"Not Knowing What Is And Is Not Knowing, I Knew Not."
Hassan i Sabbah
Coil is a multi-sensory project organised around Psychic TV collaborator Geff Rushton.
Similarities can obviously be drawn between the activities of Coil and Psychic TV in that both are working in multimedia on both a physical and mental plane. Due to the extremeness of the images, Nitsch similarities are also apparent, again this being both visual and ideologically ie:-
"... a rediscovery of the ego, in a state of intoxication provoked by the search for being... catharsis through fear and compassion" ... "directly encountering the unconscious and reality.." (Source: 'Nitsch - A Modern Ritual' Katie Tsiakma - Studio International '75)
COIL. WHO HAS THE NERVE TO DREAM, CREATE AND KILL, WHILE THE WHOLE MOVES EVERY PART STANDS STILL. OUR RATIONALE IS THE IRRATIONAL. HALLUCINATION IS THE TRUTH OUR GRAVES ARE DUG WITH. COIL IS COMPULSION. URGE AND CONSTRUCTION. DEAD LETTERS FALL FROM OUR SHEDDING SKINS. KABBALA AND KHAOS. THANATOS AND THELEMA. ARCHANGELS AND ANTICHRISTS. OPEN AND CLOSE. TRUTH AND DELIBERATION. TRAPS AND DISORIENTATION.
There are also links with TG in that things are done 'en masse' which overall have little meaning compared to the total experience, but when looked at separately have very particular roles. Coil itself is very fluid in terms of personnel - performances have a loose frame work which is used as a basis for improvisation, Geff working with people who have either expressed an interest in the project or else people who he feels could have a useful contribution to make.
Geff: "There have been two performances as Coil - we interpret the idea in relation to the place and people we expect to be playing to."
Q: How do these performances come about?
Geff: "People just ask us to do them - it seems to work quite naturally - like I'll be working on the Psychic Television project or something and see a space in time coming up, and by the time I've reached it I'll be wanting to do something on my own and someone will want Coil to do something...
..One performance was at the Air Gallery, I knew what type of people to expect because of the other people performing so I used the performance as a counter attack to the other happenings. We called the piece 'How To Destroy Angels' and I worked with Marc Almond and another person called John Gosling.
The piece was both a study of human degradation and personnel relationships as well as a parody of fine art which appealed to Marc as he is very interested in relationships as well as being totally different to Marc & The Mambas and something he used to do before Soft Cell.
Marc did vocals and John and I did a scenario of degradation, stripping naked, painting our bodies, shitting on the floor, degrading our bodies - but really extreme, its things the people who turned up always say they are into but far more extreme - I think Marc found it more over the top than he expected - people were wondering around complaining about the smell and things..."
Q: Like Zev. He used just metal sheets and things when he played in London a few years ago - all untreated - and the audience didn't know what to make of it, even though TG and Cabaret Voltaire were playing and they were seen to be 'avant garde' / 'industrial' etc.
Geff: "It's funny you should mention Zev as Coil works in roughly the same way. Zev's interested in language breakdown and uses Alchemy and Kabbala - he's Jewish so he uses the Kabbala as a matter of course...
Coil and Zev are interested in Konstructivitz [NOT the Glenn Michael Wallis thing!], structuralism and finding the hidden meaning of things.
TG were chaotic, but behind it is a hidden structure, structure composed of chaos - find the structures and use them..."
COIL ARE ARCHANGELS OF KHAOS. THE PRICE WE PAY FOR EXISTENCE IS ETERNAL WARFARE. THERE IS A HIDDEN COIL OF STRENGTH, DORMANT BENEATH THE SEDIMENT OF CONVENTION. DREAMS LEAD US UNDER THE SURFACE, OVER THE EDGE, TO THE DELIRIUM STATE. UNCHAINED. PAST IMPOSITIONS AND FALSE UNIVERSALS. REASSEMBLING INTO OUR ORDER.
"There was another performance at Brixton Ritzy - this was based on the idea of the nothingness of the universe.
It sounds pretentious but it's based on the idea that instead of there being something incredible interesting at the centre of the universe - the essential fact is that there is nothing at all - the ultimate state is nothingness - in magickal terms this is absolute enlightenment - crossing the Abyss.
Another aspect we had was smell - the Ritzy has a really high stage which I thought was a bit like a church, so I used Frankincense because I wanted a high-church smell.
We then had out of phase strobes, and I found that after I had got off stage to go to the mixing desk I found it really difficult to get back on again as the stage was going up and down, the cricket noises were as loud as we could get them as well... but really, nothing happened - I tried to get an atmosphere of unforfillment... suspended unease.
It's so many things at once. That's why I chose the name COIL as it represents so many things..."
COIL IS A HIDDEN UNIVERSAL. A CODE. A KEY FOR WHICH THE WHOLE DOES NOT EXIST. IS NONEXISTENT, IN SILENCE AND SECRECY. A SPELL. A SPIRAL. A SERPENTS SHT ROUND A FEMALE CYCLE. A WHIRLWIND. A DOUBLE HELIX. DNA. ELECTRICITY AND ELEMENTALS. ATONAL NOISE, AND BRUTAL POETRY.
There have been a few audio releases as COIL. Although some items may have been influenced by live performance each recorded item has been in such a way that it will stand up without other aid. They are:Red Weather
There is also a 12" clear vinyl single 'Silence & Secrecy' c/w 'How to Destroy Angels' on Temple Records, to be released soon, and an lp 'Poisons' to follow later in '84