Wednesday 5 February 2014

Review: Coil / Nine Inch Nails – 'Recoiled'


The legendary Coil, made up of Jhonn Balance and Peter Christopherson, were a truly transcendent entity capable of soul-lifting beauty and mind-crushing brutality in the same breath. They inspired their contemporaries as well as those who have come since. It's therefore no surprise to learn that Nine Inch Nails main man Trent Reznor is a big fan and sought them out to add their majick to his own brand of sonic dissonance back in the early 90s.

'Recoiled' is one part analogue remixing master-class one one part nostalgia trip. The five pre-studio software remixes featured here have a wonderfully warm and organic feel to them. Wires, real-time effects and a variety of improvised sound effects give the fiv e tracks a whole new experimental feel.

Yes, there are other versions of these tracks by other artists that appear on the 'Fixed' and 'Further Down The Spiral' remix EPs that also play up the experimental aspects of the source material. However, Coil are completely unrestrained, with all five songs totalling a 40-minute run-time, 'Recoiled' feels indulgent and opulent. With the likes of 'Closer (Unrecalled)', 'The Downward Spiral (A Gilded Sickness)' and 'Eraser (Reduction)' in particular sounding like they're freely evolving and reforming themselves with every second that passes.

It's a shame that all but 'Closer (Unrecalled)' haven't seen a physical release until after the deaths of Balance and Christopherson. And that the songs only came to light after diligent searching by Nine Inch Nails fans. Nevertheless, they have been worth the wait.

There is no doubt that this EP is going to be snapped up by both hardcore Coil and Nine Inch Nails fans. The remixes are a law unto themselves and display a playful proficiency with analogue experimentation sadly lacking from many remix albums these days. In fact, 'Recoiled' is sonic alchemy in its purest sense. The source songs may be etched into “Industrial 101” by now, but even 20 years on Jhonn Balance and Peter Christopherson's take on them still add something different and give the tracks a new jolt of life.

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