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Coil Musick To Play In The Dark  album cover
3.76 | 16 ratings | 2 reviews | 47% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Are You Shivering? (9:35)
2. Red Birds Will Fly Out Of The East And Destroy Paris In A Night (12:39)
3. Red Queen (10:58)
4. Broccoli (9:17)
5. Strange Birds (7:32)
6. The Dreamer Is Still Asleep (9:56)

Line-up / Musicians

- Drew McDowall, John Balance, Peter Christopherson, Thighpaulsandra / All instruments, electronics and effects

Releases information


Thanks to philippe for the addition
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COIL Musick To Play In The Dark ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(47%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

COIL Musick To Play In The Dark reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars Apparently this is 'Moon Music'. But with it's incredibly poor 1984 ZX Spectrum graphics sleeve, you'd be hard pushed to be convinced that what lies within is a very dark and mysterious album.

Very odd treated guitars that appear to usher in 'Armageddon' introduce 'Musik to Play in the Dark'. Electronic glitches and clicks gradually appear, along with haunted creepy vocals by John Balance. Every time he opens his mouth he sounds like a prophet of doom. This is highlighted when he sings 'Are you loathsome tonight?, Does your madness shine bright?' This is an ice-cold track that gets things off to a great start on this very electronic Coil album. Sweeping stretched out vocals which are hugely manipulated add to an overwhelming feeling of global disaster.

Deliberate homage is paid to 'Tangerine Dream' on 'Red birds will Fly out of the East and Destroy Paris in a Night' This is how TD should have sounded in the nineties, rather than the unimaginative drum machine rubbish we were subjected to. An old 'Oberheim' keyboard appears making you think that you're listening to an unheard part of 'Stratosfear' from 1976.

Bouncing snippets of electronically manipulated vocals batter from ear to ear as things get gradually more messed up. Elongated electronic chords whine and bend amidst a cacophony of reverberating darkness towards its conclusion.

It's almost like stepping into a sleazy, hot, sweaty strip club in 'Red Queen'. A fat sloppy double bass sound is peppered with plinky-plonky piano as Balance, in the most morose of manners delivers his lyrics of impending catastrophe. Lightly brushed drums complete this strangest of quartets you're ever likely to hear. Bowie's 'Lady Grinning Soul'-like pianos see things out amongst unsettling repeated vocals which are doubled as if heard through a phone. Queer stuff indeed.

After a superb opening 33 minutes things unfortunately start going downhill from 'Broccoli'. A deep, heavy throbbing bass is riddled with electronic scratches with a somewhat poor vocal performance. The treated vocals on top of the mix are far more stately but the same lines are repeated continuously and it's pretentious twaddle too. A quiet, but overlong track which outstays its welcome after 5 minutes. Despite this, there's always that Coil sound going on which will always give me the creeps.

Dull electronic bloops and bleeps plod along for 3 minutes in 'Strange Birds' before 'time tunnel' vocal effects come to the fore. A very odd and non melodic track where 'telephone' vocals appear as strange alien bird calls chatter and chirp.

It's all just a bit too miserable for me at this moment in time with 'The Dreamer is Still Asleep' claiming first place in this contest. Cool vocal delays are used throughout, but a boring one note bass is also used continuously. This, and the fact that John Balance sounds so pissed off makes me pissed off that I'm listening to his stories of miserableness. What could easily be a 5 star recording on one day can easily dip to a 3 on another... like today.

It all depends on the mood you're in. And after all, it's one of their most highly regarded albums coming in at No.22 in the best albums of 1999 on the 'Rate Your Music' website. I have to admit though, it's left me feeling thoroughly depressed.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Coil declared that with this album they were exploring "lunar music" instead of their usual "solar music"; in practice this means a much greater emphasis on contemplative dark ambient and less on harsh, abrasive industrial sounds than listeners have grown to expect from them. At points the end result is much the same - creepy spoken-word intonations over eerie musical backing - but there's parts where they get this interesting electronic groove going to the point where they even start to sound like an occult Ozric Tentacles. Not a genre-transforming album, and perhaps not even the radical transformation it was billed as, but an interesting late-period Coil piece nonetheless.

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