">
 

Coil
Musick To Play In The Dark


4.0
excellent

Review

by montague USER (15 Reviews)
June 29th, 2006 | 51 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


I've made a pact to myself to review more Coil albums here in the coming weeks. why? Because of all the fantastic bands who never get recognition, Coil are possibly the one with the most baffling quality to fame ratio.

Formed of Jhonn Balance (Psychic TV), Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle), the omnipresent but mysterious Thighpaulsandra, and a whole range of guests, Coil have a back catalogue of well over 60 albums, starting with 'How To Destroy Angels' back in 1984, and ending with their final release ever, 'The Ape Of Naples', released just earlier this year. Over those 22 years, Coil have ranged everything from synthpop to industrial to drone to classical to folk to ambient and just about every single thing in between. But one thing remains consistent: Coil have always refused to bend to the rules of 'common' music. Experimentation is rife throughout their catalogue, and possibly the only word that would apply to them (other than 'bebop') would be 'traditional'.

Musick To Play In The Dark, and its sequel simply titled Musick To Play In The Dark II, came in the later half of their career, giving it a more focused sound and a painfully eerie theme.

The glowering, washing synths of opener 'are you shivering?' juggles back and forth between granulated samples of human voices, while a chamber choir hymns gently in the background. But like much of Coil's work, the focus is on Johnn Balance's eerie montone as he delivers his mini-poems, layered with strong imagery to evoke the senses. This is, as the title implies, musick to play in the dark.

The impossible psychedelia of 'Red Birds...' is about as different as something that is definitively the same as the song before can be. Devoid of organic sound, a flock of hectic synths cut across one another, creating dozens of combinations of enchanting rythyms and cold, desolate soundscapes, before dissapearing into each other in place of a new melodic lead. To attempt to describe these songs is, to say the least, insanely difficult.

Plodding piano graces 'red queen' as balance ponders the impossible questions of identity, schizophrenia, and reality, like a man standing on the edge of the universe and staring down whatevers on the other side. The tension under the surface is smoothed into an uneasy calm that strikes an unexplainable terror into the listener.

The albums highlight, Broccoli, is like the soundtrack to a moment of sleep paralysis: whirring theramin and popping percussion stir uneasily, while Peter Christopherson approaches the listener on the topic of their own parents inevitable death. The simple nonchalance with which death, life, and reality are faced here adds only to the uneasiness of the listener.

In a moment reminiscent of Tool's 'Intermission' track, the song 'strange birds' sees a small, funky drum beat repeated over the bird sound ambience, with a lightheartedness that makes ones skin crawl.

full instrumentation and musical density returns for the closer, 'The Dreamer Is Still Asleep'. Balance "sings" of natural contamination, while an acid-jazz breakbeat and smooth bassline counteract the dark lyrical content.

Religious, dark, dense, sickening, beautiful, surreal, impossible. Take your pick, as any of these angles can truly do justic to the painfully original and viciously challenging nature of this album, that, in the right conditions can create terrifying introversion.

****
4 stars.



Recent reviews by this author
Sigur Ros Med Sud i Eyrum vid Spilum EndalaustNine Inch Nails Year Zero
Tweaker 2 a.m. Wakeup CallThe Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
William Basinski The Disintegration Loops IThe Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
user ratings (215)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
montague
June 29th 2006


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

word that would apply to them (other than 'bebop') would be 'traditional'.



whoops. i meant to write 'would NOT apply to them'

Neoteric
June 29th 2006


3243 Comments


This seems interesting, I will try it out.

Werny
June 29th 2006


148 Comments


I have Stolen and Contaminated Songs, it's ok but they have a really scattered approach to songs that makes it really hard to listen to all the way through. I love their ambient side.

Is this more accessible and musical? Sounds good anyway. Good review too.

204409
Emeritus
June 29th 2006


3998 Comments


I dig a lot of coil stuff. Don't like Throbbing Gristle though. Thanks for reviewing this. I love reading about this band.

slack
June 29th 2006


249 Comments


wow, nice to see a coil review. red birds is an amazing song.

Insignificant
August 1st 2007


7 Comments


Awesome album. I seem to come back to Vol. 2 more often, though. Easier listening, I suppose.

ShousoStrip
November 20th 2011


574 Comments


Tits.

KILL
January 9th 2012


81580 Comments


crazy

AngelofDeath
Emeritus
January 9th 2012


16303 Comments


Rules.

ThroneOfAgony
December 10th 2012


3485 Comments


Love love love this album. Red Birds is def on my top 5 songs of all time, what a journey that song is

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
May 25th 2013


432 Comments


Just finished listening to this, my head is full of beautiful things now

GiaNXGX
May 25th 2013


5155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

2nd part>

somnolence
July 28th 2013


446 Comments


agreet

somnolence
August 24th 2013


446 Comments


to be quite honest here the quality to exposure ratio part isn't accurate at all, coil are famous enough not only inside circles what do you mean

JS19
May 13th 2014


7777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is gd

laughingman22
May 17th 2014


2838 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wise words from the departing

Eat your greens, especially broccoli

oltnabrick
August 5th 2014


40621 Comments


can't wait to stay up late tonight and listen to this *_*

ResidentNihilist
August 5th 2014


2150 Comments


yeah the music is ridculously black youd love it

Havey
April 8th 2015


12048 Comments


red queen tho

Havey
July 16th 2015


12048 Comments


hope everyone's eating their greens today



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy