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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on 15 September 2000
Coil are probably the most underrated group the UK has produced in the last 20 years. Initially operating in a bewildering triptych with fellow outsiders Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, they have more recently been persuing a more isolated and individual path through modern electronica, culminating in a highly productive period of which this album is probably the centrepiece. Like Volume One, the content of this CD are based around discreet rhythms, sweeping synthesisers and subtle dynamics, yet, from such simple elements, Coil produce a highly evocative and idiosyncratic sound collage, interacting wonderfully with the voice of John Balance, whose contributions veer fom the heavily processed, through to the multi-tracked harmonies of "Batwings". Too involving to be simply "ambient", Coil have rarely sounded as edgily dramatic as this; for all the soothing sounds, there is always a dark undercurrent, conveying menace, desparation and even regret.
This is as perfect an in-road into Coil's extraordinary catalogue as you will find. Amongst the rash of supposed pioneers in current electronic music, only the merest handful can stand shoulder to shoulder with this incredible group. Click off the lights and find out for yourself.
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on 5 September 2000
With "Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 2", Coil offer some of their most lyrical music ever. John Balance's voice has become firm and confident, even when he is speaking about loss ("Where are You?"). On some of the tracks, his vocals are strongly reminiscent of folk tunes ("Batwings (A Limnal Hymn)"). The electronics, however, subtly counterbalance the overall sense of calmness with vaguely disturbing sounds. While percussion is almost absent, Thighpaulsandra contributes grand piano and harpsichord on a few tracks. The highlight of the album is perhaps "Tiny Golden Books", a vision of John Balance turned into some kind of programme music with circular sequencer lines culminating in a short, but highly impressive vocoder sequence. Even if one may find that this is not the most innovative of Coil albums, their music remains unique in the field of electronics and is highly recommended to all who have an interest in the darker aspects of life.
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on 6 September 2000
Whether you are wondering what the 'new Coil' sound like, or just looking for some electronic music with a difference, buy this CD! The first track, Something, begins with a whisper and builds into a blustering gail. From then on Coil take you on a journey filled with mysticism. From the hallucinogenic qualities of Tiny Golden Books, through to the incredibly moving, chanting chorus of Batwings (A Limnal Hymn), this CD is an absolute must for those who appreciate music with meaning, feeling and that moves and stirs the innermost emotions.
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on 7 January 2010
The 'Musick to Play in the Dark' albums are to Coil what the 'Nocturnes' were to Chopin - music governed by the moon rather than the sun. This second volume starts off unremarkably, but gets better in the listening, with two last tracks being truly haunting - and ultimately, perhaps, the most powerful on either volume.

'Ether' and 'Paranoid Inlay' have a more confessional tone, though beautiful in a slow, narcotic way. But the album doesn't feel real until 'Where Are You?', with its aura of sadness and eroticism. One wonders if the question is aimed at someone already dead, or at the living themselves? The message seems to be not to let fear spoil you - "show yourself that others may see you, feed you"...'others' being fellow visionaries, presumably?

'Batwings: A Limnal Hymn' is exactly what its subtitle suggests - a hymn to the liminal and intangible, full of mystery and promise. Perhaps a distillation of the message inherent in all Coil's music, and a fitting end to a haunted pair of albums...
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