01 Moon's Milk or Under an Unquiet Skull (Part One)
02 Moon's Milk or Under an Unquiet Skull (Part Two)
03 Bee Stings
05 Summer Substructures
06 A Warning from the Sun (For Fritz)
Amethyst Deceivers (Unlisted)
02 Rosa Decidua
04 The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant
05 Amethyst Deceivers
06 A White Rainbow
08 Magnetic North
09 Christmas is Now Drawing Near
Collects the four singles: Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice.
Most fans have probably collected each one of the seasonal Solstice & Equinox singles back when they were released in 1998. Now that they're long out of print, a reasonably priced collection takes their place. With one slight addition: a live version of "Amethist Deceivers" recorded somewhere in Europe in 2001. The first phase: the Spring Equinox single, "Moon's Milk or Under an Unquiet Skull," was their first release with then full-time member, violist Bill Breeze. It's comprised of two drone-a-licious 8+ minute parts which sound pretty much like different takes on the same track. The next single, the Summer Solstice is made up of four vocal songs featuring viola and mad electronics. "Glitch" artists could easily learn something about song composition and using the laptop noise as a piece of the puzzle rather than isolate it and bore the listener. Disc two features phases three and four, with guests like Rose McDowell on the dark masterpiece, "Rosa Decidua" and their version of "Christmas is Now Drawing Near". Autumn's five songs to me don't seem terribly seasonally thematic, not nearly as much as songs "Summer Substructures" and "Bee Stings" from the summer EP and "A White Rainbow" and "Christmas" from the winter EP. I distinctly remember being the most excited about the Autumn release songs. Over three years later, "Switches" and "Amethyst Deceivers" still bring chills to my spine. Here, the group ran the spectrum from electric charges to thunderous percussion holding nothing back. The roar of the dark winter rolls in for the winter EP, which lyrically almost attempts to tie a connection as Balance sings, "Moon's milk spills from my unquiet skull and forms a white rainbow." Once again, the music also jumps around from styles, through glitch and viola vocal tracks to a reverberant sound collage, a serene digital bubblebath with spoken word, ending up on the string heavy Christmas song with Rose. It's a pain indeed to buy these all over again, and Coil have alluded to a live release so the bonus track could very well surface somewhere else. It's nice to have all the songs together without having to switch CDs every 25 minutes. - Jon Whitney
Buy Here (disc 1) [Digital Format + Images]
Buy Here (disc 2) [Digital Format + Images]
02 The Coppice Meat
03 Ü pel (Insense Offering)
Intended to be limited to 300 copies included with initial mail orders of Moon's Milk (In Four Phases), although some copies were made available seperately.
Each CD comes in a cardboard sleeve that is hand painted, signed and inscribed. Most are numbered, although some numbers were used more than once. Most include a signed Polaroid photo as an insert.
The inscriptions include the following:
7 - Urban Legends Discussed Over Higuids
13 - The Sound Of The Waves Lulled Him Into A Deep Blue Revery
13 - Witches Dance In Colours Through My Dreams
15 - Never Sits Down Nor Sleeps At Night
19 - Care Should Be Taken Not To Give A Second Dose
31 - Sleepiness And The Dazed State Combined (In The Dream Of The Flightless Turkey Bird)
33 - We Marvelled At The Moss Under The Pier
48 - My Demon Brother
53 - Dreams Before Bedtime
54 - When Everything Seems To Go Round
56 - 2 Telephone Calls
59 - Chinese Mountain Range
60 - Bright Lights And Cats With No Mouths
61 - Fantastic And Ants - Naturalistic
61 - Marakesh Mouthfulls
64 - Jealousy
65 - Careful What You Wish For (Black Sun Over Vesuvius)
66 - The Owl Service
67 - Is Nichola Bowery Pregnant Again?
70 - The Ghost Of A Carrier Pidgeon
75 - The King Is Dead
80 - It Just Is...
82 - Ploughed Fields Of Benzedrine
83 - My Bloodstream
85 - Hallucination Mass, Hallucination
86 - Standing Stone, Whirling Dervish
94 - You Can't Let Go
134 - Manoevering To Extract The Unique Mineral
135 - Spirits Of The Whispering Forests Or A Place To Bury Strangers
136 - It's In The Trees, It's Coming
151 - Falling Spirits (Descent From Hell)
156 - Scooby-Doo Skinned & Nailed To An Oak Tree
no number - Off The Coast Of Northern California, Kelp-Storms
After months of agonized waiting and much hand wringing, Coil has mailed out all 300 copies of the special edition of "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)" double CD set with a bonus, exclusive CD-R of brand new material. This bonus disc was recorded last Winter Solstice - December 21, 2001 ev. The special sets were supposed to be burned over that weekend and shipped out before X-Mas, however, all of us that ordered have had to show the ultimate patience to wait until early March to see the package. One begins to feel a tad pathetic, looking forlornly at the mailbox every day waiting for the treasure to arrive. The sinking feeling sets in that perhaps the music will not have been worth all of the build-up and anticipation; what if it's totally worthless and anticlimactic? Can you justify having paid $85 for this stupid CD-R? Have you become obsessively insane?
