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Coil's productions of Horse Rotorvator, Gold is the Metal...
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Coil's productions of Horse Rotorvator, Gold is the Metal...
calaveras
I've been trying to tighten up my game production-wise the last couple years. I've realized more recently that Coil's productions are kind of a benchmark. Very wide, dynamic and cinematic. In some places their stuff gets kind of crunchy. But it overall has a kind of sheen, or shinyness to the high mids and treble. And a very restrained hand on the low end, and low mids, while still conveying bottom end with authority when played on the right system.
Unfortunately due to some quirk of their name and my google search skills, I can't find any info on how they approached production. Aside from general info about the band members and mention of some sampling hardware they used.

Anyone wiser on this than me?

I'd add that I'm not terribly obsessed with Coil. They are one of several industrial, experimental acts that hold some fascination for me though. Partly due to the music, but also as there is this interesting duality between a morbid, noisy esthetic being conveyed through a very rigorous, hi-fidelity production.
Reese P. Dubin
you will probably find about zero hard info on their production style.

my honest belief is that JG Thirlwell, as Clint Ruin, had a strong hand in putting them on the path from the start. he gets producer credit on Scatology and I think the DNA for the entire 80s output is clearly in place.
eltrasgu
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1eSFIswiHk
and the full doc www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zHYA8A_uhs
calaveras
interesting, Thirlwells studio gear is not terribly esoteric or hi fi. Last I heard he was still using a Ramsa DA7.
Starrefision
england's hidden reverse?
calaveras
Okay am I crazy or is that a Trident mixer in that vid?
https://youtu.be/7zHYA8A_uhs?t=2019
It looks very split monitor, instead of the typical inline layout.
thetwlo
I interviewed Jim in 1990 in his trailer before a show at the Gothic(Denver), it was lame, as he was a god to me then. So my questions were dumb, but he was the nicest guy ever.
dubonaire
Are you aware Thighpaulsandra is a somewhat active member of Muffwiggler?

He's quite open about gear too.
slow_riot
I have an engineering mind, and generally understanding things by taking them apart into very small pieces, but in this instance I would say that you may find it unrewarding to deconstruct Coil, as they were so process driven. Their work was enacted through ritual, hallucination, magic, and in some ways it seems that the music was totally secondary to some wider project.
thetwlo
slow_riot wrote:
I have an engineering mind, and generally understanding things by taking them apart into very small pieces, but in this instance I would say that you may find it unrewarding to deconstruct Coil, as they were so process driven. Their work was enacted through ritual, hallucination, magic, and in some ways it seems that the music was totally secondary to some wider project.


seems correct.
calaveras
Oh I totally get that there is the whole sex magick, neo shamanistic thing going on with them. And Psychic TV for that matter. But that doesnt explain the very nice treble that the middle coil records have. Not the first record, or the later ones though. I kind of wonder if it’s all the Fairlight converters, with some slight eq sweetening.
I was comparing pics of British mixing desks from the 80s with that docs footage and it really seems to be either a Soundtracs or Trident. It’s not a Neve or SSL for sure. And I don’t believe it is any of the Soundcraft models that were around back then.

Also, to be clear. I'm not at all into emulating Coil or Thirlwell musically. I appreciate their stuff, and the space they get into their mixes. But my stuff tends to be in a different direction entirely.
However, certain things stick out about the gear side of some bands.
Unrelated, but it has always struck me that Prince, Rush, the band Japan and Killing Joke were all heavy users of the same Oberheim OB-X, and it sounds entirely different for each of those acts.

This makes me want this synth, not because of it's sound, but because it is obviously a synth with a broad range.
Likewise, Coil covers a lot of fucking ground on their albums. Moreso than many acts with more personnel!
So aside from the workflow that enabled them to cover so much ground. I am kind of curious about what kind of mixers and such they used that gave them a decent dynamic range, with not a lot of noise, compression or tape head bump.
chroma17
There's a Keyboard magazine interview about this era of Coil, maybe 87 or 88?. Should be able to google it or find it on a Coil fansite.

Mostly Fairlight, Emulator II and Emax 1 for instrumentation/drums. They wrote the tracks in their home studio, but the final album was recorded to analog tape in a professional studio, and mixed on an SSL console.
calaveras
yeah I had read that interview a while ago. That is where I inferred that maybe some of the tone comes from the Fairlight sampler.
They mention SSL in the article, but in the mini-Doc that has a segment on Coil, the mixer looks like a Soundtracs or Soundcraft. Maybe a Trident. Not SSL at all.

Maybe I just get an SSL X desk and an X rack with two EQs. Add +7db at 12k.
Instant Coil.
Done in time for tea.
ontherun
I'm interested in this too; in case you find anything more about it.

The pristine production in Horse Rotorvator and Musick to Play in the Dark especially intrigue me. The highs and lows cut through so clear...

~
/\/\/\/\/\/
Heavy Fairlight and Emulator use, I would say, as suggested.
Also, I remember thinking when they came out the Stevo Pay Us What You Owe us CD remasters (done - very well - by ThighP) of Scatology and Horse Rotorvator had a subtle but distinctive tonal balance, for want of a more specific phrase, that I always imagined was digital at the time - so that might be another factor in the sound you are hearing if you are listening to those versions.
calaveras
I've been meaning to check out those remasters.
Sometimes a reamaster is just an excuse to grab some more cash. Sometimes, like with the Devo remasters of Freedom Of Choice and New Traditionalists, it is a huge revaltation on the original intent.
Anyone care to invite me to what.cd? I let my membership in that lapse.
Ears
Certain vintage presets on the CMI V from Arturia have an "instant Coil" vibe you might find interesting.
Ears
Here's a Coil interview where they talk more about their process and the CMI.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAtMumJ3qfM
(jump to 38:37 if you don't want all the history)
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