Balance died on 13 November 2004, after falling from a two story balcony at his home. Peter Christopherson announced Balance's death on the Threshold House website, and provided details surrounding the tragedy. Balance's memorial service was held near Bristol on 23 November, and was attended by approximately 100 people. Ossian Brown, a long term collaborator and member of Coil, dedicated his first book Haunted Air to Balance.
Balance first recorded using the alias "Merderwerkers". The Merderwerkers track, "Blue Funk (Scars for E)", was included on the Sterile Records cassette compilation Standard Response. Balance also published an underground zine, Stabmental, and released a track, "A Thin Veil of Blood", also using the nom du guerre Stabmental. "A Thin Veil of Blood" was included on the cassette compilation Deleted Funtime – Various Tunes for Various Loons. Balance then joined up with Peter Christopherson and Boyd Rice to record Nightmare Culture under the moniker "The Sickness of Snakes". Balance subsequently joined Psychic TV and performed alongside Christopherson; however in 1984, Balance and Christopherson left the group to develop Coil. A short collaboration with Zos Kia produced the split tape Transparent. Credit for the album was shared, and marked Coil's first release. The original Coil / Zos Kia tape, Transparent, was released as a "His-Storical" CD reissue in 1997.
John Balance founded the experimental music group Coil, in collaboration with his partner Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson. During Coil's 23 years career, they collaborated with a number of peers, including Jim Thirlwell/Clint Ruin (Foetus), Marc Almond, Thighpaulsandra, NON, Current 93, and CoH. Balance died on 13 November 2004, after falling from a two story balcony at their Weston-Super-Mare home. After moving to Bangkok, Christopherson died in his sleep on November 25, 2010.
During Coil's 23 year career, Balance collaborated with a number of his peers, including Jim Thirlwell/Clint Ruin (Foetus), Marc Almond, Thighpaulsandra, NON, Current 93, and CoH; appearing on many of these artists' albums.
Peter Martin Christopherson (also known as Sleazy, 27 February 1955 – 25 November 2010) was a musician, video director and designer, and former member of the influential British design agency Hipgnosis.
He was one of the original members of the Industrial Records band Throbbing Gristle. After Throbbing Gristle he participated in the foundation of Psychic TV along with Geoffrey Rushton, aka John Balance. After his short time in Psychic TV, Christopherson formed Coil along with Balance, which lasted just under 23 years, until Balance died of a fall in their Weston-Super-Mare home. Christopherson participated in the reuniting of Throbbing Gristle and he composed an album for his solo endeavour The Threshold HouseBoys Choir.
Prior to his musical career, Peter Christopherson was a commercial artist, designer, and photographer. Notably, he was one of the three partners of the album cover design group Hipgnosis, which was responsible for many notable album covers of the 1970s. Christopherson remained involved with commercial art through his later musical career as a director of music videos and television commercials.
Born in Leeds, Christopherson was a founding member of Throbbing Gristle, who are credited with creating the industrial music genre before disbanding in 1981. Throbbing Gristle members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti formed their own group while Peter Christopherson and TG's other member Genesis P-Orridge formed Psychic TV along with other musicians. John Balance met Christopherson as a Throbbing Gristle fan and the two became partners. Christopherson worked on the first two Psychic TV albums, Force The Hand Of Chance and Dreams Less Sweet, joined by Balance on the second one. The two performed live several times with Psychic TV then formed their own project, Coil. Along with Chris Carter, Christopherson has personally documented on his MySpace blog (with photographic evidence) of having played a custom-made (for him) keyboard-triggered sampler before the first sampler (Fairlight CMI) was available in UK. While not the first sampler, this was a major step towards the use of samplers in live performance, as noted by Christopherson himself.
Despite Christopherson's long and extensive history as a musical artist, he only released two tracks under the name Peter Christopherson. The first, "In My Head A Crystal Sphere Of Heavy Fluid", appeared on the compilation Foxtrot, a benefit album for former partner John Balance's rehabilitation from alcohol addiction while the second, "All Possible Numbers", appeared eleven years later on Autumn Blood (Constructions).
In 2005, Christopherson relocated from England to Bangkok, Thailand and undertook the project The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. He also released the final Coil CDs: The Ape of Naples, The Remote Viewer, Black Antlers, The New Backwards, and reissued Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 1 and Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 2, which were formerly being manufactured in England.
2005 also marked the reuniting of Throbbing Gristle for a few concerts. Throbbing Gristle announced a new album Part Two. The group announced several additional concerts in 2007 to promote the album.
In 2007 Christopherson released the debut album of his solo effort The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. The album, Form Grows Rampant, is broken down into five "parts" or songs, and includes a DVD of the album set to video of Thai rituals in Krabi. He was a guest and jury head of the 2007 Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
In 2008 Christopherson and Ivan Pavlov (aka CoH) started a new project called Soisong. The band officially premiered in Tokyo on 9 March 2008 and later toured Europe with several shows, having self-released their debut EP. In the course of the tour Soisong performed a live soundtrack to Derek Jarman's film Blue in Rovereto, Italy. In April of the same year Christopherson and Pavlov, alongside David Tibet, Othon Mataragas and Ernesto Tomasini, also performed a live soundtrack for The Angelic Conversation in Turin, Italy. In 2009 Soisong recorded their first full-length album xAj3z, the release of which was followed by a European Reunion Tour and a world-wide campaign in search for the band's missing virtual vocalists featured on the record. In 2010 Soisong declared a Split Phase 2010, during which all of the members would concentrate on their personal work, however with a planned release of two independently recorded solo EPs, both entitled Soisong. Peter Christopherson never finalized his work towards the release. Soisong Split release was eventually published in September 2012, nearly two years after Peter's demise. The release consists of a CoH Soisong CDEP by Ivan Pavlov, originally recorded in 2010, and a collection of 4 unpublished sketches by Peter Christopherson made available from the band's website.
In 2010 Christopherson started collaborating with Hirsute Pursuit featuring Harley Phoenix and Bryin Dall via email. They finished two songs together One Sleazy Night in Bangkok and One Sleazy Night in New Orleans for the album Tighten That Muscle Ring. Phoenix wrote to Christopherson to inform him that the album was signed to Cold Spring Records. Phoenix didn't receive a response and three days later Christopherson was dead.
Christopherson died in his sleep on November 25, 2010. The cause of his death has not been made public.
Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music by Rob Young
Paperback: 672 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber (May 10, 2011)
Amazon: Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music
Amazon Kindle: Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title
In the late 1960s, with popular culture hurtling forward on the sounds of rock music, some brave musicians looked back instead, trying to recover the lost treasures of English roots music and update them for the new age. The records of Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Steeleye Span, and Nick Drake are known as “folk rock” today, but Rob Young’s epic, electrifying book makes clear that those musicians led a decades-long quest to recover English music—and with it, the ancient ardor for mysticism and paganism, for craftsmanship and communal living.
It is a commonplace that rock and R&B came out of the folk and blues revivals of the early 1960s, and Young shows, through enchanting storytelling and brilliant commentary, that a similar revival in England inspired the Beatles and Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Traffic, Kate Bush and Talk Talk. Folklorists notated old songs and dances. Marxists put folk music forward as the true voice of the people. Composers like Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams devised rich neo-traditional pageantry. Today, the pioneers of the “acid folk” movement see this music as a model for their own.
Electric Eden is that rare book which has something truly new to say about popular music, and like Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces, it uses music to connect the dots in a thrilling story of art and society, of tradition and wild, idiosyncratic creativity.
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