Monday 27 February 2017

Review: Zos Kia / Coil – 'Transparent'


Formed by John Gosling (Mekon), John Balance (Coil) and Min – with guest Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle) – Zos Kia may have been somewhat overshadowed by the later projects of it's chief creators but it remains an important stop on the road of industrial music's development. The sole album produced by the group, and credited with Coil, 'Transparent' has been a rarity since it's original release on the now defunct Nekrophile label. It saw a brief return as a limited edition through Threshold House, but is now finally getting a proper remastered release thanks to Cold Spring.

The music on 'Transparent' is ugly, confrontational and dark industrial. Performance orientated and primal it shows a bridging of the gap between the the example set by Throbbing Gristle and the later polished experimentation of Coil. Rhythmic mechanical noises, tape manipulation, and subdued spoken word leading into haunting shrieks.

Tracks such as 'Sicktone', 'Baptism Of Fire', 'Poisons', 'Sewn Open', 'On Balance', and the live version of 'Rape' in particular show the early processes of these artists who would become legends of electronic and avant garde music in the next couple of decades.

This is a very welcome reissue and despite the rouhg and very low-fi nature of the original recordings they have been given a loving overhaul ready for this release. They are still harsh and gritty as that is their nature, but they are certainly listenable.

This may not be many people's cup of tea, but for fans of Coil, Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle – in particular in all of their early forms – or just a general appreciation of the early years of industrial music, then this release will be a fine addition to any collection.  

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