Coil - The Ape Of Naples 2xLP
The Ape Of Naples marks the end of an era for Coil, as the grand finale to a tumultuous career of psychotropic electronica, siddereal ambience, and post-industrial occultations. In November 2004, John Balance died as the result of an alcohol related accident. In the intervening months, his partner – both creatively and romantically – Peter Christopherson resurrected many of the tracks from the ill-fated Backwards sessions as well as unreleased recordings that date back to the beginning of Coil in 1982. It should be noted that Christopherson did not intend The Ape Of Naples to be lumped in with the Stolen and Contaminated series of rare and unreleased material; rather, he shaped the album to reflect his grief and melancholy.
The Backwards sessions were originally commissioned as a follow up to their seminal oblique dance album Love's Secret Domain, which emerged out of Coil's obsession with British acid house and rave culture. In fact, Trent Reznor had brought Coil to his New Orleans studio to record much of those sessions in hopes of releasing the album on his Nothing imprint. Unfortunately, more than a decade went by with only false starts and creative dead ends; and Backwards didn't emerge until 2015 well after Christopherson had passed away. While it's not all that clear if The Ape Of Naples is the album that Coil envisioned when they were making Backwards, The Ape Of Naples stands as a mighty triumph in the Coil pantheon of releases, ranking up there with Horse Rotorvator and the aforementioned Love's Secret Domain.
What's so striking about The Ape Of Naples, especially in light of their recent albums of temporal minimalism, is their return to the song structure, and how John Balance could deliver his beautiful howlings with all of the poetry of Jean Genet. Throughout the album, Christopherson scores elegaic arrangements with an urgent interlocking for marimba and vibraphone, whose gasping repetition serves as a thematic link between all of the material both old and new. The album also features devilish marches of electronic arpeggiation laced with distant throbbing rhythms and Balance's omnipresent vocals, typified by such tracks as "Heaven's Blade" and the reprise of "Teenage Lightning" – one of the highlight tracks from LSD. A tragically beautiful album through and through.