Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 19:06
CD Title: ANS
Label: Threshold House
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Not everyone’s going to rush out and get Coil’s latest release, which consists of over three hours of extremely minimal drones in the vein of their psychedelically inspired “Time Machines” period. Disk A is soporific, lulling you into a daze with extended, bell-like pulsing, while Disk B is more atmospheric, with electronic muttering, buzzing, and ghostly whistles. Disk C has perhaps the most personality of the three, starting off with squeals of feedback and then fading into echoes of chirps, whirrs, and inquisitive twitters. Still, it’s not the music that’s interesting so much as the method of its production: the entire three-disk set was created on the ANS, a one-of-a-kind Russian synthesizer from the 1930s. The ANS creates sound by pulsing light through a glass plate onto which the composer has scrawled designs; the pulses are picked up by photosensitive diodes that then convert the light into sound. Each of the disks in this boxed set comes in a cardboard sleeve bearing a photo of the glass plate used in its creation; in true Coil style, the designs feature occult-oriented sketches in the vein of Austin Osman Spare. The limited bonus edition also features full-sized facsimiles of the plates on handmade paper and a DVD on which the sounds of the ANS have been converted back into light patterns – it’s a bit like a fractal screensaver set to the music. This isn’t Coil’s most important or groundbreaking work, but it’s a great curiosity for hardcore fans to add to their collections.
For purchase information and other Coil-related trivia, visit their record label at www.thresholdhouse.com