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It's a menace that drives thousands to distraction and has been blamed on everything from UFOs to nuclear submarines. I opened my window and turned my head this way and that in a futile attempt to locate the origin of the sound, which seemed to be emanating from the end of our quiet street. In desperation, I woke up the rest of my family to see if they could hear it - they couldn't - and I even got dressed and went out in search of the noise, accompanied by the dog.
Unfortunately, few are likely to be satisfied by his solution (more of which later).Over the years, dozens of explanations have been put forward for The Hum.
Either way, The Hum has been the subject of conspiracy theories galore - and has driven a few to the edge of madness. When a local newspaper asked people to write in if they had heard the throbbing, rhythmic sound, nearly 1,000 did so. Many Hum 'victims' blame covert military activity, secret submarine communication devices, nuclear experiments and even orbiting satellites for the nuisance. There are even paranoid theories that The Hum is some sort of sinister psychological experiment being performed by dark forces in the government or the security services. He says that our hearing has evolved to become especially acute at times of extreme danger or stress, times when, quite literally, you can hear the proverbial pin drop. His theory is that in some people this hyper-sensitivity remains 'switched on' at all times.
This sounds plausible enough, and indeed Dr Baguley says that he has managed to use relaxation techniques to help people shed the perceived noise that has made their lives a misery. Just as weather balloons, the planet Venus and optical illusions can explain away most, but not all, UFO sightings, so some people will always maintain that their hum represents something rather more sinister than over-sensitive hearing.
Does footage of a 1995 Mike Tyson fight show a ‘time traveller’ using a smartphone to record the bout? EDIT: I should also add that I'm being serious and if you do still hear the hum the likely cause is Tinnitus. My next door neighbour (we share a wall) pointed out a noise that sounds like someone snoring, coming from our shared chimney breast. We're only a couple of miles from the oil terminal on the Mersey and you can sometimes hear and feel the oil tanker engines when they leave them ticking over. The second side of this record has not got a Coil track on it as such, although the labels on the record do give this side a title. Coil was conceived by John Balance in 1982 as a concurrent project with Psychic TV, with whom he was working, playing bass guitar, vibes and various Tibetan instruments. Sleazy: In as much as Scatology is more to be listened to as entertainment the titles of those records normally try to attract people in a slightly outrageous way and at the same time, give some indication of the atmosphere of the record. How would something like the Japanese Tea Ritual differ from something that the church has organised? J Balance: To take a blatant example like the Aztecs, their whole society was controlled by priests who knew the language and knew the way to stop the sun from dying, and so they had complete control over every member of the population.
Sleazy: All that you really need for your own rituals to be valid is a belief in their abilities. Is it possible to use rituals for negative purposes, to bring out evil or destructive things? Does the energy of the ritual come from within the person or can it be drawn from other sources?
J Balance: They try to keep a monopoly so anything else is bad or evil and you get thrown i to hell for it.
Sleazy: Yeah, the trouble with playing live is that everything has to be done on the spot more or less. J Balance: Although the ideas were interesting live, it became more brutal and relied on the noise element while the ideas got swamped.
J Balance: Records are very crude as far as recording and playback quality goes and there is no way that scientific experiments can be done in this medium.
In the studio, does the recording process differ much with how you’ve worked previously? J Balance: With Coil we lay down the backbone ourselves, and if we want to we collaborate with other people. Sleazy: But all the PTV records that we were involved in were fundamentally done in the same way that we do now, which is to set down a rhythm and just lay things on top of it as they seem appropriate. Do you think that anybody has added a great deal of depth to a song which is also very entertaining and commercially accepted?
What do you think about cults that develop around certain bands, such as the mimicking of haircuts and dress that became noticeable with TG and PTV. Why are so many people scared away by some of the imagery that TG and PTV made use of, such as skulls etc.?
Sleazy: I think that it must be that we have a different threshold, a different interpretation upon imagery. Formed in 1975, their outrages – which included performing naked, vomiting onstage and writing songs about burning bodies – created considerable controversy. Even in death, Peter Martin Christopherson is still giving us something to think about, which we should celebrate. Think I met the aforesaid hippy just after the Spare retrospective at the Morley.(?) It was a powerful meme at the time in squatterdom.
