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higher primates

music review:: coil:: ape of naples

this is it. this is the last coil album ever. capping off more than twenty years of consistently creative, groundbreaking music is the ape of naples. and what an ending to a glorious career.

the material on this album was drawn from recordings made over an extended period of time (including some dating from the sessions intended for their long-promised, never-delivered international dark skies album for trent reznor’s nothing label), but, as they have done before, coil are able to present a series of unrelated tracks and make something that is stronger than what most artists release as albums. how do they manage this? it’s their own sweet secret.

musically, the album is a fitting memorial to the band, encompassing elements of many of the styles that they have explored, while still remaining strikingly fresh and original. they’ve even stolen some bits from previous releases and dusted them off for a final curtsey. the fragile and lovely sound that graced the two volumes of musick to play in the dark is heard early on. the rawness of their first release, scatology, finds a responsive echo through the years. the debauched cabaret vibe of love’s secret domain is reflected in a track like the tattooed man... whatever a coil fan wants to find, there is something of it here. i would not go so far as to say that this is the finest coil album (i’d have a hard time telling what that was anyway), since i find that there are no tracks that individually have the strength of the whole (part of coil’s genius was always being able to provide brilliant albums populated by tracks that were separately just as brilliant). but it is beautiful.

of course, reviewing this album poses a bit of a conundrum: is it possible to listen to this music without reading into it the life of the artist behind it? there seems to be a pervasive melancholia throughout the music. would it seem less sad if jhonn balance were still alive? quite possibly. balance, a desperate alcoholic while alive, often wrote about death, addiction and depression, but his lyrics unquestionably gain poignancy in the light of his own premature death.

on its own, ape of naples would be remarkable, a subtle and mysterious masterstroke from a group who seemed capable of fathomless creativity. taken in context, it is a remarkable testament to a group who continued to use their creativity, despite the fact that they could easily have rested on laurels garnered early in their career. coil are officially put to rest. the world is a little quieter, a little sadder and a little poorer for it.

available from distributors stateside like soleilmoon or direct from threshold house.


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making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rĂªve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [winter edition]

it seems oddly canadian to have two posts in a row about winter/ cold/ snow, but they're obviously unrelated. after all, for most people winter is a season, but in colour analysis terms, winter is part of what you are, an effect of the different wavelengths that comprise the physical part of the thing known as "you". this might be getting a little heady for a post about lipstick. moving on...

if you've perused the other entries in this series without finding something that really spoke to you [figuratively- lipsticks shouldn't actually speak to you- get help], you may belong in one of the winter seasons. winter, like summer, is cool in tone; like spring, it is saturated; like autumn, it is dark. that combination of elements creates a colour palette [or three] that reads as very "strong" to most. and on people who aren't part of the winter group, such a palette would look severe. the point of finding a palette that reads "correctly" on you…