Then, all at once, the package arrives, like an enormously belated X-Mas present. You hold your breath as you tear open the package with the trademark Threshold House stamp affixed to it. Inside: a plastic sleeve housing the white cardboard slipcase the CD-R is housed in. On the outside of the package, thick mottled paint forms abstract patterns. Bright colored splotches and dark, veiny paint traces cover its surface. Each sleeve is an original artwork created by Coil. Inside each sleeve is a poloroid taken during Coil's Winter Solstice musick ritual. Yours probably contains a sunrise, a plastic reindeer, a church steeple, electrical high-wires, or maybe even a UFO...who knows? Each copy has a different name; mine is called 'It Dries Up Everything It Comes Across." Maybe yours is called "Harry Potter's First Dose of LSD" or "Marrakech Mouthfuls." So far, so good...
The CD-R is completely blank, no art or track names printed; just translucent iridescent plastic. Track one begins: your fear and anguish immediately subside with the rise of warm, attenuated bell tones. This sixteen-minute ambient track sounds like wind chimes slowed down a modulated for maximum pleasurable drone. Then suddenly, Jhon Balance darkly intones: "You look on it with a sense of dread." His voice shifts positions and replies: "Gazing upon it with a sense of dread." Then the bell tones are drawn out for an eternity, it seems, while Balance weaves his beautiful and disarming monologue about edible birds. The second track begins with profoundly haunting orchestral synthesizer drones overlapping as Balance dramatically interprets a mystical/existential poem by Angus MacLise. Incredibly haunting. Track three is all instrumental, with some playfully cosmic vintage synth melodies, reminiscent of Kraftwerk's "Spacelab." This track develops in a complex, kaleidoscopic way towards its ghostly conclusion.
Bottom line: Coil has not disappointed in the slightest with this release. They continue to reward their devoted listeners with some of the most innovative and inspiring electronic experimental music being made today. This CD-R is worth the money and the wait. Coil is very aware that the total exclusivity of projects such as these adds an extra, "occult" esotericism to the experience that makes the musick that much more amazing. Bravo. - Jonathan Dean
disc 1 [The Remote Viewer - Original Version]
01 Remote Viewing 1
02 Remote Viewing 2
03 Remote Viewing 3
disc 2 [Bonus CD Of Unreleased/Reworked Material]
01 Remote Viewing 4
02 Remote Viewing 5
Published as a limited CD-R to be sold at their recent European appearances, Coil's latest EP is a beautiful and stunning piece of work. It consists of a nearly 20 minute instrumental piece in two versions—a "prepared" improvisation with their current tour lineup: Michael York on breton pipes, Cliff Stapleton on hurdy gurdy and a subtile, percussive groove underlayed by various electronic devices of Mr's. Balance, Christopherson and Norris. The main feeling this recording conjurs up for me is one of an unexperienced nostalgia—like an unsure longing for life during an ancient time. Danny Hyde returns to Coil's mixing desk to collaborate on "Remote Viewing 3" and the interlude, "Remote Viewing 2," which seems to be constructed mainly out of parts of the original recording session with added and altered sounds and vocal snippets. "2" works perfectly as a bridge between the two lengthy parts when listened in one go, but doesn't stand out as a strong piece when singled out. Coil have easily managed to surpass any expectations and leave me anticipating the next 'proper' release. It would be a loss, however, if the music on this release wasn't reissued in another form for more to hear. - carsten s.
01 I Am Angie Bowie (Sine Waves)
02 Last Rites Of Spring
03 Are You Shivering?
04 Amethyst Deceivers
05 A Warning From The Sun
06 The Universe Is A Haunted House
08 I Don't Want To Be The One
09 Bang Bang [Sonny Bono]
10 An Unearthly Red
Recorded in Prague on October 29 and Vienna on October 29, 2002.
Also issued in the Live Box.
This documents the Coil concerts that took place throughout Europe in the fall of 2002. As such, it is the most eclectic of the four discs, containing four songs that have never been on an album, and several other songs rarely performed in their live shows. "I Am Angie Bowie (Sine Waves)" opens the disc, with its mind-scraping oscillations and Balance's absurd shouts of "I am Angie Bowie! No!" For the next song, Coil resurrect the long-discarded track "Last Rites of Spring" from Gold is the Metal, and expand it into a 10-minute excursion paying homage to the author of Naked Lunch and Electronic Revolution: "William S. Burroughs is hallucinating is space," intones a confident Balance. "Are You Shivering?" and the omnipresent "Amethyst Deceivers" are more or less faithfully reproduced here. John Balance's playful audience-baiting is in rare form on "The Universe is a Haunted House" as he darkly intones "I'm not here..." out of the left stereo channel, then answers "I am there..." from the right. The song unexpectedly mutates into a shattering reprise of Coil's acid rave classic "Windowpane." The mix is just right on this disc, with vocals and music well-balanced and reproduced crisply for home listening. "Bang Bang" is the rare instance of Coil covering someone else's song, in this case a Cher (!) ballad penned by the late Sonny Bono. Balance's delivery is solemn and haunting, turning the song into an icy murder ballad, although I can't help but be amused by Coil's outrageously campy choice to cover this song. The disc ends with the scary bombast of "An Unearthly Red," a noisy, industrial invocation of war: "I didn't want to do it!" screams Balance, "God told me to do it!" A computer-animated flight simulation ending with a harrowing crash into the World Trade Center accompanied this song in concert. - Jonathan Dean
01 Anarcadia: All Horned Animals
02 Amethyst Deceivers
04 A Cold Cell
06 Paranoid Inlay
07 Sick Mirrors (Version)
Recorded in Bologna, April 6, 2002.
Also issued in the Live Box.
