“I will be all right if you hold me” repeats Jhon Balance in “Sex With Sun Ra”. One dead man singing about another dead man.
While not quite the eerie moment of “Tattooed Man” on The Ape of Naples, it is genuinely difficult for a fan to separate the intended and accidental inferences and references from this semi-public parade of self-inflicted wonders and tragedies. Black Antlers reminds us of the stunning breadth of Coil‘s work: a pastoral cover of “All the Pretty Little Horses”; abrasive blasts (“Wraiths and Strays”) and gentle oddities (“The Gimp”); an amazing reworking of “Teenage Lightning”; the multi-layered sadness and longing of “Sex With Sun Ra”; and a very odd-but-excellent cover of a very early acid house track.
I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a large scale Coil guide, along the lines of the one I did for Venetian Snares, but such a project would take weeks and lords knows others have done it already. I am not a David Toop or related meta-thinker when it comes to music and the interrelated webs of influence and “singing back to the text” and all that kind of stuff. At best I am an impressionist painter of words and a minor wit, trying to translate the ineffable into the comprehensible, for both myself and others. I don’t really “get it” either, but some day I hope to.