Coil are a band whose music could be called so many things that I won't even attempt to numb Release readers with categorizations. Suffice to say that the term "experimental" will have to do. Formed in 1982 by a very young John (or Jhonn as he prefers to call himself these days) Balance, Coil's output has been somewhat sporadic but most assuredly worth the trouble (and expense) it requires to collect. In 1983, Balance was joined by Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson (former founding member of Throbbing Gristle) thus solidifying the line-up.
Both did a short stint in Psychic TV but jumped ship when they found it less than artistically satisfying. They have been on nearly every record label imaginable but it is their work for WaxTrax! which remains their best known, at least here in the US. Their members have included Stephen Thrower (Possession, Cyclobe), Danny Hyde, Drew McDowall and William Breeze. For this EP they "were" Balance, Christopherson, Tom Edwards, Cliff Stapleton, Thighpaulsandra (Julian Cope, Spiritualized) and Mike York.
Over the years of ensuing chaos, Coil have followed an unorthodox path of enlightenment and barbarity; the beautiful and the bestial, the vision and the void. This CD-R was originally released for their recent tour and was, amazingly enough, repressed to be sold in very limited quantities. A digital download of this work is now available at their record label's site. Most band's albums are as long as this new work but not nearly as interesting or incisive.
After a long period of pursuing what they termed "moon musick", Coil return to terra firma with "Black Antlers". "The Gimp" pulls the curtain back to reveal a strange, foreboding landscape which one just cannot pull away from. A somewhat amusing version of "All the Pretty Little Horses" makes an appearance. After that, all bets are off with the savagely enthralling "Wraiths and Strays". Some would call it trip-hop influenced, I call it deliciously off-kilter and disturbing. That this is a live track really impresses me.
Oddly enough, a work from their Trax! days smuggles itself on board as the 10th anniversary version of "Teenage Lightning" even though it has been longer than ten years since "Love's Secret Domain" came out. Version 1 of "Black Antlers" serves as the final aural offering; it has been mentioned by the band that they have been mailing out promos of this track to select DJ:s. If I ever found a club with the guts to play this song, I'd live there. It is not danceable in any traditional meaning of the word but instead challenges the listener to step outside their preconceptions. A rare treat. There is a sinister rhythmic agenda being peddled here.