It is not my purpose to try and prove anything; my aim is to construct a magical mirror capable of reflecting some of the less elusive images seen as shadows of a future aeon [age]. When, this is understood, the reader’s mind becomes receptive to the influx of certain concepts that can, if received undistortedly, fertilize the unknown dimensions of his consciousness. What is extraordinary about Lukacs is that he was one of the few Marxist philosophers who really added something to Marx’s views. The problem is that Lukacs identifies reification with objectivity, whereas they cannot be considered socially or conceptually identical: “It is in Hegel that we first encounter alienation as the fundamental problem of man in the world and vis-a-vis the world.
History and class consciousness follows Hegel in that it too equates alienation (Entfremdung) with objectification (Vergegenstandlichung). As for KG’s prose, Joyce did it a hell of a lot more poetically and artistically than the Slime Lord imho.
To add another local lad into the mix, Thomas Carlyle wrote ‘Signs of the Times’ (which described 1829 as ‘the mechanical age’) and ‘Sartor Resartus’(which reads like Kenneth Grant in places) while living at Craigenputtock farm in Galloway. One aspect of the situation that deserves having more light thrown on it is the extent of overlap or continuity between the anarcho-punk and Fascist milieus in the early 80s.
I have asked for a clarification – are Flowers in the Dustbin, Youth in Asia and Hagar the Womb alleged to be fascist fellow-travellers? Blimey, don’t the blokes who run the blog have anything better to do with their time? Last time I checked there were dozens of websites, forums and organisations countering the BNP, the EDL and the crypto-fascists in parliament. So AL as a clarification, Steph, Mark, Mick & Kay etc were not in any way shape or form nazi collaborators at the time. I was about eight or nine years old, and I remember becoming aware of a rumbling noise, half-way between a distant pneumatic drill and a badly tuned diesel engine. No one could hear what I was hearing (not even the dog), and I never got to the bottom of the mystery of the noise. Indeed, The Hum - as it is now known - is a mysterious phenomenon which has been reported by thousands of people around the world. In the Seventies, the city of Bristol was afflicted, with hundreds of people complaining of a persistent sound that caused sleeplessness, headaches and even nosebleeds. There were also intriguing reports that immediately after the September 11 attacks on New York, some Americans who had hitherto been haunted by The Hum claimed that it had stopped, at least temporarily.


For some cannot be picked up by electronic microphones, no matter how sensitive or advanced.
I used to get letters from a man convinced that the noises he was hearing were the result of a secret military experiment whereby radio receivers had been implanted into his brain, a relatively common delusion in the radar age. Well, Dr David Baguley, of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, thinks that in many cases, The Hum can be explained by boring old oversensitive hearing.
Putting your hands over, or fingers in, your ears won't work as your hands will still move slightly and make noise. That sounds so patronising to say, but I just think that the fulfilment I get from doing things that have no immediate everyday need while at the same time fulfilling other needs, certainly indicates to me that it would be interesting for other people to try them too.
Where they differ is that the organised church has exploited its knowledge of ritual to control people and enhance their own political end.
The point is it works, that power can be summoned, generated and you can harness, manipulate and channel it, so you never need to know where it comes from.
Basically it’s because the church saw other people who were doing rituals as a threat to their control.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if in ten years time there was a religious resurgence of interest in the church.
Certainly we could rely more on backing tapes in the way that a lot of groups do, but people really want that sort of dense atmosphere and rely on that adrenalin rush and I don’t know if you can get that from backing tapes. And also we were just trying to advance our intellectual and artistic aspirations in a new way, because prior to that we hadn’t been doing music at all. We’re very cautious about having one heavy message, but we do have a life style and I do want to change a lot of things. And the people that do that in America are far more out on a limb until they get some commercial success. Its created force is what we’re aiming at, rather than militaristic, crass and obviously masculine, sexist type things.
The only thing you can do is to try and make sure it doesn’t take place in your own home. I think that The Birthday Party were dance music, but it wasn’t the kind of thing that got played in discos very often. Although we obviously have interests slightly apart from the norm, we haven’t particularly gone out of our way to create an image. Because although it is part of our lives, it’s not something that we would particularly be interested in having a name for promoting amongst young people. As a founding member of Throbbing Gristle, he was part of one of the most experimental and notorious British groups of all time. Some monged out hippy ex-pal of Syd Barrett played this to me in his squat over two decades ago.
