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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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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)

3.94 | 15 ratings
Scatology
1984
3.00 | 4 ratings
Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil)
1984
4.28 | 23 ratings
Horse Rotorvator
1986
2.64 | 6 ratings
Gold is the Metal
1987
4.34 | 16 ratings
Love's Secret Domain
1991
3.70 | 9 ratings
Stolen And Contaminated Songs
1992
2.59 | 6 ratings
How To Destroy Angels
1992
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Angelic Conversation
1994
3.80 | 5 ratings
Worship The Glitch (released under the name ELpH vs Coil)
1995
2.33 | 5 ratings
A Thousand Lights In A Darkened Room (released under the name Black Light District)
1996
2.36 | 9 ratings
TIME MACHINES
1998
4.00 | 6 ratings
Astral Disaster
1999
3.74 | 15 ratings
Musick To Play In The Dark
1999
2.17 | 4 ratings
Queens Of The Circulating Library
2000
2.17 | 4 ratings
Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil
2000
3.60 | 9 ratings
Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2
2000
3.50 | 4 ratings
Moon's Milk (In Four Phases) Bonus Disc
2002
3.21 | 5 ratings
The Remote Viewer
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
ANS
2003
3.83 | 6 ratings
Black Antlers
2004
3.28 | 15 ratings
The Ape of Naples
2005
3.75 | 4 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)

4.00 | 2 ratings
How To Destroy Angels
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Anal Staircase EP
1986
3.05 | 2 ratings
The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser
1987
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Snow EP
1991
3.05 | 2 ratings
Born Again Pagans (released under the name Coil vs ELpH)
1994
4.00 | 3 ratings
Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull
1998
3.09 | 3 ratings
Summer Solstice: Bee Stings
1998
4.95 | 4 ratings
Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
1998
2.55 | 4 ratings
Winter Solstice: North
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Restitution Of Decayed Intelligence
2003
3.00 | 2 ratings
Coil / Nine Inch Nails - Recoiled
2014

COIL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
4.95 | 4 ratings

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Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is the 3rd EP in a series of EPs based on the 4 seasons by Coil. It was released on the Autumnal equinox in 1988 which was fitting of course. Coil was an experimental and mostly electronic duo that has released quite a few albums and have also worked with many artists like Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails doing remixes. Their music is typically quite dark and unsettling.

It starts off with a short track called 'Regel' which is made up of strange electronic noises and vocals that are a combination of singing and high pitched calling. This ends quickly and goes to 'Rosa Decidua'. This one is very atmospheric with synthesized keyboards (organ and etc.) and a nice female voice, guest vocalist Rose McDowall from Strawberry Switchblade, singing from what sounds like a distance. Soon a poetic reading starts while all of this is going on. This is a nice track with a lot of depth. There is also a nice tenor voice from Robert Lee from 'Sorrow', another guest vocalist, singing in counterpoint.

'Switches' starts out with an echoing, ambient drone. Soon, electronic noises and pulses come in, making some very interesting and captivating noises. This one is really unsettling when listening through headphones and can really scare the flibindigibits out of you. Make sure you at least have a good stereo set up to get the real effect of this track. This track really shows the ingenuity of Coil, and is worth getting the EP for. Simply amazing.

'The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophont' is a more majestic sounding track, yet it is still quite unsettling. It is also more melodic, but in a very discordant way. There are processed, chanted vocals here, which sounds like a male and female doing a reading at the same time. While this is going on, there are strings and a thumping percussive noise playing along. Again, this is very spooky and unsettling. At the end this is all replaced by electronic noises before the strings come back in again without percussion or voices.

'Amethyst Deceivers' is the last track on the EP. There are again electronic effects with an electric harp and guitar/bass playing while more chanting is going on by McDowall. Additional voices are layered in later.

This is a very beautiful addition to the Season EP cycle. It is very ritualistic sounding, and gives one the feeling of an old folk/pagen folk music and chanting but feeling very up to date with the orchestration and instrumentation. This is one EP that is worth searching for, especially if you like this style of old ritualistic folk. When combined with the entire song cycle, this is an amazing work, but alone as it is on this EP, the biggest drawback is you wish it was longer. However, I can easily give this one 5 stars as it is the strongest EP in the cycle. You can also find the entire cycle on the release 'Moon's Milk (in Four Phases)'. This is the way I would recommend getting these 4 EPs for those that are curious.

 Winter Solstice: North by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
2.55 | 4 ratings

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Winter Solstice: North
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This EP is the final in a series of 4 CDs that contain music inspired by the seasons. Each one of these CDs is so different, but that is usually the case with Coil, and that is what makes their music so interesting, you never know what to expect. Overall, this one is cold and ambient, the music definitely reflects the empty feeling of the winter season, at least in the north half of the hemisphere.

This EP has 4 tracks. The first track, "White Rainbow" is sparse recording, at least most of the way through, with inconsistent percussion, vocals that sound like Brendan Perry from "Dead Can Dance", except with all electronic synths and sounds. The song is sung in a chant style, but with one voice, no harmonies. This sparseness continues most of the way through, but towards the last few minutes, strange electronic noises start to take over the track until it obliterates the drone and vocals that have been dominating the song.

Next is "North" which is comprised of metallic electronic sounds, again quite ambient with a soft rhythm underneath. There is a lot of echo, and you can hear a indiscernible and processed voice that sounds like it is echoing through a dark hallway. No melody here, just experimental and spooky ambience.

"Magenetic North", the third track, is another electronic drone, with varying tones that swirl around. There are subdued, almost whispered, and tuneless vocals. There is no rhythm here, it's just mostly quiet and subdued. The feeling is loneliness and isolation. The best way to experience this is with a good set of headphones, in a darkened room, with your eyes closed. It's also a good time to take a nap, because it goes on for 8 minutes.