This documents a Spring 2002 show performed in Bologna. It was an interesting period for Coil performances, as Thighpaulsandra temporarily left the line-up to tour with Spiritualized. To make up for his noticeable absence, Peter and John enlisted Mike York and Cliff Stapleton to fill in with hurdy-gurdy and Breton pipes. This new, exotic instrumentation adds an unstable, organic element to the performance that works well with the setlist chosen for these shows. The disc opens with the ritualized workout of "Anarcadia: All Horned Animals." If you've heard The Remote Viewer EP, these ethnic-inflected drones will sound very familiar, not entirely dissimilar from Taj Mahal Travellers or The Magic Carpathians at their most psychedelic. "Amethyst Deceivers" is here again, one of four slightly variant versions available in the box set. The classic track "Slur" from Horse Rotorvator is given a faithful rendition, but Balance's voice is not quite equal to the job of singing this one, and Marc Almond's backing vocals are sorely missed. Balance dedicates "A Cold Cell" to all the prisoners of the world, as well as those "in prisons of their own making." It's always been a haunting song, and the live version enhances its lonely, melancholic atmosphere. Track six is an accomplished recreation of "Paranoid Inlay" from Musick To Play in the Dark 2, even though the tracklisting on the back of the digipack omits it completely. "Sick Mirrors (Version)" is a meditation on the concept of remote viewing utilizing dense Middle Eastern melodies. The song seamlessly segues into a frighteningly intense version of "A.Y.O.R.," the second of three songs in this set that may have been destined for Coil's long-promised-but-never-delivered Nothing Records album, now referred to as The World Ended a Long Time Ago. "Backwards" ends the set, a joyous psychosexual EBM bacchanalia, with Balance uttering some of his most transgressive lyrics: "Fuck me in reverse/Normal is perverse/Everything's backwards." This disc would be perfect were it not for a rather nagging problem with the mixing, which seems to favor Balance's vocals and pushes much of the music into a muddy, nebulous background. Even with the technical difficulties, Live Three is an essential chronicle of one of Coil's most inspired shows. - Jonathan Dean
Coil's Live Three is a show from Bologna, in 2002. At the time, Thighpaulsandra was on leave from Coil, touring with Spiritualized. In his place, John Balance, Peter Christopherson and Ossian Brown brought in Mike York and Cliff Stapleton. York's Hurdy Gurdy and Stapleton's Breton Pipes bring a wonderful new element to Coil's sound, a subtle feeling that everything is slightly unstable or askew. This time, three otherwise unavailable tracks appear, making this album essential for fans. "Anarcadia: All Horned Animals" is a ritual invocation to the muse, a dark-ambient beginning to the show, similar to the "Zwolf" EP by Coil's alter-ego ELpH. "Sick Mirrors (Version)" is a tribal percussion piece with Middle Eastern melodies and Balance's signature spoken-sung vocals. "Backwards, " the title track to the lost album that was to appear on Trent Reznor's nothing label, is a great groover, with a bouncing bassline and an absolutely ranting Balance in full-command of the stage. Of the unreleased tracks on all four live tracks, this is the best. Definitely worth picking up for both casual and hardcore fans. - James Mason...From Allmusic
First sold at Mutek 2003 concert in Montreal, Canada
Originally came in a black C-shell case.
Came in the Live Box.
In addition to some suitably odd printed art cards and scrying mirrors, every live box set also includes a black plastic clamshell containing this, a tour-only CD available at some of Coil's most recent shows. ANS contains three long tracks of about 20 minutes each, consisting solely of tones made with the Russian ANS synthesizer. Invented by Eugeny Murzin in 1938, only one ANS synthesizer has ever actually been built, and it sits neglected and obscure, collecting dust in the basement of Moscow State University since 1958. Coil were given access to experiment and record with the strange machine, and their experiments are chronicled on this disc. ANS is a "photoelectric" instrument that produces music via a completely unique process. The user must inscribe a series of line drawings that represent visible sound waves onto a series of glass discs. The shape, location and nature of the drawings determines the sound that the synthesizer produces, which encompasses the entire range of audible sound, 720 pure tones. Unfortunately, the fascinating history and musical theory behind the ANS instrument is ultimately far more interesting than the music Coil has managed to make with it. While there are many dramatic points of convergence buried within these abstract, long-form compositions, the overall effect is of dilettantes noodling around with an unfamiliar piece of equipment that reportedly takes years to properly master. Though there are some parts of ANS that are reminiscent of Time Machines, none of these pieces has the trance-inducing intensity of that album's minimalist drones. Reportedly, Coil are remixing and expanding ANS into an official double album release scheduled for later this year. Perhaps with a bit of the signature Coil touch added to these naked tones, this material will come alive. As it stands, ANS is a fascinating but musically non-compelling tangent into the avant-garde realm of theoretical music. - Jonathan Dean
