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COIL

Progressive Electronic • United Kingdom


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Coil biography
Coil is an experimental-multidirectional post-industrial music collective founded in the early 80s by John Balance and Peter Christopherson, both artists were firstly involved in Pyschic TV. From a creative angle, the band has demonstrated and provided innovative schemas of composition and experimented various forms of ambient music, from industrial to ritual and droning, mainly based on tape machines, loops, sonic electronic machines and various instruments. The sound aesthetic is impregnated by very deep, richful, moving and disturbingly obsessive textures as in the now classic How to Destroy Angels (1992) and Musick To Play In The Dark (1999). A notorious band and an important contribution in the development of abstract soundscaping experimentalism and endlessly challenging electronic music.

Similar bands in the archives: Zoviet France, Throbbing Gristle, Contrastate, Jeff Greinke, Allegory Chapel ltd.

Philippe Blache

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Astral DisasterAstral Disaster
Lion Productions 2017
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COIL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

COIL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 10 ratings
Scatology
1984
4.26 | 17 ratings
Horse Rotorvator
1986
2.57 | 4 ratings
Gold is the Metal
1987
4.34 | 11 ratings
Love's Secret Domain
1991
3.69 | 7 ratings
Stolen And Contaminated Songs
1992
2.56 | 3 ratings
How To Destroy Angels
1992
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Angelic Conversation
1994
3.67 | 3 ratings
Worship The Glitch (released under the name ELpH vs Coil)
1995
2.18 | 3 ratings
A Thousand Lights In A Darkened Room (released under the name Black Light District)
1996
2.20 | 6 ratings
TIME MACHINES
1998
4.00 | 3 ratings
Astral Disaster
1999
3.67 | 10 ratings
Musick To Play In The Dark
1999
2.10 | 2 ratings
Queens Of The Circulating Library
2000
2.10 | 2 ratings
Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil
2000
3.55 | 6 ratings
Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2
2000
3.50 | 2 ratings
Moon's Milk (In Four Phases) Bonus Disc
2002
3.09 | 3 ratings
The Remote Viewer
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
ANS
2003
4.33 | 3 ratings
Black Antlers
2004
3.18 | 11 ratings
The Ape of Naples
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
The New Backwards
2008

COIL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

COIL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

COIL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

COIL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
How To Destroy Angels
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Anal Staircase EP
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser
1987
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Snow EP
1991
3.00 | 1 ratings
Born Again Pagans (released under the name Coil vs ELpH)
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
Summer Solstice: Bee Stings
1998
5.00 | 1 ratings
Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
Winter Solstice: North
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Restitution Of Decayed Intelligence
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Coil / Nine Inch Nails - Recoiled
2014

COIL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Born Again Pagans (released under the name Coil vs ELpH) by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Born Again Pagans (released under the name Coil vs ELpH)
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars In addition to the numerous albums released from the unique experimental electronic entity known as COIL, the band also released many albums under aliases as side projects such as Black Light District, Time Machines and Sickness of Snakes. BORN AGAIN PAGANS (EP) is the first release that introduces their alter ego ELpH which was name of the invisible member that created random musical compositions from their equipment as a by product of their recordings or just unsolicited noise. This is the first of the ELpH releases credited as COIL vs ELpH (a full-length ELpH vs COIL would come out the next year) and continues the wild world of experimentation that John Balance, Peter Christopherson, Drew McDowall and Danny Hyde were conjuring up with their bizarre alien sonicscapes that take the listener into totally new musical dimensions. This one has also been referred to as the "Protection EP."

This short 21 minute and 34 second EP consists of only one COIL track and three by ELpH. The COIL track is basically a hyper psytrance type of house music with all the appropriate counterpoint noise effects to make it weird but when the dance beat kicks in it's time to hit the dance floor! The three ELpH tracks are the complete opposite and for the most part are meandering ethereal ambient tracks. "Glimpse" sounds like some sort of hidden chant buried underneath a sea of ambient effects and electronic haze with occasional burst of percussive bubbles emerging from the underworld. "Crawling Spirit" is a more sinister dark ambient stroll into a tube of horror with a terrifying tension creeping along like a possessed caterpillar from below hell. The ethereal swirling of synth noises only adds to the horrific mood. "pHILM #1" consumes nearly half the EP and lightens up the mood with a more ambient display of synth noises ushering in the chants that were heard in "Glimpse." Actually this is the same track only augmented and extended and given the proper creepiness injections.

