This live album from the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival at Camber Sands, the first release from Coil since Jhonn Balance passed away, shows the quieter side of the band, all gentle keyboards, eerie drones, and seemingly improvisational spoken word. “Snow Falls Into Military Temples” sees Balance making chaotic grunts, moans, and ululations over droning ambience and occasional clanking sounds, while “Triple Sons and the One You Bury” features various poison-themed refrains over gentle chimes, atmospheric rumblings, and the occasional electronic glitch effect. Peter Christopherson, the other founding member of the band, gently manipulates the sound, employing everything from cut-up tape loops to a Speak-and-Spell programmed to deliver muttered nonsense syllables, while keyboardist Thighpaulsandra adds flourishes of piano and wet, experimental drum patterns. Marimba player Tom Edwards also deserves mention; his playing ranges from the deliberately random to soft and pleasant counterpoint to Balance’s unsettling vocalizations. The most memorable aspects of the album, however, come from Balance’s conversations with the audience between songs. Before the encore, he jokes about the addictions that would eventually take his life. “There’s no alcohol in my blood at the moment,” he affirms. “Bit of diazepam up my bum, and I’ve got some horse tranquilizer for later.” Ah, Jhonn, we’ll miss you. We’re frankly a bit surprised you even managed to make it this long, but we’ll miss you.
Pay your respects and purchase CDs and album downloads at www.thresholdhouse.com.
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