If anyone could make something as dry and academic as Musique Concrête into intense, ferociously sexy ear candy, it would have to be Peter Cristopherson and John Balance. This release is the duo's contribution to Beta-Lactam Ring Records' terrific Lactamase series: a subscription series of twelve 10" vinyl records by some of today's best and brightest underground, avant-garde and esoteric musical projects. The series has included some amazing releases from Edward Ka-Spel, Volcano the Bear and Tony Conrad, but the most highly anticipated release is certainly Coil's masterful grand finale to the series. Coil's two-sided 10" occupies a unique place in their discography. It is a truly awe-inspiring tangent into the rarefied realm of musique concrête abstractionists such as Iannis Xenakis, Tod Dockstader and Luc Ferrari. There has always been an element of these musical progenitors in Coil's musick, but their penchant for structured, vocal-driven "songs" have prevented them from ever fully engaging their abstruse tendencies. Both sides of the 10" use the same basic sounds and techniques, but the sculpturing takes different forms on either side. Side A, or "The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence I," introduces the sound palette: a chorus of digital buzzes, stutters and skips that occupy the soundfield at different pitches and volumes. This music is very dimensional, seeming to fly into one's ears at a myriad of different angles. Soon, the high-end stutters are joined by a series of quasi-rhythmic metallic throbs, like the alternating whirr of a flying saucer engine. These elements are then edited, overdubbed and sculpted into dramatic convergences of sound that alternately pierce, arouse and frighten. So many faintly recognizable sounds can be heard in this midst of these abstractions, but the listener cannot discern which are placed there intentionally and which are an accident of subjectivity. A chorus of bone saws, a squeaking hinge, high-pitched shrieking, a mutated voice, swooping metallic shards, granular static: all of these sounds sneak out of the noise over the course of the piece. Side B, or "The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence II," uses the same set of aural phenomena, but this time snatches of recognizable melody become obvious as the piece unfolds. Jhon Balance's warped vocal hiccups from track two of The Remote Viewer are re-used, albeit in a completely inscrutable form, sounding like a swarm of bees frantically trying to communicate with the human race. Halfway through, there is a shocking increase in volume and intensity as the piece gains momentum. It is here that we see Coil's personality come through; this piece, however chaotic, has the same epic sweep as their Love's Secret Domain-era acid house excercises, and all of the dark, hedonistic atmosphere. This 10" manages to be both a brilliantly mature dip into abstract electronic music, and twisted, uber-Pagan ritual musick. After more than 20 years, Coil is still perfectly balancing this strange dichotomy and creating something wholly unexpected and wonderful with each new release. - Jonathan Dean
01 Something / Higher Being's Command
02 Amethyst Deceivers
03 What Kind of Animal Are You?
04 Blood from the Air
05 The Green Child
06 Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil
Recorded in Moscow on September 5, 2001.
Also issued in the Live Box.
Coil's Moscow performance in the Fall of 2001 is documented here, soon after their brief stateside visit. Like the NYC show, the Moscow performance went under the banner "Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil," a tight, energetic performance highlighting Coil's most confrontational material. This is my personal favorite of the four periods of Coil's live shows, simply because Coil seemed at this stage to be perfectly in control of their audience, skillfully heightening tension and confounding expectations, all the while subliminally projecting their bizarre brand of personal empowerment propaganda onto the unwitting observers. This Moscow performance seems to be the absolute zenith of the "Constant Shallowness" show, which is why the bad mix on tracks like "What Kind of Animal Are You?" is very disappointing indeed. The officially sanctioned bootleg CD-R recording of the NYC show actually boasts superior audio, which is surprising considering Coil's usually scrupulous attention to their production fidelity. Still, this performance is very impressive, especially the pitch-perfect rendition of Horse Rotorvator's "Blood From the Air." The final, apocalyptic blowout of "Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil" begins with Balance satirically answering some vicious rumors printed in a Russian publication: "We've heard that some of you may have read that we eat human flesh. However, we only do this on religious holidays." Coil then launch into a lengthy noise assault specifically formulated to exorcise you of demons and brainwash you of all your previous learning, leaving you vulnerable for Coil's subliminal psychobabble. "God please fuck my mind for good!" screams a wrecked Balance, stealing a line from Captain Beefheart's "Making Love to a Vampire With a Monkey on My Knee." If you manage to make it to the end of this exhausting set with your sanity intact, you may truly grasp Coil's final motto "Persistence is All." - Jonathan Dean
disc 1 [Recorded At The Royal Festival Hall, 02-04-00]
01 Everything Keeps Dissolving
02 Queens Of The Circulating Library
disc 2 [Recorded At Sonar Festival in Barcelona, 17-06-00]
01 Everything Keeps Dissolving
02 Amethyst Deceivers
04 The Universe Is A Haunted House/Chasms
Disc A recorded at the Royal Festival Hall on April 2, 2000.
Disc B recorded at Sonar festival in Barcelona on June 17, 2000.
Also issued in the Live Box.
