ETANT DONNÉS are one of these unclassifiable formations that no descriptive attempt can do justice to, all the more so as their artistic attitude is indissociable from their pursuit of the Being. From their first tapes to their CD, their films, their shows, their photographs or even their first vinyls (their first EP Plutôt l'exil du cinq doré obviously features some references to the alchemical phase of vegetation), it is the same vital thread that passes through their work, that magic of word and sound, image and love. Even though an exegesis of their works based upon a traditional and Hermetic science such as alchemy cannot be totally dismissed, it is, first and foremost, up to the reader of the work (who thus becomes an actor). Be it in the primordial chaos of their first pieces, animated by the heat of the secret alchemical fire, or in the fairy scene of sound colours of the Aurore-Royaume-Bleu trilogy, this link is algo made manifest through their films and shows. The gestural symbolics, the attitude, the sounds play a prominent role as well as the lighting effects that go from greens to reds, from a strobe-light opposition of blacks and whites until they focus into a golden maelstrom. Basically, ETANT DONNÉS are seeking for what Gurdjieff called objective art. That being the case, any analogy that can arise becomes natural, instinctive. Links can algo be established with the magical ritual, in the piece Je suis pour toi, for instance, when each one recites a part of the poem in our ears, in the same way as in Orphic communications.

"I saw the sky dotted with stars"
François Augiéras


AURORE, their first CD, released under the English label TOUCH, opens the triptych which is made of ambient sounds collected like dew from nature. Those sounds are then used as a sound texture for their poems, so as to make up one single entity. The sleeve of Aurore represents a man quenching his thirst from a lake of fire, from this alchemical fire-water, "this water that does not make hands wet". In Aurore, some convulsive movements establish a link with their earlier works, for instance that exuding scream, worthy of the one Artaud uttered in his legendary radio programme Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu. In the same way as the lull sets in after the storm, the rain, thunder, water -omnipresent in this CD - seem to herald the seven purifying baths the stone has to be submitted to, initiating the lunar phase.


KINGDOM, THEIR SECOND CD composed of four pieces only, is a kind of purifying travel through the four elements and symbolically refers to the light evoked by green colour, an allegory of the Grail and of the light-carrier angel. As to the poems, they tend to amount to their essentials, as is the case in "Matin", which is both Taoist and surrealistic :
"Run horse run
Sting bee sting
fIy fish fly
Burn miracle burn
How beautiful your eyes are when thvey look into empty space."


"Blue is the colour of extreme places,
of the last degrees that clase life,
of the light mist that swoops into nothingness,
and of the tips of the flames...
It comes close to the immobile
and withdraws from the mobile."

Ernst Jünger

THE CD THAT CLOSES THE TRILOGY, Bleu, even more serene, allows a light breeze to blow about, saying "everything is here", before you, like some evidence. As was the case with the previous recordings, amplified natural sounds, reduced to their essence, are unveiled and come to life with a heat that is almost more real than reality, as though to this day we had never been present, tuned in to the world, ETANT DONNÉS rediscover the Face Vert and unveil, in broad daylight, the atomic energy contained in every bit of the universe.
The resultant impression reminds you, to some extent, of certain self-possession techniques (Gurdjieff, Tchann, Dzog Chen...), more particularly those which rely on the support of the sound wall as a reminder of Oneself.
In the booklet accompanying Bleu, a trivial-Iooking photograph reminds us of a snapshot, taken by the follower Kamala-Jnana, of the peacock's tail in a state of putrefaction during which, we are told, "matter is most block and blood most red". During this very phase, as the alchemist Roger Caro explains, "the slightest bubbling of the liquid creates a fairy scene of colours". And it is precisely this rainbow, both sonorous and visual, of the Solve phase, that we are brought back to by the performances of ETANT DONNÉS, during which time seems to be alternately compressed and expanded. In their own way, ETANT DONNÉS perpetuate the very select circle of alchemist image-makers who, like Michel Maïers in his Atatanta Fugiens ou Lambpsrinck in
De Lapide Philosophico, drew up allegorically, poetically, and in a way intelligible only to the followers, the various phases of the microcosmic and macrocosmic magistery. "What is at the top is like what is at the bottom, for the miracle of one only thing"
Hermes Trismegistus

"Feelings in their essence are universal, cosmic things, that come true in various beings as the fire breaks out when the factors of combustion are combined. "
Julius Evola


IN Re-Up, more futuristic and electronic than their previous works, the Hurtado brothers, driven by a necessary need for ETANT DONNÉS to open up to others, appointed prestigious assistants: Alan Vega (Suicide), Lydia Lunch, Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV...) and Bachir Attar, a master Jajouka musician. Like the Ourobouros, the Hurtado brothers revive the violence of their début, yet with unquestionable maturity. The sounds race like electrons endlessly whirling around the atom, in the same way as Marc, like a star caught in the field of a planet, turns around Eric during the shows. Released a few weeks later, Offenbarung und Untergang, on a gripping reading by Michael Gira of the Swans, is a journey deep into the great Austrian poet Georg Trakl's work in black.
The music is slow, organic, dark and ambient with the collaboration of Mark Cunningham.
Oddly enough, some of Trakl's poems unveil, in their own way, a part of the phases of the Ars Regia magistery, although the latter must have been ignorant of the transformation processes of the stone.

Offenbarung und Untergang

LIKE TRUE JUGGLERS FROM ULTRA-WORLD, Eric and Marc succeed in achieving what many sages consider to be the very purpose of magical art: to create one's own ritual and, being one's own referent, to become a vibrating point in the cosmos and be a receptacle for natural energy, like those bright patches or that black point recurring in their symbolical films, real poems-paintings, and irremediably aiming, like an insect caught between the circle and the cross, in the heat of the sun in an attempt to merge with the Whole. But their art undoubtedly reaches its climax during their shows, when a breach is being opened through the interstice that leads to the intangible and when, after many electric and atomic shocks, both of their bodies end up embracing each other so as to form one single caduceus, the attribute of Hermes/Mercury, messenger of the gods.

1st postdata = "la vie nouvelle" 2002

2nd postdata = sol ixent