Thursday, 5 August 2010
Coil - Colour Sound Oblivion
My copy of the Coil DVD box-set Colour Sound Oblivion (no. 222) was finally delivered this week.
My wife had ordered this earlier in the year as a surprise wedding gift for me, but when completion of the project was unavoidably delayed due to the civil unrest in Bangkok, it became clear that I wouldn't receive it in time for the ceremony and Sleazy was kind enough to post the following personal message which was screened at my wedding.
In just the short time that I’ve spent so far watching some of the live concerts it is obvious that I needed to attempt to write some kind of response and review of them. Coil has been an extremely important part of my life for the past 25 years, in ways that are very difficult to put into words. Throughout all of that time Coil’s work has been a constant companion and inspiration. I was fortunate to see Coil perform live twice in 2000, in the UK. Both performances have remained with me as amongst the most powerful and moving experiences of live performance I have ever witnessed in person. I feel that this DVD set documenting many of the live incarnations of Coil, carefully and lovingly assembled by Peter Christopherson in the aftermath of Jhon Balance’s death, deserves a careful and thorough personal response. Such a monumental presentation of the group's live work serves as a fitting memorial to Jhon Balance and his collaborators. I think that Coil are somehow not finished or behind us, it is not a question of closure, it is a matter of trying to respond to something that was always untimely and to something that remains spectacularly alive.
In the next few weeks I will post a response to each of the live concerts collected in the box. But I want to begin by describing the contents of the box.
The box and its content are a remarkable object, even by Coil’s previous high standards in this regard (ranging from the early Gold is the Metal box set to the super-limited Racing Green edition designed by Ian Johnston).
Contained in a heavy wooden box are 16 DVDs (14 live performances and 2 discs consisting of the live visual projections (designed by Sleazy) and the backing tracks used on a wide array of the tracks covered live), each in their own card sleeve, which are housed in 4 separate cloth bags made from material which duplicate the costumes worn by members of Coil throughout their brief live incarnation between 2000-4.
In addition there is a facsimile of the booklet from Jhon Balance’s funeral in 2004, a booklet of Christopherson’s own reflections on touring and assembling and editing the DVDs and a personalised dedication. Sleazy makes it very clear in his booklet that many of the concerts captured on the discs were often filmed by members of the audience, and that the quality of some of the footage (as well as sound quality) differs markedly across the discs.
The first disc present a video recording made by Cerith Wyn Evans of the early Coil "performance" from August 24th 1983 at the Air Gallery in London. This was called "A Slow Fade to Total Transparency", and I will post a full response to this in the next day or two.