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The turn of the millennium ushered in an apex visionary phase for English esoteric duo Coil. Relocating from the city to the coastal quiet of Weston-super-Mare freed them to follow even more fringe obsessions, fully untethered from peer influence. During a single six-month stretch in 2000 they released the devious underworld sequel to Music To Play In The Dark, arcane drone summit Queens Of The Circulating Library, and a malevolent hour-long synthesizer exorcism prophetically titled Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil. This latter work remains one of the group’s most miasmic and mind-expanding creations, on par with Time Machines – a sustained divination of shuddering, psychoactive noise, rippling with the motion sickness of an all-seeing eye.
Thighpaulsandra characterizes the album as “an exercise in brutality,” born from a thorny patch of his Serge modular unit that Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson found entrancing. Processing this sliver of electronics into a ravaged labyrinth was a trial and error process, aided by Christopherson’s visual sense of sound, stretching and manipulating it for maximum spatial disorientating. Frequencies nauseously crawl across the stereo field, burrowing into the ear like a sinister brainwashing experiment.
An outlier / centerpiece is the 13-minute alien tribalist sea shanty, “I Am The Green Child,” guided by John Balance’s sung-spoken free verse concerning vengeance, oblivion, and insanity, culminating in the memorable refrain, “We’re swimming in a sea of occidental vomit.” But the rest of the record seethes in unhinged instrumental chaos, divided into 18 micro-movements of a composition called “Tunnel Of Goats.” Intended to scramble the functionality of a CD player’s shuffle mode, the piece throbs, thrashes, and flatlines in compressed frenzies of twisted synthesis, at the threshold of some bottomless purgatory, forbidding and unknown.
The first-ever official vinyl edition, completely remastered by Josh Bonati.
(Please note that the preview image of the CD shows two copies. Don’t be confused! If you order the CD you will get one disc only)
A sly and nasty riposte to domestication, Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil is a bloody-minded record, at times sounding like a cattle-prod surge delivered directly to the spine. A stocktaking of the previous four decades of outsider blare–from La Monte Young, to Metal Machine Music, to even the earliest Butthole Surfers–Coil soils their pawn-shop electronics in blood and sweat, a muscular return to industrial roots.
–All Music Guide
This new album by Coil deals with the threat of lavishness and responds with noise. It’s trial by musick. This intense density of energetic anger explores areas that Coil have threatened to open out into in the past, but rarely have pursued with such hallucinatory ferocity.
TRACK LIST (vinyl editions)
A1. Higher Beings Command
A2. I Am The Green Child
B2. Lowest Common Abominator
B3. Free Base
C1. Tunnel Of Goats (0:00 – 14:01)
D1. Tunnel Of Goats (14:01 – 27:38)
TRACK LIST (CD edition)
1. Higher Beings Command
2. I Am The Green Child
4. Lowest Common Abominator
5. Free Base
7. Tunnel Of Goats