The last in the live series is a 2-CD set beautifully packaged in a foldout digipack. The two discs document the first two Coil performances of the new millennium, focusing on their Time Machines material. It must have been terribly exciting for the audience at the Royal Festival Hall in April of 2000 to hear the opening tones of "Everything Keeps Dissolving," this being Coil's first true live concert other than some sallow, abortive attempts made in the early 80's. Coil no doubt practiced for months, as they show no signs of unease in unveiling their polished live presence. Disc one originally saw limited release as Time Machines Live only available with mail order copies of Musick to Play in the Dark 2. It's swell for this material to be widely available, as it is truly a great concert and a flawless recording. At this early stage in Coil's performances, John Balance had not yet adopted the dancing, screaming, extroverted lunatic personality he was to unveil in later shows. Therefore, the three tracks that make up the London show contain no live singing, just a series of enraptured electronic oscillations that twist around the brain, wiping out all thought but an extreme sense of dislocation and confusion. "Queens of the Circulating Library" utilizes samples of Thighpaulsandra's opera-singing mum Dorothy Lewis, together with digital arpeggiations and sexy purrs from a wounded synthesizer. "Chasms" flirts close to Tangerine Dream territory, a swirling circulation of warm synthesizer tones that unfold like a Russian science fiction film. Disc two comprises Coil's terrific performance at Barcelona's Sonar festival in June of 2000. It repeats the same songs from disc one, but adds three new songs to the setlist, including the fourth and final permutation of "Amethyst Deceivers." Bill Breeze plays viola throughout the entrancing set, adding some beautiful neo-classical flourishes. "The Universe is a Haunted House," a line taken directly from Burroughs' Naked Lunch, is present in a much more nascent version than the one heard on Live Four. Unfortunately, this disc suffers from two problems. First, the audio source used for this release was not made from the soundboard, but is rather a recording by a member of the audience. While pains have been taken to clean up the sound, the audio does suffer from the technical problems inherent in bootleg recordings, including annoying audience chatter and trebly distortions. Second, although the digipack lists six tracks, the CD only contains five tracks, the last two apparently having been accidentally merged. Still, this is a rather impressive bootleg recording, and these problems can easily be forgiven and the concert still enjoyed. We hear Jhon Balance step to the front for the first time, delivering a series of blood-curdling screams on "Elves," once again making a play for the title of the most warped vocalist in music today. - Jonathan Dean
bootleg [cd 2]
inlay [cd 2]
Live One [2XCD]
When it was announced that Coil would play their first live show in North America on August 18, 2001, I was shocked by what seemed like an incredible series of synchronicities. I had long considered Coil to be one of my favorite bands, but I thought there would be little or no chance of ever seeing them play live. Though they had recently begun playing select concerts at some classy venues and festivals in Europe, they just seemed far too shadowy, eccentric and English to ever grace American shores. Strangely, the day announced for the concert was not only my birthday, but my 23rd birthday, a number commonly involved with synchronicity, and a number often mythologized by Coil themselves. Also, before hearing the announcement, I had already planned a trip to New York City to celebrate my birthday. It seemed as if mysterious forces had aligned in to make certain that I would not miss this Coil performance. However, I did not have very high expectations for the concert itself. Sure, Coil were mind-bending and transcendent on record, but how could their complex, studio-hermetic sound possibly translate into a meaningful live show? Coil's live performance is a revelation; a powerful, dramatic explosion of dynamic energy, every bit as impressive as their recorded output, but somehow even more potent and overwhelming. The absolutely massive sound achieved by Sleazy's digital programming, Thighpaulsandra's soaring synthesizers and Jhon Balance's possessed outbursts clearly needed proper documenting on record. Recently, Coil inaugurated a backwards-unfolding series of four live CDs, each documenting a different "age" of their constantly evolving live show. To those willing to shell out nearly $200, Threshold House also offered a limited box set of all four discs, together with two extra CD-Rs and "art objects" allegedly "loaded with magickal intent". - Jonathan Dean
Recording of Coil's live appearance as part of the Megalithomania! Festival
on October 12th 2002 at The Conway Hall, London.
The single track is a 40 minute variation/permutation
on "The Universe is a Haunted House".
This limited edition release was available only as part
of a mail order box set of the Live series.
The box also included the ANS tour edition CD and various art objects.
With each box set, Coil includes a CD-R of their performance at the Megalithomania! Festival. This disc cannot be purchased separately, and is available only as part of the limited edition box. It's a very nice bonus indeed, as this performance is unique among Coil's live history, and marks a sort of turning point for the group. Megalithomania! was a celebration of sacred sites and standing stones as expressed through history, folklore, art and sound. Basically, everything that Julian Cope was on about in his mammoth tome "The Modern Antiquarian." For this special event, Coil performed a long, drawn-out permutation on "The Universe is a Haunted House," turning the piece into a slowly evolving ambient sound sculpture involving the ghostly sound of water droplets, quietly droning synths, and a particularly spectral vocal improvisation from Balance. As reported by many people who attended the event, there seemed to be a strange rift between Balance and Sleazy, evidenced by John's agitated screaming: "Why are you here? Why are you here?" Balance's statement that "we are the alien" could be read as a tribute to the extra-terrestrial builders of Stonehenge, or as a further statement of his growing alienation from his long-time partner. A few days after this performance, Peter and John announced that while Coil would continue, they would no longer describe themselves as a couple. Sad, indeed, but these personal matters cannot overshadow a very unique and powerful performance. As the tension and mutation compounds over the 40-minute length, Balance's alien incantations fight for prominence with Thighpaulsandra's thick slabs of stoned-Druid synthesizer. The recording is spotless, highlighting all of the ghostly minutiae of this one-of-a-kind Coil show. - Jonathan Dean
