coil, NWW, TG) have an appreciation of...
Published on 9 Sept. 2003 by Nilsson Ventoso


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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently researched, 19 Jun. 2003
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"approachingdarknessfish" (Wigan, Lancs, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: England's Hidden Reverse - A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground (Hardcover)
If you're as obsessive about these three bands as myself, you've probably ordered this book already. However, if you balked at the price, you've made a mistake and should order it forthwith.
This is a remarkable book, full of insights from the main players, especially Balance, Tibet, and Stapleton, but you also get the views from their associates at various points in their careers, from the likes of Danielle Dax, and Jim Thirwell(Foetus). What really marks this book out from the ordinary band biography, is the insights into the characters of each of these legends. David Tibet comes across as highly intelligent and honest about his work, John Balance more introverted than you would expect from his Coil persona, and Steve Stapleton has so little time for anyone else's music, unless it was early 70's German rock, it seems remarkable that he's still a recording artist.
That phrase though, sums up what these three bands are all about. They are recording 'artists', and as such, David Keenan has done an excellent job in chronicling their various musical and non-musical progressions.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully produced but lacks critical depth, 25 July 2003
This review is from: England's Hidden Reverse - A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground (Hardcover)
David Keenan has written extensively about these acts in the past and some of the book seems to be rehashes of some of those articles. C93/Coil/NWW are a fascinating phenomenon and this book deserves a great deal of credit for providing as full an account as we are likely to get. One gets the feeling that Keenan is perhaps too friendly with the protagonists too provide a truly critical edge that would have made the book indispensable. In particular the book ignores the flirtation with fascist imagery that this scene has used in the past. At least there is nothing from the odious Douglas P.
Production values are very high and the illustrations are both profuse and excellent. The free CD includes an excellent re-recording of older NWW tracks as well as C93 and Coil tracks that fans are already likely to own.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when you listen to Coil, C93 or NWW, do you think of music?, 16 Jun. 2003
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This review is from: England's Hidden Reverse - A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground (Hardcover)
Artist's biography books are a strange kind of literature, more often than not what you get it's just a mess of gossips mixed with second hand psychology explanation that miserably fail to really enlighten on what makes great Art from the dissected artist "real" life. Even worst than most are musician's biography, often simple depressing bad written fan rubbish.
There are exceptions, and the David Keenan book is one of this. It's a work of love for the art (music, painting, poetry) made by the people under the Nurse with Wound, Coil and Current 93 banners, and of love and admiration for those people itself. It's well written, well researched, and even if obviously you should have or should get a knowledge with the oeuvres the book chronicles, it has a life on his own (anyway a cd of music selected from the vast archive of the groups is included in the book). It's a book about obsessions: obsession by the writer and by the numerous worldwide fans (me too) for the secret history behind the often magical, deep, otherwordly, enlightening works of Coil, C93 and NWW, obsession that mirror those artist obsessions with underground, art, mystery, mystics, pataphisic, altered states, sex, religion (christianity, buddhism, asatru, paganism, shamanism), mirrors, time, drug, love, blood, cats, and the others great writers and painters and musicians of the past who charted similar territories. Based on interviews with the artist themselves, the book mainly paint a picture of the stories of Steven Stapleton, David Tibet, Jhon Balance, (former Throbbing Gristle) Peter Christopherson and their friends and relatives, but without being too much indiscrete on their privacy, focusing, as it's what really matter, on their artistic output. Said so, should I point some secondary remarks on the book? (for example: "hey Keenan, "the snow" and "windowpaine" are jewels!, what's your problem with dance music?") But since I liked to read it, didn't disappoint me, find interesting, and since C93, NWW and Coil are not only after 20 years still active but always improving (they have always been good but their work has gained levels of deepness with time and experience), I prefer wait another 20 years to read the due sequel, "England Hidden Reverse 2". Ciao.
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15 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing�unbalanced account, 9 Sept. 2003
This review is from: England's Hidden Reverse - A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground (Hardcover)
I am a compulsive Coil fan and I really anticipated reading Keenan's book. Sadly my disappointment was manifest, as most of the book seems to be a series of pieces derived from previously published material. Early on, Keenan needed to distinguish between the various players in the Industrial genre. Most of those he mentions (C93, Coil, NWW, TG) have an appreciation of the darker side of human behaviour and nature - as something to be explored rather repressed as Keenan asserts. Keenan makes no mention of the progression of Bands like Crisis who began as a dramatically anti-fascist, but as time progressed, the members increasingly romanticized German WWII imagery and themes and the line between fascism blurred. Death In June, which Tibet collaborated with, are often referred to by those in the know as a straight on Nazi band. What gives? Good news--the book is beautifully finished, excellent cover and typeset, but this does little to make up for Keenan's prose, which is bloated and baroque to the extreme. Finally, his constant fawning over Tibet is appalling. Leaves this reader feeling extremely short-changed. C-
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rites Ov Passage, 22 Jun. 2003
This review is from: England's Hidden Reverse - A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground (Hardcover)
'The true method of knowledge is experiment, the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences' William Blake
Sometime around 20 years ago a seismic though marginal creative tremor altered and scarred England's green and pleasant landscape forever. The eruptive reactions opened up a dark portal through which emerged outsider artists, musicians and sonic alchemists Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound. All three groups carrying with them a rare strain of virulent creativity which has continued to infect recorded sound, fine art and beyond ever since. In over 300 beautifully written and extensively illustrated pages author David Keenan has no truck with self theorising but instead cuts to the heart of his subjects with a scalpel sharp dissection presenting both the experienced believers and the newly initiated alike with a fascinating but accessible portrait which complements the unique universe inhabited by all three groups.
It is a story which details all the main musical and offshoot projects including psychedelic folk, otherworldly poetry, mutated acid house and sonic freakout. Taking in personal confessions, previously unseen photos, archived artwork and collaborative recollections, which serves to place the artists in the tradition of especially English deviant radicals such as obsessive occultists Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare, eccentric painters Louis Wain and Charles Sims and decadent writers such as Eric Count Stenbock and M R James. For me it is this very placing that gives both the book and the artists their greatest strengths, which certainly surpasses mere homage and instead ventures ahead as both a continuation and furtherance of the achievements left by these past marginals.
However at the heart of it all are the revelatory interviews with each of the central protagonists namely John Balance, Peter Christopherson, David Tibet and Steven Stapleton, who each makes no apologies for their outsider status. Indeed each has voluntarily journeyed to the outer reaches of human experience to report back their findings and inform their own and collective creative methods while simultaneously pursuing both personal demons and exposing the harshest truths in their quest to redress England's Hidden Reverse. If all of this sounds either breathtakingly strange or achingly pretentious then the book comes with a specially compiled free CD which provides an aural dimension for the reader to listen and engage with some of the most imaginative and influential music which has helped to both revitalise both the creative freedoms enjoyed by the avant garde and indeed to help warp popular culture in the process.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reprinting?, 17 Jan. 2010
Hi - I haven't gotten to read this book but am being tantalised by stories it's about to be reprinted.
(Jan2010). Any truth to it?
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