Thursday, August 6, 2009

Coil - How To Destroy Angels (1992)

This is the first Coil record I ever bought, and as such it holds a rather special place in my collection. It contains a number of remixes and reworkings of one of the band's earliest tracks "How To Destroy Angels." The original piece was made entirely with gongs and other metallic percussion and is one of the landmark achievements of early industrial music. Here, we have a variety of studio manipulations that surpass the earlier version in imagination and atmosphere.

"The Sleeper," at a mere two minutes, isolates and focuses on a weird pulsing sound like a wet jumprope being swung around. "Dismal Orb" strips away all but the most minimal of textures and simply hangs in the air, like swamp gas.

"Tectonic Plates" is a highlight, filled with violent scraping and grinding noises. It lives up to its title completely, as it conjures up images of vast rock formations smashing against each other under the mounting pressure of liquid magma. The vast array of effects the band is able to achieve from such simple source material is astonishing.

The album also includes a full length remix of the original sixteen minute "How To Destroy Angels" by Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound.) Unfortunately, the remixing is too subtle to really be noticeable unless you listen to the two side by side. The upside of this is that listeners who have been unable to acquire the the compilation "Unnatural History," on which the original track appears, now have a chance to hear it.

The album concludes with one second of silence, entitled "Absolute Elsewhere." This is a reference to the original one-sided vinyl, on which the blank side was labeled with this title. This albums is often referred to as an EP, owing to it's rather specific nature, but its length spans a good fifty minutes. More than satisfactory, considering the quality of the material.

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