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Coil – The Remote Viewer

Label: Threshold House Format: CD

Coil - The Remote ViewerAssembled by John Balance and Peter Christopherson with the early 2002 tour line up of Ossian Brown (from Cyclobe), Cliff Stapleton and Michael York and initially only available at those gigs, The Remote Viewer marks an intriguing shift in the scope of Coil‘s hyper-psychedelic sound. Running on a foundation of Lovecraftian electronics and the sinuous drones of Stapleton’s hurdy gurdy and York’s Breton pipes, the disc opens with “Remote Viewing 1” and plunges straight into the realms of a musical otherworld.

There are echoes and strands of sounds ancient and modern in the keening of abandoned instrumental invocations; the discordances of the Master Musicians Of Jajouka and the Gnawa Brotherhood Of Marrakesh; Tony Conrad‘s ultra-Minimalist string microtones; the floating vocal sounds of virtual Mellotron choirs and software words; and upgraded rhythms crossing paths from pre-consciousness to the lysergic regression of the original Amon Düül collective. The mood of the first twenty minute track is gradually ascendant, uplifting on nascent rhythms which mark a timeless propulsive urge as the higher pitches skirl their intertwining reedy summons to the point of all-encompassing brain pan levitation. “Remote Viewing 2” finds slithery, rustling manifestations scraping curiously around a heaving bass drum rumble; the shimmer of feedback and ectoplasmic electronics take on a sinuous gleam of the fringes of dementia in a back and forth clatter of various metals and cut-up utterances.

The third section combines the drones and liquid sample processing together for an epic comedown to normal space, whirring through a stately pan-dimensionally sensual Dervish dance of undulating rhythm and manifesting synthetic texture. As the electronics take hold of the piece they pull in degenerate cycles to the point where it even seems like the neighbours wish to join the by now transformed hypnotic groove. With an emergent bassline proceeding in a latent dubwise direction before the inevitable slow decay into a by now disordered and re-ordered recapitulation, the conclusion becomes a long drawn-out stutter and scrawl into satisfactorily wound up absence.

Part psychotropic jam, part clairaudient Radio Atlantis, there is a feel to The Remote Viewer of parallel times and spaces explored, navigated and enlightened – broad daylight listening seems somehow flatter, tamer, than an audition in the ritualised circumstances of either a meditiation or just the accompaniment of a good old-fashioned bonghit or three. By redrafting the already imprecise definition of their sound once again, Coil demonstrate that stagnation is fortunately not on their agenda, but welcome surprises are.

-Linus Tossio-

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