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Musick to Play in the Dark


Artist: Coil
Label: Sacred Bones Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 27 November 2020

Sacred Bones Records announces the rerelease of Musick to Play in the Dark, by Experimental/Post Industrial band Coil. The combo consisted of John Balance (Psychic TV), Peter Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle), and various other musicians when required. They formed in London in 1982 and operated up until 2004, when John Balance died in an accident. The band explored themes of Alchemy, the Occult, and Sexuality. After an initial EP in 1984, they produced the albums Scatology (1984), Horse Rotorvator (1986), Love’s Secret Domain (1991), Astral Disaster (1999), Musick to Play in the Dark (1999), Musick to Play in the Dark – Vol 2 (2000), and The Ape of Naples (2005). This rerelease is available on Vinyl and for Download...

'Are You Shivering?' begins with low bass tones, sounding very much like a 1980s horror film. The menace evaporates to be replaced with a dripping noise, along with voice and breath excerpts. Inevitably, the raucous fear factor theme returns so that the two combine. The words which follow are narrated rather than sung, in the style of freeform poetry. “Are you still shivering? Are you still cold? Are you loathsome tonight? Does your madness shine bright? And so on. This is weird stuff, so you can accept the Experimental tag. 'Red Birds Will Fly Out of the East and Destroy Paris in a Night' has fluttering and scraping sounds which are accompanied by a keyboard effect which becomes more prominent. This takes some time to evolve, but it’s more entertaining than the first track, incorporating more of a tune. Imagine 1980s/1990s synthesiser moods in the vein of Kraftwerk and John Michel Jarre. Electronic effects are added which remind you of the old bass synths with all the wave knobs. Interesting but overly long at 12 minutes 30 seconds, so that it becomes background soundscapes.

'Red Queen' begins with distorted voices and purposefully off-key piano. Again we have the spoken poetry to the otherworldly sounds of a Jazz band gone wrong. 'Broccoli' rumbles through the floor. At least the rattling, buzzing and crackling sounds atmospheric, like a soundtrack rather than a music album. “We embrace the vegetable kingdom.” Repeated words telling us to eat our greens, especially broccoli. This is not just crazy, it’s dull. 'Strange Birds' is simply bird singing surrounded by bizarre and, frankly, annoying cacophonous noises. 'The Dreamer is Still Asleep' at least carries a tune… of sorts. The singing is flat and monotone – let alone monotonous. I usually enjoy listening to something new in the Rock or Metal genres, but this crazy Alice in Wonderland, dreamlike depression is not for me. The only track I actually enjoyed was 'Red Birds'.


Ty Power

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