How to Destroy Angels (1984...b) [Coil...12'']

01 How to Destroy Angels
02 Absolute Elsewhere


This release is subtitled "ritual music for the accumulation of male sexual energy".

"How To Destroy Angels" was originally intended to be the b-side to the track "Silence & Secrecy" on a clear vinyl 12" released by Temple Records. This release was aborted, presumably due to Balance and Sleazy's departure from Psychic TV who ran the Temple label.

The b-side, "Absolute Elsewhere", is intended to be non-playable, and according to Coil:

* first pressing had unplayable noise-filled grooves
* second pressing had playable multi-layered music
* third pressing had a smooth, grooveless surface as originally intended.

However, there's also evidence of two other versions existing (perhaps the 1988 edition?):

* playable b-side with a constant tone for around 15 minutes.
* playable b-side with a series of "test tones" in unconnected locked grooves

A pink vinyl edition exists, although it's unclear how many copies of this edition were pressed. This may be a bootleg.

First pressing included an A3 black & white poster.

This track also appears on the Unnatural History anthology in mono form, and various reworkings of the track appear on the How to Destroy Angels (Remixes And Re-Recordings) CD.


Here we have the very first Coil oil change. The engine in question would be the pop culture of the early '80s and how performances such as this, basically an extended duet for percussion and electronics, were perceived as inspirational and cutting edge. The moody trance this piece immediately evokes and clings to like a life raft was, to the newly exposed, something of a real alternative to drowning in a wave of groovy rock bands with packaged presentations and looks. Removed from any such sociological discussion and placed in comparison with the entire history of electronic music, percussion music, avant-garde improvisation, or any other related field of activity, this EP retains a surprising charm. An obvious hurdle to leap would be the "duh" factor -- the title track is as much about banging on gongs as destroying angels, although these are actions that could be connected. Anyone who has ever spent time making noise on a gong will have done everything on this record. The contrasts arising instantly from the instrument's built-in dynamic range are the main motivating factor in how the music develops, rather than any creative invention of the performers. The performance requirements of bringing these dynamics into play on a gong also require very little skill of any kind, meaning that most of the praise that can be directed at this recording has to do with the concentration displayed, both intense and impressive. The B-side of the recording is blank, creating an instant and quick composition entitled "Absolute Elsewhere" that might just be the more successful conception of the two. At least the person who said "I don't have time to listen to this stuff anymore" about the first side wouldn't be able to make the same comment!. - Eugene Chadbourne...From Allmusic


front cover
close-up of cover text
labels: side 1, side 2


belltonesuicide said...

track one is down. please re-up! I really love this blog.

astral said...

mmm: it's perfect...try again...maybe your connection fails.................

we miss you Jhonn...