BORN AGAIN PAGANS is a testament to the demented imagination of COIL being weird even by their own standards (and that's saying something). Ultimately this is an interesting piece of experimental electronica but not the best these guys dished out. I much prefer the following ELpH vs COIL "Worship The Glitch" to this one, but even so, this is one wild electronic ambient ride that fits in with the weirdest of the weird. Unfortunately this and many other COIL releases are out of print and can be a little tricky to find. While this is available on YouTube for your listening pleasure, i must say that this and most COIL albums are so intricately designed that for maximum enjoyment one should employ the use of the highest quality stereo system or headphones to be found for the ambient effects are worth the price of admission alone.

 Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars SPRING EQUINOX: MOON'S MILK OR UNDER AN UNQUIET SKULL is the first edition in the Season series of limited edition Equinox/Solstice releases by the bizarre experimental electronic act COIL. The first Season was originally released in 1998 on 7" vinyl and were limited to 1000 copies with both white and yellow vinyl. It was also released on CD and then repressed in 2001. This is a short but utterly bizarre EP that contains only two tracks and clocks in at 16:40. This Season along with the other three CD versions can all be found together on the compilation "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)"

"Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull (Part 1)" starts out with a ghostly "hello" being uttered and then fading out and then a haunting drone buzz electrifies the background with a church organ churning out some psychedelic classically infused keyboard runs. As the music loops around itself the tape slows down and speeds up sounding like a time travel experience with ripples in the space-time continuum hitting turbulent pockets of non-linearity. There are also some sort of spectral sounds overlapping the drone sound and bubble up to the surface and drop out again. This eldritch enigmatic worship of the first season is truly an anthem on display in tripper's paradise as the track undulates like an underwater tsunami seeking a coastal community to devastate

"Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull (Part 2)" begins some violin strings being plucked but follows suit with a darkened drone fading in and out with shifting dynamics. While this second track sounds much like the first in terms of phantasmal awakenings of interdimensional beings bringing in the new season, this one has a sad and lachrymose violin that screeches and extracts the most eerie and mystifying soundscape. The drone is more subdued and there is an ambient keyboard haze frosting the preternaturalism and lazily floats off into the ethers

Very surreal in about every way. This first Season of the series does not bring the lively feel of Easter bunnies or baby chicks, instead bringing a supernatural and transcendental spectrum of sounds that is quite unnerving and downright scary

 Summer Solstice: Bee Stings by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Summer Solstice: Bee Stings
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars SUMMER SOLSTICE: BEE STINGS is the second edition in the Season series of limited edition Equinox/Solstice releases by the bizarre experimental electronic act COIL. The second Season was originally released on 7" and limited to 1300 copies on honey yellow vinyl and 50 copies on green vinyl. The original vinyl from 1998 only contained two tracks "Bee Stings" and "Summer Substructures" while the CD version contains two extra tracks "Glowworms / Waveforms" and "A Warning From The Sun (For Fritz)." The CD has a running time of 24:03 while the LP was meant to have side one played at 45 rpm while side two at 33 1/2 rpm. This Season along with the other three CD versions can all be found together on the compilation "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)" "Bee Stings" has a looped melody with one of those heavy distorted synthesizer sounds accompanied by spoken lyrics about the SUMMER. There is a subdued violin as well and after a couple minutes some tribal drumming joins in along with some kind of distorted sound in the background that creates a counterpoint of power chords to the melody

"Glowworms / Waveforms" also hosts more spoken poetic lyrics, a dark ambient background gaze and a goat or two making goat noises. More noises join in: a buzz, a rhythmic noise simulating a heartbeat i guess and various ringing things and other synth effects

"Summer Substructures" is very similar with a airy breezy background ambience with a violin and vocals that are actually sung but retain a British accent. This one is the longest clocking in over the eight minute mark. It oddly reminds me of Laurie Anderson and her avant-garde ways of taking a violin, a strange melody and milking for all its weirdness. The melody on this one is very odd. It is very angular, obtuse and melodically oblique. There seems to be something conjuring up in SUMMER's bounty but it remains a very strange tumbling of soundscapes that create some sort of 20th century classical avant-garde music

