"Moon's Milk (in four phases)" DCD

A very fine re-release of the now deleted Moon-Musick single records dedicated to the four seasons, this double CD is beautifully digi-packed and combines all the tracks from the Solstice/Equinox series.

The original singles in Coil's Solstice/Equinox-series were released in 1998. They were meant to be sold for a limited period only. Part One, the "Spring Equinox" single, was released on Spring Equinox and deleted on Summer Solstice, when of course the "Summer Solstice" was released, followed by the "Autumn Equinox" and "Winter Solstice" recordings. The Double CD now covers all four phases of the sun and moon, and this is expressed by the beautiful artwork, too. Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound/United Dairies label has painted the 4 seasonal motives on the glossy outer sleeve.

As for the tracks: "Moon's Milk or Under an Unquiet Skull" (Parts 1 and 2), dedicated to the Spring Equinox, opens CD 1 and is based on synthesized drones, organ and violin-sounds. First of the "Summer Solstice" tracks is "Bee Stings", featuring electric viola played by William Breeze, noise samples and John Balance's conjuring spoken words. "Glowworm/Waveforms" is a weird collection of sounds and reversed samples, with John questioning the principles of life ("Where is the summer? Where is the artefact? Where is the patience?"). "Summer Substructures" again is based on the electric viola and John's vocals, while "A Warning from the Sun" is dedicated to a friend who had committed suicide - layers of distorted noises and John's frantic chanting add up to a highly impressive minimalist soundtrack - followed by an electronic variation on the "Amethyst Deceivers" theme.

The interlude "Regel" opens CD 2 with the tracks from "Autumn Equinox": Rose McDowell and Robert Lee of Sorrow contribute the vocal parts for the elegy "Rosa Decidua". The soundscape "Switches" sounds as if it was made up from cosmic signals and reminds a bit of Brian Williams' work with Lustmord. "The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant" is a dramatic piece of music, featuring processed voices and experimental tonal characteristics. "Amethyst Deceivers" is again very different in feel, with its acoustic instruments accompanying John's and Rose McDowell's alienated voices.

The first songs from the "Winter Solstice" single ("A White Rainbow", "North", "Magnetic North") were done by Coil, Drew McDowell and William Breeze, while the traditional "Christmas is now drawing near" is performed by Rosa Mundi, a collaboration between Coil and Sorrow's Rose McDowell and Robert Lee - a nice coda for this collection of highly inspired and evocative songs. Definitely the second chance for those who missed (or refused to buy) the original records - hard-to-describe mystic music that requires careful listening.

(rh, pictures coil/stapleton)

Label: Eskaton

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Artwork by Steven Stapleton