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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, January 07, 2006
    Ride on
     
    I find myself doing two things at once. Reading Ursula Brown's reflections on The Meaning of Horses in the latest edition of the beautifully-produced Quiet Feather magazine. And listening to the deep dark voice of Jhon Balance on Coil's Black Antlers, singing an age-old lullaby with characteristically great foreboding:

    Hush-a-bye, don't you cry
    Go to sleep ye little baby
    Go to sleep ye little baby
    When you wake, you shall have
    All the pretty little horses
    All the pretty little horses
    Blacks and bays, and dapples and greys
    All the pretty little horses


    [All the Pretty Little Horses: listen here]

    The poignancy of this song, of course, lies in the knowledge that the voice investing such presentiment into this cradle tune, is the voice of a man now deceased. As I noted some time ago, Jhon Balance lost his life on 13th November 2004. Coil's cover of this traditional Appalachian lullaby was one of the last studio recordings Balance ever made. In retrospect this sleep song has become the man's own death song.

    Go to sleep, don't you cry
    Rest your head upon the clover
    Rest your head upon the clover
    In your dreams, you shall ride
    While your mummy watches over


    This is awesome. I have made the transition between 2005 and 2006 with Coil preeminent in my ears. They do winter music very well. And they do very well the technology-spirit link I've been filling my head with this last week. With Balance's passing Coil are sadly no more but they continue to ride through the night skies and inspire others at the edges of electronic experimentation. As witnessed by the 35-song Balance tribute album Full Cold Moon compiled by the good folks at at www.darkwinter.com who are are offering it (and a 7-track bonus release) as a free download for just one more week.