"A Warning From The Sun (For Fritz)" is a jarring and complete 180 from the overly subdued previous track. This is a violent industrial electronica act that sounds like a synthesizer is exploding from within. Given the title, it very much represents the violent flares of Sun activities. After random noise, a very bizarre melody emerges with sung vocals. The violent sun spot activity sounds continue to provide the chaotic percussion while the almost Hawaiian melody that can barely be made out provides the backbone to the dissonant vocal attempts to harmonize. Strange one here

This one is sufficiently bizarre but the vocals on this one just rub me the wrong way. They mar the otherwise perfectly surreal soundscapes and add a layer of goofiness to it all. It would have been much better if some attempt to create equally bizarre vocals were on board. This has always been my least favorite Season releases even though summer is my favorite season. This one just didn't make all the elements on board gel into the proper summery stew

 Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
5 stars AUTUMN EQUINOX: AMETHYST DECEIVERS is the third edition in the Season series of limited edition Equinox/Solstice releases by the bizarre experimental electronic act COIL. The third Season was originally released on 7" and limited to 100 copies on dark red vinyl and 40 copies on light blue vinyl. The original vinyl from 1998 only contained two tracks "Amethyst Deceivers" and "Switches" while the CD version contains three extra tracks "Regel," "Rosa Decidua" and "The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant." The CD has a running time of 23:36. This Season along with the other three CD versions can all be found together on the compilation "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)"

"Regel" starts with a high pitched undulating freaky sound accompanied by wolf call vocals and some chanting but only lasts 1:13 so ends fairly quickly

"Rosa Decidua" starts off slow, sensual and lugubrious and then is joined in by the diva vocal duties of Rose McDowall and the male spoken poetry of Robert Lee. This one has a beautiful floating melody that is only expressed by synthesizer sounds that flow around each other like oil and water in a lava lamp but keeping each other in check to provide a larger sum of the parts. The intensity ratchets up. This one is like a more tripped out percussion-free version of Dead Can Dance. There is some sort of underlying folk music to it but it is properly obfuscated by the undulating synthesizers and vocal tapestry

"Switches" changes the mood from ethereal and floaty to more dark, dank and industrial. A monoambience permeates the sonicscape and remains floating for a while before synthesized scary sounds start to "talk" to each other. One is deep and kind of buzzing in sound while the other is more like a cat's meow on helium. There is also a train whistle type of sound that joins them. Emphasis is on sound dynamics entering and exiting the stage. No melodies here. This is just plain weird and otherworldly

"The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant" is yet another bizarre creation. It has a tom-tom drum beat that irregularly beats and keeps the synth sounds that are swirling about from creating a complete collapse of sanity. There are electronically processed vocals that are narrating some sort of tale but fairly unintelligible. The drum beat actually makes me think of a giant walking towards me as i try to hide under any suitable object in his oversized castle. It's hard to believe but every single track on this one outweirds the next. It ends with some kind of pulsating synthesized sounds that would actually feel at home on a Pink Floyd album but they cede way to the avant-chamber music again. The tension on this one is almost unbearable!

"Amethyst Deceivers" feels like standing in a sandstorm and having the grains of sand blowing start to sing but then once it all settles we hear a bizarre angular melody on synthesizers with a swooshing sound in the background. A freaky vocal begins to narrate a tale. This is not only my favorite of the Season series but one of my favorite COIL albums overall with one totally freaked out mind bleep after another. These guys really had a way of taking the listener to an entirely different musical dimension and messing with your mind like no one else

 Winter Solstice: North by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Winter Solstice: North
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars WINTER SOLSTICE is the fourth edition in the Season series of limited edition Equinox/Solstice releases by the bizarre experimental electronic act COIL. Unlike the other three seasons that were released in 1998, this one was delayed and came out in 1999. It was initially released limited to 1000 copies on clear vinyl with another 45 signed copies on fluorescent orange vinyl. A second pressing of 300 copies was released on white vinyl. The original vinyl releases contained only the two tracks "A White Rainbow" and "Christmas Is Drawing Near" while the CD versions added the two extra tracks "North" and "Magnetic North." This Season along with the other three CD versions can all be found together on the compilation "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)"

"A White Rainbow" initiates a industrial drone sound that slightly slides up and down in pitch and then is joined in by an irregular percussive beat and an almost folky type synthesized lick and sung vocals in the foreground with an echo effect of background vocals. This one reminds me of Dead Can Dance in many ways. It has a very strange mix of folk elements and electronica

