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The second installment ofthe Dark series has finally been shipped to the first subscribers,after a wait of more than six months in some cases.
  And in every waypossible, it was well worth the wait.
A return to the almost-structured style of the first Musick is veryevident, but there's less of the languid, poppy touches which clutteredits predecessor (namely the synthesizer wank of "Red Birds Will Fly OutOf The East And Destroy Paris In A Night" and the overly-pleasant "TheDreamer Is Still Asleep") and an even deeper sense of space andstructure within their mixes. The entire disc flows from beginning toend - starting slowly with "Something" and a what appears to be apartially cannabalized version of the aforementioned "Red Birds," nowcalled "Tiny Golden Books."
Coil (credited this time around as John Balance, Peter Christophersonand Thighpaulsandra, along with guest vocals by Rose McDowall) bringsomething very special to the plate when they step up with a worthyrelease, and this stands as one of their best. No matter what one'spersonal opinion of their occultish interests and thematics are, theymake it work in a way that even the most grounded and dispassionatematerialist can appreciate. Beautiful melodies and lyrics emerge fromfractured beginnings - "Ether" begins with chopped-up noises, but whatemerges is a shining, piano-laden tribute to intangible forces,something Coil seem to surround everything they produce with.Similarly, the haunting twang of a detuned guitar or jews harp threadsits way through "Where Are You?" as the entire track unfolds and thencollapses back upon itself.
"Paranoid Inlay" and the album's closer "Batwings (A Limnal Hymn)" areworth the import price by themselves. Both feature Balance's excellentvocals heavily; his voice is both gripping and disturbing, but he'scapable of producing such a beautiful sense of mystery and wonder whenthe mood calls for it. "Paranoid Inlay" is an ode to the renunciationof both indulgence and abstinence, as Balance asks himself "what do Ineed to give up?/crystaline ladders/shiny things/mirror balls," while atheramin sings to scattered drum machine glitches and organ stabs inthe background.
"Batwings" may very well be one the best thing Coil has ever producedin their long history. More synthesizers glitches and screeches openthe track, but a sombre organ piece emerges to gel the entire tracktogether. Balance's vocals become poetry behind an alien soundscape,and the entire track ends with a multi-language soup of achinglybeautiful chanting. Otherworldly doesn't begin to describe it.
The first 500 subscribers also received CD copies of the liveperformance Coil did as Time Machines back in April as part of theCornucopia Festival in London. While it's sure to become a sacrifice toEbay, our modern god of greed, it's a great treat for fans who probablyweren't able to make the long journey to the UK. Hopefully, half-rumorsof more live performances in America will eventually come true.
In the meantime, "Musick To Play In The Dark Volume 2" is more than enough to tide us over.