It's not Winter without a Christmas song, so, Coil puts a traditional folk song on as the last track. Titled "Christmas is Now Drawing Near", it is sung and performed by guests "Rosa Mundi". It is a Catholic song, and it sounds like it, with a little Celtic feeling to it. Strings provide a drone like sound while keyboards provide atmosphere, keeping things cold and mostly dark.

Strangely enough, the short EP is very relaxing, even with it's dark and somber tones. It is quite ambient and mostly drone- like, and you almost wish for something a little upbeat, but you don't get it here. It is decent enough for lovers of ambient drone music, and those interested in Electronic Prog might want to try it out. Otherwise, it is not very interesting. As a fan of ambient electronic music that is done well, I really have a hard time getting into this one. You would probably be better off finding the compilation "Moon's Milk" which contains the 4 EPs in this series, as they do work better together than they do separately. Otherwise, this lone EP is only for collectors and fans.

 Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil) by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil)
Coil Progressive Electronic

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

3 stars After COIL released their debut album "Scatology" in 1984, they quickly released a collection of their earliest primal and mind- altering sonic experiments from the early 80s from the brief time when they would be closely connected with yet another errant electronic band Zos Kia, a project of John Gosling which was an offshoot of John Balance's Psychic TV. The two groups were essentially the same at this point separated in identity only by name showing the complex revolving door policies of the early industrial sound collage movement in the early 80s. These tracks on this only album to be released with the ZOS KIA moniker attached contain some of the most horrific sounds ever to be recorded onto tape with bombilations so utterly unsettling that i can not think of another album that exudes the primal essence of fear and so successful delves deep into the psyche of the listener to locate the ultimate sonic methodology for evoking intense discomfiture.

Originally released by Nekrophile only on the cassette format, the collection would finally find a home on CD in 1997 (with a different track order) by Threshold House and in 1998 Eskaton would reissue a vinyl edition. Finally in 2016 these rough drafts of soundtracks for nightmares would undergo a remastering and released by Cold Spring with two bonus tracks that were recorded by the pre-ZOS KIA noisemakers AKE and show a glimpse of the live underground event played at the Equinox event on June 21, 1983. TRANSPARENT is a bona fide history lesson in the errant nihilistic origins of COIL when they existed side by side on various Rising From The Red Sand compilations with other avant-garde electronically leaning artists like Nurse With Wound, Attrition, Konstruktivists, Lustmord and the Legendary Pink Dots. Likewise these recordings point to the antecedents of COIL's rather eccentric and occult interests and how they relay them in sonic form which continued throughout their multi-decade career which include wax cylinder recordings of Aleister Crowley and inspiration from his disciples especially Austin Osman Spare.

After the somewhat synthpop oriented debut "Scatology" that showed a slightly normal side of COIL, the collection of tracks on TRANSPARENT is downright frightening in comparison. Although some tracks like "Rape" (titled "Violation" on original release) would find their home in a new packaging on a future album (can't pinpoint it), most of these tracks are non-musical and focus more on rhythmic bursts of noise punctuated by intense spoken manifestos or psychotic keyboard deliveries that makes most horror soundtrack music seem like a walk through Disneyland. In sync with the chaos that is the discography of COIL, some tracks are solely credited to COIL, some solely to ZOS KIA and others to both while the bonus tracks are credited to the earlier KIA outfit AKE. Often referred to as monochrome psychedelia, TRANSPARENT even utilizes of all kinds of freaky everyday noises to scare the bejesus out of you. The track "Silence And Sorcery" for example is nothing more than a background of rhythmic crickets chirping with industrial noises randomly jumping from the abyss to signify their presence.

Listening to TRANSPARENT is a journey into the darkest recesses of the mind that captures the most disconcerting sonic amalgamation of factors that create an aura of shock and awe. While COIL would continue on to add more musical elements to their unique style of psychic torture, they would continue to employ many of the same non-musical elements that were laid out at this early stage with some of these tracks being cannibalized and used for sound effects in later offerings. TRANSPARENT is an interesting historical artifact that clearly lays out the antecedents of COIL's ascension into the industrial underground and also displays the less than clear delineation between all the affiliated groups and sub-groups that existed in the fluid world of John Balance and Peter Christopherson. TRANSPARENT is a must for those who crave the shadowy sonic expressions of the underground industrial world of the early 1980s when strange new unthinkable sound combinations were codifying a new "musical" movement that would find more prominence a decade later but for the uninitiated this could be considered a sonic assault that may leave them shivering under their sheets for days.

3.5 rounded down

 Scatology by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.94 | 15 ratings

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Scatology
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Balance and Christopherson's first album under the Coil name rather exists under the shadow of Psychic TV, which the duo had both contributed to prior to forming Coil. (Indeed, some editions include a cover of Tainted Love, linked to Psychic TV via the Marc Almond connection.) What you get is essentially a trip into synthesised industrial weirdness that's not too far off from what Psychic TV were doing at the time. Subsequent Coil releases would find them asserting their own distinct identity more, but this isn't without its grimy, leering charms and is worth a listen for anyone who wants to trace their musical development from their Psychic TV days.
 Born Again Pagans (released under the name Coil vs ELpH) by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.05 | 2 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 & Eclectic Teams

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 | 3 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 & Eclectic Teams

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
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Summer Solstice: Bee Stings
Coil Progressive Electronic

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

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
4.95 | 4 ratings

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Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
Coil Progressive Electronic

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

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
2.55 | 4 ratings

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Winter Solstice: North
Coil Progressive Electronic

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

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
3.70 | 9 ratings

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Stolen And Contaminated Songs
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic 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

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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