"North" is focused on creating a harsh ambient background. It almost sounds like a helicopter. A sinister organ slowly joins in and becomes dominant. This is a bizarre dungeon synth track with a steady rhythmic pulse and what sounds like processed vocals shrieking out from the abyss. The vocals become less process and more intelligible while the undulating rhythm pulse continues to stomp about like a mammoth on the frozen tundra

"Magnetic North" is a much calmer track with placid keyboards lulling ambience and spoken poetry. The drone keeps an eerie feel as the poetry becomes more forceful. This is in fact nothing more than ambient backed spoken word poetry that goes on far too long

"Christmas Is Now Drawing Near." While nothing surprises the listener when listening to the surreal musical world of COIL, no one would expect a traditional Catholic Christmas song from them! This one features the extra vocal contributions of Rosa McDowall and Robert Lee. Despite this one being a traditional COIL manages to give it their own personalized freaky feel however this is probably one of the least bizarre tracks on all of the Seasons releases. This one reminds me more of a Loreena McKennitt song than COIL because of the Celtic folk feel but what the hey

 Stolen And Contaminated Songs by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.69 | 7 ratings

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Stolen And Contaminated Songs
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars STOLEN AND CONTAMINATED SONGS is the second album from COIL in 1992 and is in reality a collection of alternate versions of tracks that appeared on "Love's Secret Domain," various outtakes and other unreleased tracks that didn't make the final cut on that one, however it took me the longest time to even realize that that was the case as even the tracks that are supposed to be related seem totally different and a million miles away in terms of sound and mood. So in effect this bizarre and wild electronic album sounds quite unique in the COIL universe and one which i find to be even better than the original track releases on "Love's Secret Domain."

It all starts off with one of my all time favorite COIL tracks, the mondo-bizarre "Further" which begins with a processed Stephen Hawking type vocal effect and then slinks and slithers through very strange electronically processed sound dynamics with a cricket- like sounding percussive accompaniment. This track should be played on a high quality stereo that can distinguish subtle sounds and will startle and invade the listener's soul as this music is literally unlike anything ever created even amongst the vast circulating library of Jon Balance and Peter Christopherson, themselves. The mood drastically changes as "Original Chaostrophy" comes off like a stab in the heart and the seeming soundtrack to a mortally wounded soul as lugubrious string sections (all electronic i presume) pull all the proper heart strings and yank them until the listener feels like a total mental collapse. The symphonic type construction is mercifully short and to the point. Next up "Who'll Tell?" returns to a more familiar type of COIL sound with recurring spoken narrations, tribal percussion and strangely woven electronic riffs that create separate but dynamic parts. Then appears the original mix of "Love's Secret Domain" which probably stands out the least with more spoken word narration and a darkened synth pop type of style that appeared on their earliest releases. Sort of a industrial goth type of sound.

"Omlagus Garfungiloops" begins with a strange vocal reading of the title track and then breaks into some kind of back alley jazzy night club sound that makes me think of some speakeasy dive in a strange parallel universe that includes as much electronica as super sexy swinging melodies. "Inkling" is just plain freaky. It sounds like a harp sweep of some sort with gurgling electronics sputtering out. As bizarre as it it is, still manages to conjure up an addictive ear worm of a melody. One of my faves of the COIL- sters. "Nasa-Arab" is yet another stand out and a near 11 minute spaced out trip into a very bizarre sonicscape that captures wild undulating electronic noises, tribal like drumming and a recurring hypno-groovy bass line that recurs pulling the listener into an ever deepening trance. "Who'll Fall?" is yet another wild melancholic concoction with heart wrenching undulating strings, clicking static sounds and spoken word narration. "Who'll Fall?" is a narrated tale about a friend committing suicide with melancholic freakiness. "The Original Wild Garlic Memory" continues the "Who'll Tell?" type sound only in a different way with the same groove but with a lot more chaos and noisy effects.

"Wrim Wram Wrom" has an industrial sounding machine repetition and a jarring hum and unrelenting synthesized keyboard keeping the beat while a cello dances around in the background while strange noises pop in and out. "Corybantic Ennui" sounds more like a folk track with flute sounds and is very short. "Her Friends The Wolves" is another near 11 minute track that jumps back into extremely dark and foreboding industrial sound effects without any melody or beat, simply imposing growling muffled noises that make me think of being drowned in the digestive track of a monster and the ensuing noises are my body being digested alive! Once the electronic beats begin it induces a frenetic sense of dread. Cool stuff! "Light Shining Darkly" is more like a swirling space journey where the synth sounds are ethereal and feel like the whizzing plunge into a worm hole in hyperdrive with a slightly catchy accompanying melody trying to catch up. It ends with even more strangely processed vocals that sound like entities trying to cross over into our dimension but due to interference keep vibrating back and forth between from whence they come and our world. Very strange stuff!

This is actually one of my favorite COIL releases. I tend to like these compilations of unrelated weirdness that didn't fit in on any proper album. This one is very eclectic in every way and takes the listener through one extended torturous experience to the next. These guys were simply whacked out beyond belief for i can't imagine what it takes to come up with this kind of experimental alchemy that it requires to create such unique soundscapes. COIL's output has been nothing less than remarkable in their ability to continuously deliver otherworldly "musical" expressions and on STOLEN AND CONTAMINATED SONGS they unleash some of their harshest and most demanding bouts with the electronic avant-garde of their career, yet most of these tracks manage to muster up at least one element that keeps it somewhat catchy and accessible from the get go. This is a brilliant album with only the spoken word segments a little lackluster.

4.5 rounded down

 The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Recorded in 1986 for Clive Barker's 'Hellraiser' film, this EP failed to get past the film company directors on the assumption that it was too distressing for a mainstream audience. In the end they opted for the usual run of the mill orchestral score which did little to enhance the film. Sadly Coil were shot down in flames ending their only chance at making it big.

Sporting one of the best sleeves of all time with an angel/skull - life/death painting, these tracks are of good quality which would have added enormously to a sadly dated and cheesy movie. Of particular note is 'Box Theme' which has a super scary music box played amidst an almost John Carpenter 'Halloween' type score. It's music from the graveyard where grisly maggot ridden hands claw their way from beneath the earth.

Alternating between sleazy horror with the use of strings, queasy synths and the odd military timpani drum it paints a picture of post nuclear doom. Occasional throbbing, repetitive bass lines add a portent of impending disaster. Stabbing treated piano only adds to the overall malaise. Despite it's paltry 20 minute running time, it hits all the right buttons. It's therefore something of a travesty that it was rejected from the outset. A sad loss, but a small gem within the Coil catalogue.

 How To Destroy Angels by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.56 | 3 ratings

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How To Destroy Angels
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Probably the best named album of all time. Unfortunately that's as high an accolade I can bestow on this Coil release. It's a complete departure from all their previous releases, being completely vocal free and unfortunately tune free.

'How to Destroy Angels' could be described as what sounds like the creation of life itself from primordial soup in the Cambrian era of Earth's history- 500 million years ago. That point in time where all sorts of strange looking fan-like creatures swam about in oceans full of feathered plankton that were destined to die.

Swirling groans and grumbles are the order of the day as occasional swooshes and rattles suddenly frighten the life out of the listener if played at high volume.

According to the liner notes it's about an angel with eyes all over its body for every soul in the world, and when someone dies, one of the eyes closes and the angel scoops them up in a bag. What the hell is that all about?

There are certain similarities with 'Lustmord' with its cavernous feel, but there's a lot more going on at ground level with a multitude of strange electronic effects warbling and hissing. This is indeed a very strange album. One which won't endear many first time listeners to 'Coil'. 'The Sleeper' has some semblace of tune as a wobbly keyboard plays a single note and wheezing airy effects shuffle from ear to ear.

'Tectonic Plates' suddenly throws a bunch of clashing cymbal like electronic noise in my face. So loud that the volume has to take a massive downwards leap before my ears bleed. My tinnitus is bad enough already thank you very much 'Coil'.

In all honesty I hardly ever play this, and there's a reason for that. It's simply unlistenable. I can't think of any instance in my moods or feelings when I'd want to hear this.

I'm a big 'Musique Concrete' fan. I love the juxtaposition of random noise as purported by the likes of 'Robert Normandeau' and 'Francis Dhomont'. 'Coil', however seem to get it all wrong here. 'How to Destroy Angels' is jarring in the extreme. The deep industrial sounds are good but the sudden volume surges really leave me feeling angry.