Black Antlers [This Version Was Reissued, Expanded & Touched Up In 2006][2 CD's] (2004...a) [Coil...CD-R]
disc 1 [Black Antlers - Modifified & Expanded Version]
01 The Gimp (Sometimes)
02 Sex With Sun Ra (Part One - Saturnalia)
03 The Wraiths And Strays Of Paris
04 All The Pretty Little Horses [Traditional]
05 Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)
06 Black Antler's (Where's Your Child)
07 Sex With Sun Ra (Part Two - Sigillaricia)
disc 2 [Bonus CD Of Unreleased/Reworked Material]
02 Things We Never Had
Jhon Balance and Sleazy are no longer partners. Sleazy's moved to Thailand, and Jhon's moved to London. The physical location of Threshold House, where Coil used to live and record their music, has been abandoned. Jhon Balance has a new lover and collaborator, artist Ian Johnstone, he's grown a D.H. Lawrence-style beard, and seems to have fallen once again into a vortex of substance abuse and insanity. Both Jhon and Sleazy have announced that they are now working on non-Coil side projects. Despite all evidence to the contrary, however, Coil have continued to insist that they are not breaking up. The first evidence of this came with their recent mini-tour through a handful of European cities, their so-called "Even An Evil Fatigue" tour. At each of their concert dates, they've been selling this CD-R entitled Black Antlers. With the exception of a new version of "Broccoli" and a song called "Tattooed Man," (apparently destined for inclusion on the long-ago scrapped Dark Age of Love LP), the songs on this disc mirror the setlist of the recent concerts. In fact, the barebones packaging and low-fidelity recording of Black Antlers leads me to suspect that it is nothing but a glorified concert rehearsal captured on record. According to various sources, Coil have plans to re-record and re-mix this material, and will eventually give it an official release. Therefore, I should probably withhold final judgment on these songs. However, it's hard not to notice the under-produced, impromptu nature of the music and vocals. There is a loose, improvisatory feel to these tracks that I'm not altogether convinced is the final word for these songs. Jhon Balance's vocals are given too much prominence in the mix, overwhelming the Sleazy's laptop programming and Thighpaulsandra's vintage synthesizer squalls. However, approached as a series of "works in progress," the album has quite a lot to recommend it. "The Gimp (Sometimes)" is a spooked, melancholic lament by Balance, set against an eerie backdrop of distorted synthesizers and scattered percussive elements. "Sex With Sun Ra (Part 1 - Saturnalia)" is the best song on the album, Balance narrating an erotic fantasy partly based on Sun Ra's "black folks in space" prophecies as explicated in John Coney's film Space is the Place: "He dreamt of color music and the machines that make it possible/He took me for a ride on a space ship powered by natural music." The music bears no resemblance to the cosmic free jazz of Sun Ra, veering closer to Musick to Play in the Dark-era Coil: gurgling synthscapes with slow, percolating rhythms. "All The Pretty Little Horses" is an unexpected cover of the traditional British folk song made famous (to Brainwashed readers) by Current 93. Coil's version is quite lovely, with expertly played marimba as accompaniment for Balance's best attempt at crooning. "Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)" resurrects and expands the LSD track, giving it a more open-ended, organic feel than the original. "Black Antlers (Where's Your Child)" ends the disc on a high note, a druggy rave-up full of queasy samples and chopped, distended vocal samples. With a little finessing, this album has the potential to be one of Coil's finest. - Jonathan Dean
01 The Gimp (Sometimes)
02 Sex with Sun Ra
03 All the Pretty Little Horses [Traditional]
04 Tattooed Man
05 Teenage Lightning
06 Wraiths And Strays
07 Black Antlers
08 Bang Bang [Sonny Bono]
09 Amethyst Deceivers
Recorded live in Jesi, Italy on June 11, 2004. Offered as a download from Threshold House.
Selvaggina, Go Back into the Woods is a limited-edition live album, recorded on June 11, 2004 in Jesi, Italy. This appears to be the full set of the concert, and contains a new version of every track from previous studio effort Black Antlers. As such, the question of which has more value to the listener is to be considered. Selvaggina is well-recorded and excellently performed, and some of the kinks of the Antlers versions of the tracks have been ironed out. For example, opener "The Gimp (Sometimes)" is here a more vibrant and shorter version than its counterpart, but retains its aura of goofy menace. "Sex with Sun Ra" retains the vibe of the Antlers version, but with more urgent vocalizations from John Balance, and animated work from Tom Edwards on the marimba. There's a telling bit of stage banter from Balance about this concert: "We're truncating, we're making shorter the things tonight because we haven't got enough time unfortunately to do the long versions we wanted to do, so apologies for that, but maybe you're being saved from our indulgences, I don't know." The editing that the band does on the songs here is very noticeable, sounding refined and worked-on, improving on the studio versions in every way. Of all of the live albums that Coil released in the last few years of its existence, this is the best, hands-down. This may be one of the harder pieces of the Coil catalog to track down (this was limited to a mere 230 copies), and it is undoubtedly one of the best. How perverse of them, to do that to their fans. - James Mason...From Allmusic
dvd (not yet)
First mail order edition comes with limited edition prints.
