Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Coil — Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 1 (1999)

I remember in 2003, the group Coil was invited to the Mutek electronic music festival in Montreal. At the time I didn't know their albums very much and so I decided not to attend the concert. Unfortunately, it was the last occasion I had to see Coil. Jhonn Balance (signer) died in an accident the next year. The second member of the group, Peter Christopherson (composer and Balance's former lover) passed away in his sleep in 2010. For those who know Coil, this departure while he was asleep is almost like a self-fulfilled prophecy. Their music always had a dreamlike quality. It is the music of the ritual, the unconscious, the altered states.

After having produced darker albums with an "industrial" atmosphere, Coil have taken another direction in 1999 with Musick to Play in the Dark, making what they called "moon music". The music of Coil on this album is cold, dreamy with surrealist lyrics ("Remember, always eat your broccoli"). Singning is evacuated from this album and instead the lyrics are spoken in a monotone voice. The music is very eclectic, sometimes more calm, other times more menacing or aggressive, some tracks are more experimental, others sound like some sort of electronic children lullaby. In the last song of the album (titled The Dreamer is Still Asleep), Balance sings: "In ten years' time / Who'll care? Who'll even remember? / One dies like that, deep within it / Almost inside it / It's there for a reason".

Coil is gone. But they leave us with rich and powerful albums (more than twenty without counting singles, EPs and rarities). And I bet André Breton and the surrealists would have been fans.

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