UK LP Force & Form/K.422/Some Bizzare FFK1
Side A - I AM PERPLEXED
Side B - THE HILLS ARE ALIVE
First pressing of 3000 copies had an "Anal Staircase" postcard pasted over the Black Sun design on the cover. The same image was later used for the sleeve of the Anal Staircase 12".
Second pressing of 2000 had a "Sexual Architechture" postcard pasted on the cover of random copies.
Some copies included an A4 insert with a advert for the album and the Panic / Tainted Love 12" on one side, and a listing of other Some Bizzare releases on the other.
Two more editions were planned but never released: a "skidmarked" coloured vinyl edition and an edition with a bonus 7" on the German label Record Vox.
Clint Ruin - additional sampling on "Panic," overdubs on "At the Heart of It All"
Stephen Thrower - clarinet on "At the Heart of It All" and "Solar Lodge"
Alex Fergusson - guitar on "Tenderness of Wolves"
Gavin Friday - vocals on "Tenderness of Wolves"
Raoul Revere [Marc Almond] - guitar on "Restless Day"
The working title for this album was Poisons, and John Balance originally intended to release it on his own Hearsay And Heresy label.
The track "The Sewage Worker's Birthday Party" was originally intended for release as a single-sided flexidisk to be included with an issue an Italian magazine called "Free". This release never took place.
The 2001 reissue was remastered by Thighpaulsandra and carries Coil's full blessing and new artwork. Test pressings of a remastered vinly edition exist, but a proper release never took place.
Coil's first official full-length album, Scatology, is one of the essential landmarks in the group's discography and, moreover, one of the '80s industrial scene's more vital and influential recordings. This is the first part of the essential Coil trilogy that also includes Horse Rotorvator and Love's Secret Domain. The 1984 album exhibits the group at its early industrial stage, in transition to the undefined genre of astral noise psychedelia that Coil would inhabit for the following decades without peer or precedent. The core duo of Peter Christopherson and John Balance are joined by Clint Ruin (aka Jim Thirlwell), whose role in the production cannot be underestimated, as well as Stephen E. Thrower, Throbbing Gristle's Alex Ferguson, vocalist Gavin Friday of the Wolfgang Press, and one Raoul Revere (who is in fact British camp pop legend and Soft Cell vocalist Marc Almond). "Restless Day" is a haunting rumination that defies description, other than being an utterly essential self-defining moment in the Coil paradigm, with an atmosphere hanging in the tense space between harsh noise and harmony that apparently causes time to cease. "The Tenderness of Wolves" features the vocals of Friday in one of the more poetic moments of the '80s post-industrial sound. At the album's somber end, this outstanding work finishes with a rendition of "Tainted Love" featuring Almond, who had made the track a new wave hit with Soft Cell. Here, however, the tune is given a bleak slow-motion version that could be read as a tragically suggestive commentary on the AIDS epidemic of the era. The album was originally released on Force & Form/Some Bizzare, and was the subject of numerous bootlegs and illegitimate versions. For the record, the 2001 version on Threshold House/ World Serpent is the only version authorized by the group. Maybe the numerous LP and CD versions that have appeared since its original release are suggestive of just how vital the album is, not only in the Coil discography but to the industrial electronica scene as a whole. Scatology is nothing short of essential.
~ Skip Jansen, All Music Guide
When you’re up to your nose in shit, goes the Spaghetti wisdom, keep your mouth shut.
To anyone else this is indisputably good advice. To Coil—creators of Scatology, an LP given over to arcane, exotic, and excessive desires—it bespeaks unwelcome, even cowardly inhibition.
Desire, the record argues, cannot be easily contained. Its demands are not always sociable or pleasant. Nor can they be readily suppressed, especially once that liberating sense of disorder residing at desire’s core has been experienced.
Scatology, as its title suggests, follows some odd passages to that core.
Its fulsome sleeve notes—part parody of a ZTT package—quote Dali, surrealist playwright Alfred Jarry, the Marquis de Sade, Manson, and a Swedish SM magazine as the intellectual backup to their pursuits.
Their music is a correspondingly rich swirl of noise and night soil colour, an admixture of reverberating, marrow-stirring rhythm and fabulous Fairlight fanfares, of ridiculous sloshsex fantasies and intimation of insurrection.
It is, by turns, funny, filthy, foolish, frightening, profane and, ultimately, profound.
If Scatology were only a peephole to the bizarre bedroom practices of Coil’s conspirators John Balance and Sleazy Peter Christopherson (both formerly of Psychic TV), it would be of no more than passing voyeuristic value. But their mating of shit and sedition, the absurd and the apocalyptic, makes of their fantasies something more universal in application.
Their steeping of themselves in practices so anti-social earns them not only society’s complete contempt, but also liberation from its constraints.
“One thing I agree with Psychic TV is,” posits John Balance, “you should be able to justify everything you do. To yourself, first of all. You shouldn’t go by social standards, because they are always changing. So you can be totally off the wall and up the creek so long as you can justify it to yourself. That’s why Dali was so important. He had that strength of vision to follow through his ideas.”
Their hard won sense of freedom is the positive upswing to abject self-abnegation. Its charge is electric enough to galvanise others outside their small circle of practitioners into revolt. That, or people simply turn their noses up, revolted.
But all this theorising denies Scatology those very base beginnings likely to turn people away.
What’s with this immersion in shit?
“Don’t look at me,” recoils John, the younger, more intense half of the pair.
“Yes, the finger should be pointed at me, really,” confesses the appropriately baptised Sleazy. “Independent of music or philosophical matters, this is a purely physical interest I happened to have. I think we all do, as John says, but most of us grow out of it by the time we’re two. The very first thing we did was ‘The Sewage Worker’s Birthday Party!…’ about the dubious pleasures of being lashed to a toilet bowl.
“… And out of that grew a series of ideas and thoughts mostly developed by John, who had a much deeper philosophical interpretation than mine, which was very simple and basic…”
NME, 20 April 1985
In his "Coil Album Guide", Dave Piniella writes: Coil's first full-length album, Scatology is part of the backbone of Coil's great albums (along with Horse Rotorvator and Love's Secret Domain). This is Coil at their early, industrial stage. The album is about making good music from shitty sounds, hence the title. Most of the songs are harsher and less polished than more recent releases. "Restless Day" and its description of a mundane life filled with ennui is accented by strange tickings and a throbbing bass. "The Tenderness of Wolves" features vocals by Gavin Friday and the album ends with a somber rendition of "Tainted Love", which was originally released as a single and later added to the CD reissue. Coil's cover and subsequent video of "Tainted Love" was their reaction to the AIDS epidemic of the era (mid-to-late 1980s). Originally released on Force & Form/Some Bizzare, (along with Horse Rotorvator), the illegitimate repressing of these albums has been the cause of much anger and frustration on Coil's part. The short version: Stevo (from their old label) kept on releasing the album(s) and screwing Coil out of their share of the profits.