At first listen, COILANS seems like Exhibit A for the sort of experimental audio that functions as more of an intellectual or conceptual pleasure, rather than the sort of viscerally satisfying music I've come to expect from Coil. It clocks in at well over four hours of entirely unstructured, rhythm-less high-frequency sine-waves and subtly shifting AC hum. Tracks have no beginning or end, no point-counterpoint or resolution, and no tonal consistency. This new three-disc set also includes a DVD of synchronized digital animations for four of the tracks. It's a reissue and expansion of ANS, a limited edition, tour-only CD released last year, minimally packaged in an unmarked black plastic clamshell. This new boxed set comes in a beautiful foldout cardboard package (identical to the recent reissue of Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy for Lilith) decorated with pictures of the disused ANS machine itself, sitting neglected in a basement room of the Moscow State University, rarely used and in dire need of a radical overhaul. It was built in 1958 by Evgeny Murzin, who set out to create a synthesizer capable of producing the full range of audible frequency via a unique photoelectric process. The composer inscribes his visual "score" onto a glass plate covered with sticky black mastic, slides it through the machine, which reads the inscribed plate and converts the etchings into sound produced by a system of 800 oscillators. In the liner notes, which provide further technical information about the machine, Coil acknowledge that it takes a lot of practice and skill for the user to relate the marks on the plate to the resultant sounds. Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke (whose name is misspelled in the notes) spent an entire year of intensive work with the machine to produce his one and only piece of electronic music entitled "Flow." However, Coil spent only a few days with the ANS, so by their own admission, the sounds on these three discs cannot be described as "compositions" in any sense. Instead, the sounds represent an accidental interpretation of Coil's visual art into audible electricity. As such, it is pointless to assess the musical merit of any of these pieces. The soundpieces in the set are the work of various solo and group alignments of Jhonn Balance, Peter Christopherson, Ossian Brown, Thighpaulsandra and Ivan Pavlov of COH. The notes do not identify which track features which personnel, either because they can't remember or they think it doesn't matter. The CD wallets (and the prints included with the first edition of the set) feature some of the line drawings that were used to make these pieces, but once again, the listener is given no indication which drawings produced which sounds. The drawings operate as Spare-style magical talismans, where occult symbols and "alphabet of desire" glyphs representing words or phrases (such as the tautological "IT JUST IS" on the back of disc B) exist as arcane sigillizations. But the ANS is able to take these occult strategies a step beyond the usual, by transforming them into an entirely exotic lexicon of ghostly electric frequencies. This relation of visual image to sound had the effect of a strange form of synaesthesia on me as I waded through these four discs of unprocessed analog tones; I began to form novel mental connections between sound and vision, thoughts and symbols. Halfway through the third disc I had become like Nikola Tesla, obsessively listening to electronic signals trying to pick out messages he was certain were being transmitted by extraterrestrials. Is it possible for the mind to subconsciously decode this esoteric system of pulsations, throbs, clicks and whirrs? It's impossible to say with any certainty, but the mere suggestion that it might be so makes the sound entirely compelling. At first glance, the DVD animations seemed no more inventive than WinAmp visuals, but I soon noticed the subtle psychedelic abstractions present in each perfectly synchronized schema. By the end of my COILANS adventure, I was tuned into a heretofore unexplored magickal current, a current that sparks and buzzes with vibrations of the manifest spirit. Electricity has truly made angels of us all. - Jonathan Dean
01 Triple Sun Introduction
02 Snow Falls into Military Temples
03 A Slip in the Marylebone Road
04 Triple Sons and the One You Bury
05 The Dreamer is Still Asleep - The Somnambulist in an Ambulance
Recorded at All Tomorrow's Parties, April 4, 2003.
This is the first new Coil release (and also possibly the last) to surface since the untimely passing of Geoff Rushton AKA Jhonn Balance last November. As we are assured that the title for this release was already decided upon before Balance's death, it's hard not to read it as strangely prophetic, just as it is difficult to listen to any Coil music nowadays without hearing signs, omens and harbingers of death everywhere. For a group whose music is so implicative of a rich esoteric heritage, the death of Jhonn Balance, while certainly tragic and accidental, seems somehow wholly appropriate, a corporeal sacrifice in pursuit of some higher pitch of magickal experience. These omens and beckoning mythologizations are all over ...And the Ambulance Died In His Arms, which documents a unique Coil performance at the Camber Sands Holiday Centre, part of the Autechre-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival, weekend of April 6, 2003. I was in the audience during this performance, and have been repeatedly listening to a fan-recorded bootleg of the show in the two intervening years, so this material is very familiar to me, and brings back gloriously hallucinogenic memories. This official release is superior in many ways to both my memory and the bootleg, boasting a higher quality soundboard recording, song names, track separations and packaging containing fantastic photos from the performance. The front cover is a particularly choice snapshot of Jhonn Balance in his Victorian madman costume, sporting a D.H. Lawrence/Will Oldham beard and hair combed sharply sideways. After a brief introduction of the now-familiar Coil-trademarked electronics—all shuddering gurgles, ripples, dimensional buzzes and distorted analogue melodies—the lengthy, seemingly improvised "Snow Falls into Military Temples" begins. The song is all icy ambience: a chillingly glacial combination of distorted, sidereal synths, unidentifiable percussive clatter and irregular trills on the marimba. Jhonn Balance pipes in with a series of nonverbal ululations and incantations, eventually settling on the mantric repetition of the song's title. Then Jhonn reveals the guiding principle behind this uniquely understated Coil performance: "We're doing a quiet set today...we've had too much shouting over the past year." And a quiet set it is, at least when compared to the Constant Shallowness-era, baptism-through-noise set I'd witnessed a couple years earlier in NYC. However, quiet in this case does not suggest that it is any less powerful, and in fact, there is a simmering, deliberate intensity to this material that brings it closer to the group's Musick To Play in the Dark phase than any of their other live appearances. "A Slip in the Marylebone Road" is an aural dowsing rod, Jhonn Balance recounting hazy memories of a drugged robbery near the aforementioned tube station that left him bereft of a valuable green notebook full of ideas and song lyrics. The story is told in freeform style over a quiet rhythm punctuated by Sleazy's sampled Speak-and-Spell spitting out computerized nonsense syllables. The last two lengthy tracks seem the most prophetic of all, "Triple Sons and the One You Bury" ("I drank a cup of mercury...If you're going to bury him, bring him home first.") and a radically retooled version of "The Dreamer Is Still Asleep." Subtitled "A Somnambulist in an Ambulance," a reference to Balance's alliterative mantra, impossible not to read as an eerie portent of tragic events to come. This is an indispensable live document, a set of songs never performed before or since, with a uniquely atmospheric mood steeped in morbid augury. - Jonathan Dean
01 Fire Of The Mind
02 The Last Amethyst Deceiver
03 Tattooed Man
04 Triple Sun
05 It's In My Blood
06 I Don't Get It
07 Heaven's Blade
08 Cold Cell
09 Teenage Lightning 2005
10 Amber Rain
11 Going Up
A lot of these songs have surfaced before in previous versions but these versions are entirely unreleased. Aside from the obvious updates of "Teenage Lightning" and "Cold Cell," "I Don't Get It" is an evolved version of "Spastiche" - originally circulating on the Backwards demos bootleg and appearing as a Song of the Week at one point.
