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Coil – Time Machines


Time MachinesIntended as a psychedelic thoroughfare that cures you of time, if only for its duration, this was one of Coil‘s many crowning glories for me. Along with the Spring Equinox EP “Moon’s Milk”, it opened the floodgates towards a richness that is still sorely missed, even all these years later. As Jhonn Balance cited, “these were simple tones you could slip through”, and even if it doesn’t facilitate actual time travel, you can easily lose yourself to its minimal charms, now remastered and re-released at long last (and using the Coil name) by Dais.

The first track, “7-Methoxy-ß-Carboline: (Telepathine)”, onion-skins in dissolving circulars. Patterns form, mesh, re-write as funnelling silvers are fed into a chasm of oscillating sub-bass, the sine-sway eating in there like a slowly twisting tourniquet of rippling reversals. Notch up the volume on this one and blissfully bathe, let that taste of something “MORE” (tangled up in there) puppeteer your mind.

Hallucinogens figure strong, but are not a prerequisite to the enjoying. Its humming architectures do a great job of robbing you of reality sans chemicals, quashing those pesky externals in bassy blurs. I do like the idea they were necessary (according to Drew McDowall) to whittle down the results though, season the selection as if this were a drug-sanctioned beast, rather than like Love’s Secret Domain, a drug-fuelled one.

Each track halogens a separate flavour. “2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethyl-Amphetamine: (DOET/Hecate)” hypothermically doubles, a jaded hue that sort of shivers along you as these undulating tendrils drag you deeper to its inky centre. The scrying mirror of the front cover isn’t reflective enough, but the whirring hypnotics of this track casts a powerful spell, enriching, eroding until you’re like a bride stripped bare, boating to its oblivion.

The third (“5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyl: [5-MeO-DMT]”, the album’s shortest track at a little over ten minutes) is more crystalline, full of high-pitched glassy tones that flicker-fly in dopplering exposures. A sound in danger of mimicking the Star Trek theme tune successfully pulled away from the familiar as its angulars are rounded off in chaotic envelopes that spatter-cake in coiling repartitions. This has a far harsher vibe when compared to the rest, like a structurally unstable prototype of “Tunnel Of Goats”, humming slowly out of focus, leaving a sense of the unresolved to hang awkwardly in the air.

The fourth and final instalment, “4-Indolol,3-[2-(Dimethylamino)Ethyl],Phosphate Ester: (Psilocybin)”, is the longest and most immersive. A slow evolution of gathering tones that lasts almost half an hour, this belladonna-fringed silkiness jellyfishing the muttering gauze. At the height of its magic, with soft tardis-like sounds addictively purring away in your ear, it drops to a barely audible jig and a sense of emptiness buckets you, to be refilled in weevil-like whirs spiralling up as if somebody is dentist-drilling perception. A rash of whoozy nocturnes break out of these confines, bringing to mind that other classic of modern minimalism, Nurse With Wound‘s Soliloquy For Lilith, until revving and ratcheting itself to a Kirlian-haloed close.

A signature time struggles to forge, these boys always seemed to be tapping into something rather magical.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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