The lengthy 16 minute 'How to Destroy Angels 2' introduces treated Tibetan singing bowls and gongs which is a bit more pleasant to the ear. This is probably the kind of track 'Aleister Crowley' would have played on his i-pod had he been around today. It has a ritualistic feel as though played during a Satanic Mass. Imagine my disappointment then when I've nothing else to say about it. It drags on far too long, unless of course you're a fan of the sacrificial slaughter of virgins.

One to avoid for all but the hardiest 'Coil' fans.

 TIME MACHINES by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.20 | 6 ratings

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TIME MACHINES
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This sounds like a U.S. experimental weapons Lab in the 1950's where unfortunate victims were forced to listen to mind-crushingly extreme tones in an attempt to make them confess to Communist plots and schemes.

Despite its nice digipack presentation along with a bunch of chemical synthesis square stickers, this is a tedious and turgid album.

For a start - what on earth are you supposed to do with these individual and separate self adhesive things? They're pointless - just an add on absurdity. It's not as if they even have any artistic value. I don't know about you but a small blue circle in a yellow square does not make me jump up and down with glee. This particular sticker with its 'Telepathine' worded message around the border means to 'aid and facilitate telepathic communication among tribal members'. Bah!

Each of the four drones represents a certain hallucinogenic chemical which, believe it or not, should induce 'Time Travel'. Main man John Balance said that this album was tested over and over again in an attempt to dissolve time. What on earth can you make of such strange statements? God knows... I'm stumped. It wouldn't be so bad if there was some semblance of tune. Unfortunately there's none. Just constant electronic groaning and moaning- the kind of noises you hear in your head when full of the flu and lying sick in bed. Maybe I need to pump myself full of hallucinogenic chemicals in order to understand their way of thinking.

I'm told this sounds fantastic if listened to on headphones. Right now I don't have the will to even lift my glass of gin and orange to my mouth, never mind scrambling about for a set of bloody headphones.

This is a very dark and sombre album. Extremely minimalist, with the intention of altering the human perception of reality. If you play one track in a loop, you'll either time travel, as Coil intended or go completely mental - like me. Aarrgh!

 A Thousand Lights In A Darkened Room (released under the name Black Light District) by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.18 | 3 ratings

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A Thousand Lights In A Darkened Room (released under the name Black Light District)
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I don't know why they bothered dropping the 'Coil' moniker for this album. It sounds just like...Coil. And looking at the sleeve notes reveals that it is the full Coil lineup.

Amusingly this was recorded at 'Slut's hole' in London. Where in the name of God do they get these names? The cool sleeve was created by Mr 'Nurse With Wound' Steve Stapleton - a long term collaborator of these recidivists.

This kicks off with some discordant stabs of piano reminiscent of John Cage - tuneless - but nice enough. There's plenty of mutated electronic deviousness going on from beginning to end, but on the whole it seems a bit disjointed and patchy. 'Red Skeletons' is chock full of digital bleeps and chopped up tapped telephone recordings. 'A Thousand Lights...' is a bit minimal for a Coil release. It's very experimental but not all that engaging if truth be told.

'Die Wölfe Kommen Zurück' is a slowly evolving, vocal free and somewhat dreary dronefest with repetitive but unusual percussion. I just don't get this album - it doesn't sit right at all in their discography, which is probably why it's categorised under the name 'Black Light District'.

You'd really have to be in a particular frame of mind to listen to this from beginning to end. I'm finding it really irritating at the moment. It's all so staccato. 'Green Water' has wobbly twangy bass with bird song and undulating sequencers at the fore. This is far better than what's gone before but is all over too soon. A multitude of reversed electronic sounds make up the 9 min 'Cold Dream Of An Earth Star'. It's icy cold and emotionless and quite frankly instantly forgettable.

The unforgettable follows with the fantastic 'Blue Rats' - a throbbing electronic sleaze bag of sound with John Balance sounding like a demon rodent from hell, amongst, for once, a tune you can hold on to.

It's back to the forgettable with the finale 'Chalice'. Here samples of religious Christian music is interspersed with odd chugging and slashing electronic beats, but it's of no real interest to any other than Coil die hards.

A strangely disappointing album that promises so much when listened to randomly one track at a time. It suffers from a stilted one dimensional approach that wears off after 15 minutes. Only the superb but simplistic creepiness of 'Blue Rats' saves this mediocre album

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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