[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
The beginning of their Moon Musick phase and also the start of Jhonn Balance’s period of silence which was to last from 1994 through 1998. This was broken by the release of their first seasonal single in 1998. Now this record has gotten tarred by it’s unfortunate timing of release as being some kind of proto-IDM album which could not be further from what it was. Quite simply put, “Worship The Glitch” found Coil exploring errors in their computer system with the unconscious plan to incorporate these deviations into an album. That really is all it was, there was no grand plot to pioneer a new genre or gain attention through some kind of technical prowess. Balance and Christopherson only wanted to give the creatures in the electronic realm who were perceived as mistakes a stage of their own to shine on.
People for as long as this album has been out (20 years coming up) have had their issues with ELpH. We all knew at the time it was Coil under a different name and no one had any problem with this. The rise of the internet has seen all manner of wikiwit twits theorize on who or what ELpH were. Our duo were generous enough to provide the answer: a piece of equipment. That’s all it was, desk jockeys. So once again, you can move on to something which might suit you better. I hear cassettes are all the rage again, go debate that.
You had everything you needed for total immersion on this release. You had some vivid artwork, some of you got a holographic cover while others sprung for the double 10″ vinyl version. Then there were the song (?) titles, classics such as ‘Opium Hum’, Caged Birds’, the ‘Halliwell Hammers’ trilogy, ‘Hydlepark’ or ‘Anything That Flies’. One even got a single preceding “Worship The Glitch” to acclimate you to what was coming and previous to this the elegant “Protection” EP introduced the new sound of the mysterious ELpH. I remember these times well, far too well. We had a massive Christmas tree all lit up and I’d lie there listening to this trilogy with my eyes following those shadows on the wall. This is Coil? You bet it was and it’s no accident the first track on here was called ‘Dark Start’. Because right here is where their journey into experimental perfection truly began.
They weren’t happy with just decimating the concept of their own legacy, however, one year after the release of “Worship The Glitch” another new project debuted under the name of Black Light District but this era is something I’ll cover at a later date. The mind can only handle so much at once…
This album more than anything else is the feel of claustrophobia put on record. More than once I’ve had people get up and leave the room while playing it because quite simply they’re starting to have trouble breathing. Was this the intent? Were they really that misanthropic? No idea on both counts but what I do know is that this work remains one of their most challenging. Oh they’d up the bar later with “Time Machines” and then see the concept to complete fruition with “Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil” but in 1995 while people were losing their minds praising “The Downward Spiral” or “In Utero”, a few of us were having our minds expanded by what Coil were doing without saying a word.
For someone like myself who pretty much lives by instrumental music, this was Manna from heaven. A very different, hidden and luminously dark heaven.
ELpH vs Coil – Worship The Glitch
CD, LP, 1995