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The Threshold HouseBoys Choir, "Amulet Edition"

cover imageThe second release by Peter Christopherson under the Threshold HouseBoys Choir name is a collection of rough soundtrack works. These have been made in anticipation of a new film project he is working on about tattooing. Although the mixing and the mastering of these discs are less than stellar (they sound very much like the works in progress that they are touted as), the music is loaded with that magic that Christopherson always brings to whatever project he is involved in. The direction he is taking his solo music had been hinted on with the posthumous Coil releases and with the first Threshold HouseBoys Choir album yet here it is beginning to form fully.

 

Threshold House

The set looks pretty special; the four 3” CD-Rs are enclosed in a clear, plastic amulet with a gold band holding the container closed. Also inside is a small, signed piece of paper with the tracklisting and a sticker. A black velvet-like bag keeps the whole thing safely snug. Once I had pried the amulet open and had a listen, I was immediately impressed. While the note with the set clearly states that these are sketches for a new soundtrack Christopherson is working on for a film he intends to shoot about temple tattooing in Thailand, the pieces hang together particularly well.

Overall, Christopherson has continued with the post-Industrial exotica style (to borrow a phrase from Jonathan Dean’s review of the first album) but things are less hectic here. The mutated Thai boys’ voices are again a key feature and Christopherson’s beloved string samples make another appearance but a far calmer course has been taken by this choir. Of course, it is impossible not to compare Christopherson’s current work with the music of Coil and fans of Coil will not be disappointed in his current direction. There are nods to Coil classics, the mood is similar in vein to the Musick to Play in the Dark albums and "Distonto" on the fourth disc is very much reminiscent of “Chaostrophy” (on Love’s Secret Domain). The strings and liquid, nocturnal mood capture the same nightly essence of the LSD album.

However, it would be a mistake to simply write off The Threshold HouseBoys Choir as Coil Mk.2. Christopherson is clearly being affected by his new life in Thailand and this shows in the music. This collection and the Form Grows Rampant album have a far more languid and tropical vibe to them compared to the pastoral and urban directions that Coil went in (and I get the feeling that Christoherson’s exotic side is tempered in SoiSong by Ivan Pavlov’s colder approach to music). What is most striking about this music is the joy that shines through it. “The Hangman’s Ball” starts off as being quite restrained in tone but before long a powerful and undeniably ecstatic trumpet erupts from the heavens (albeit the trumpet sounds programmed but the sentiments still ring true).

Although initially only available at the Brainwaves festival, a further 155 copies are to be made available online for those unfortunate souls who missed out on a rather extraordinary live performance by Christopherson. Those despairing of the limited numbers can take solace in the fact that this music is intended to be finished and (by my reckoning) most likely will appear in a similar fashion to Form Grows Rampant. Completists can head over to the Threshold House store and start hitting the F5 key now...

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