Oh well. This series of 4 EPs intended to be released at their eponymous times in 1998-1999 show Jhonn Balance's persistent fascination with mysticism and paganism, without becoming overbearing or self-conscious. Even without the occult angle the EPs are still fascinating to listen to.
The four EPs are rather distinctive in their sound, but Autumn Equinox is the breakthrough. "Amethyst Deceivers" became a live favorite and was reworked for Ape of Naples, but the EP is simpatico to Musick to Play in the Dark, which would be released the following year.
Spring Equinox is another EP with a similar sound to its Autumnal counterpart, but the music is more soothing than unsettling, the first part sliding along on a droning organ line and the second adding an emotive viola melody. It's probably my favorite of the four (I don't want to let on just how much of a geek I am, but Spring Equinox went perfectly as a soundtrack to running around in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind).
The other two EPs, Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, are more in line with Coil's preceding records, retaining a dark, grimy industrial feel, but there are tracks that ably straddle the line between drone and industrial - "A White Rainbow", which in tone is very similar to the Equinox EPs, and "Summer Substructures", which is a prime piece of Coil mysticism, added by the same bewitching (sometimes overbearing) electric viola that graced Spring Equinox.
Taken together, these works do a good job of demarcating the transition from their more industrial-noise and -techno period in the mid 90's into the more drone-oriented period that would follow in Musick to Play in the Dark and the various instrumental albums (Queens of the Circulating Library, Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil, etc.) that came about as a result of Thighpaulsandra's induction into the group. Challenging, but very rewarding.
Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
|The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant||5:59|
|Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull (Part 1)||8:32|
|Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull (Part 2)||8:08|
Summer Solstice: Bee Stings
|Glowworms / Waveforms||5:54|
|A Warning From The Sun (For Fritz)||4:59|
|A White Rainbow||8:53|
|Christmas Is Now Drawing Near||3:28|