Coil must feel vindicated by now. Throughout the Eighties they were experimenting with music as a form of magic; their use of an invocational technique they called "deep listening", their home made sampling prototypes, their hidden references to alchemy, misunderstood Satanist Aleister Crowley and sexual energy all combined into a ritual that would fuse the mind and body to create a spiritual reaction. That happens at raves all the time now.
Coil's eighth album "Love's Secret Domain", described by co-founder John Balance as a "celebration and amplification of all kinds of pleasure and entertainment", found its natural balance among a more accessible, but still unique dance sound. Their latest EP, "The Snow" is a study in a chilled elegance, a lost call like the echoes from a supernatural transmission. Are they still using the same ritualistic disciplines?
John: "On this album less than others, but we have before used specific magical timing and structures. This time we've been a bit more frivolous about it, and just gone for the pure feeling of it. I think it works, but there are a few methods like a line from a Crowley poem at the end of 'The Snow'."
One occultist method, apparently, is esoterica, an alchemical reaction brought about by the collation of random pieces of information, the idea behind "Foucault's Pendulum". Since Coil were using sampling techniques long before samplers were invented, did they see that as a form of alchemy?
John: "In the right hands it would. You get bad alchemists and good alchemists. You're supposed to turn shit into gold which is where 'Scatology' (their first LP) came from. You're dealing with shit, and you're making sounds that we thought were gold. It's transforming everyday sounds into something else. Sounds of rituals and people shitting into each other's mouths, feeding it through a loop and doing records. It's on there, 'The Sewage Worker's Birthday Party'. That's what it is, those slurping noises. It was our cacky period. Into the turd dimension."
I decide not to let my jaw drop open. A lot of dance music seems to effect you through the level of frequency rather than the emotional content.
Peter (other co-founder): "The good thing about it is that it's not a calculated attempt to manipulate people. Time and time again we used to be asked what are the frequencies that can manipulate people or make them shit themselves. It's all bollocks and it's all boring. The really good things are the ones that going on in little studios in people's garages, where they're making music purely out of instinct."
John: "It's not about control. It's the ultimate in decontrol."