During an interview in 1997, John Balance claimed the title of this album was going to be Fire of the Mind (both a Louis Wain painting and a Stapleton [Nurse with Wound]/Tibet [Current 93] song).
"It's In My Blood" doesn't resemble "AYOR" very closely and "Heaven's Blade" does not resemble the "Heaven's Blade" on the Backwards demos bootleg.
"Going Up" is a tribute to the theme from Are You Being Served?, it was the last song performed during Coil's last live performance and featured Francois Testory on vocals.
Featuring songs recorded in final days of Jhonn's life, as well as material originally recorded at Trent Reznor's studio in New Orleans, and now substantially re-arranged by Peter Christopherson, this album is sure to be seen as the 'classic' Coil album of all time, and is not to be missed under any circumstances!
Ian Johnstone, whose work graces the cover of the cd edition, is currently completing on an extremely limited and deluxe hand-made and painted Wooden Box Edition of The Ape of Naples. Limited to 23 in number, and measuring some fourteen inches square and several inches deep, the Boxes will open to reveal framed original artworks, and paintings, as well as the album itself, cut onto three single sided 12" laquers or acetate discs. These discs are individually cut on a lathe in a cutting studio, with all the tracks from the album - while the reverse of each the discs remains obsidian black in best Coil/Time Machines tradition. As soon as the first of these Boxes is complete, we will be advertising it here and you will be able to Subscribe to the Edition via our (the Threshold House) Shop.
01 Blue Rats
02 Triple Sun
03 Radio Westin
04 Drip Drop
05 The First Five Minutes After Death
An "authorized bootleg" of Coil's live performance in Porto, Portugal on June 21st, 2003 was released on CD in September via unknown sources. Sleazy confirmed that he gave approval for the release as long as it did not exceed the original edition of 600 copies.
From Threshold House...
"We have obtained a small number copies of this unusual Coil live CD - an "authorised bootleg" - of an unusual show Coil played in Porto, Portugal on June 21st, 2003 at the Casa da Musica Festival. Coil for that show were Peter Christopherson, Thighpaulsandra & Ossian Brown (ie as with Mutek, in Montreal, Balance was too sick to attend, so the show has a one-of-a kind sound, inspired in part by the venue, which at that time was a half-completed shell of an extremely futuristic arts centre). These cds came in three variations of semi-transparent hand-made packaging. The run of each variation was quite limited and we believe these are the only new copies still available anywhere."
design 1 - pink
desing 2 - purple
design 3 - blue
Buy Here (pink) [Digital Format + Images]
Buy Here (purple) [Digital Format + Images]
Buy Here (blue) [Digital Format + Images]
01 Careful What You Wish For
03 Nature Is A Language
04 Fire Of The Green Dragon
05 Algerian Basses
07 Paint Me As A Dead Soul
09 Princess Margaret's Man In The D'Jamalfna
Notes From Threshold House...
The New Backwards, contains material with the same pedigree as The Ape - In other words tracks that were originally recorded at Trent Reznor's New Orleans studio in the 90s and held back at the time for some reason not immediately clear, though the original roughs were available on the Net for years since. These remaining tracks - the last remaining major unreleased work by Coil, yet unused on The Ape, were reworked in Bangkok last year by Peter Christoperson & Danny Hyde.
Buy Here [Digital Format + Images]
- The New Backwards (2008...a) [Coil...CD]
- Absinthe Boxset (2006...b) [Peter Christopherson /...
- Live In Porto (2006...a) [Coil...CD]
- The Ape of Naples (2005...b) [Coil...CD]
- ...And the Ambulance Died In His Arms (2005...a) [...
- ANS (Box) (2004...c) [Coil...3xCD/1xDVD]
- Selvaggina - Go Back Into The Woods (2004...b) [Co...
- Black Antlers [This Version Was Reissued, Expanded...
- Megalithomania! (2003...h) [Coil...CD-R]
- Live Box (2003...g) [Coil...6xCD/1xCD-R]
- Live One (2003...f) [Coil...2xCD]
- Live Two (2003...e) [Coil...CD]
- The Restitution Of Decayed Intelligence (2003...d)...
- ANS (2003...c) [Coil...CD]
- Live Three (2003...b) [Coil...CD]
- Live Four (2003...a) [Coil...CD]
- The Remote Viewer [This Version Was Reissued & Exp...
- Moon's Milk (In Four Phases) [Bonus Disc] (2002......
- Moon's Milk (In Four Phases) (2001...c) [Coil...2x...
- ▼ May (19)