In order to achieve this aim a new manner of communication has to be evolved; language itself has to be reborn, revivified, and given a new direction and a new momentum.
Lukacs goes further than Marx, developing the notion of reification in a way it is not developed in Capital. However, in the term ‘alienation’, he includes every type of objectification.” Thus ‘alienation’, when taken to its logical conclusion, is identical with objectification.
It is necessary to make such distinction, because only in certain forms of society is there reification of external objects.
On the left is a picture of Gary Smith around the time that he was a member of his first band The Decadent Few.
Though I haven’t read any Evola, it all sounds like a bunch of miserable people hiding from reality and current affairs, cos Narnia sounds better.
So all of this starts with AL talking about Gary Smith and nobody else who knew Gary responds? It returned on a couple of subsequent evenings and then vanished, never to be heard again - by me at least.
I also did all the searching, turning the power off etc and it was still there so it's either in my head or coming from outside.
I recorded and uploaded it onto this site anyway just for archive purposes and so you can hear both sides of this record! I think that way of living is far richer and it gives them an awareness of what and where they are. Certainly in this country in the last thousand years the church has been a political machine that has done what it has for profit and for the advancement of the people in control. And if you have a body of other people doing a ritual that somebody else has designed, then it’s more easy to believe that it might have some power. It was a curious matter of fact title, almost like a manual a handbook you’d come across which could be the key to immense power and change. I mean there s,as a huge reaction about people being sick because it was the first high class splatter movie. It maintains a pseudo-science, it has a wishy-washy quality that I don’t particularly want to be associated with. We’re obviously not like Ultravox where their album and the way they view life may be quite separate. I mean New York is a cultural island relative to the midwest – where the people that do weird records have a difficult time.
Rough Trade actually said that the cover notes to `How To Destroy Angels’ were misogynist, which I find ridiculous just because it dealt with masculine qualities.
In man – ways the people that are supposed to be spearheading the libertarian view are just as limited in their view as the gutter press and the more conservative elements.
We wanted to try and express it in musical form, and I’m personally quite pleased with the way it turned out. But it’s certainly not a considered attempt to do a dance record, because I think if we tried to do that it would be a disaster. I mean from The Beatles onwards, some records have struck at exactly the right time for them to be amazingly successful and also interesting from some other philosophical or inspirational point of view. In many ways it works against us because that means when we do occasionally give interviews, people don’t really know what to ask. And if people get scared by photos of the Berlin wall or something like that, then I just can’t perceive of the life they lead and how they could find it scary, because it just seems natural to me. The first industrial band, their music covered everything from machine-like noise to almost quaintly melodic electro-pop. But he was first and foremost one of the boldest, most innovative musicians of his generation. The truly creative image is born of creative imagining, and this is- ultimately-an irrational process that transcends the grasp of human logic. For Lukacs, commodity fetishism was the “basic phenomenon of reification”, which refers to the process through which the exchange of the products leads to the transformation of social relations among human beings into apparently natural relations among things. Therefore, when the identical subject-object transcends alienation it must also transcend objectification at the same time. And without this distinction, it means that de-reification will imply that there are no objects, material or social.
I have no idea what happened to him, but like most fascist skins he probably eventually came to terms with his repressed homosexuality and gave all that nonsense up. But it’s just one blog, out of hundreds of thousands, that happens to be focusing on a particular, small musical genre.
I strongly advise you only to read the blog if you are interested in the subject matter, which is broadly about Fascist presence within, and use of, popular cultures.
In that way, I suppose it’s like Psychic TV regarding the set-up and collaborative aspects.


But ritual in the West is monopolised by the church, especially in Europe and the United Kingdom.
And I think it’s a pity that the church leaders have exploited their position that way because it has fucked up a lot of people in Northern Ireland, the whole of South America, Spain and most of the Far East. But they believed if the Gods didn’t get their blood, then the sun would not rise and the world would end.
And if it has a possible negative power, then they immediately say that the medium is at fault.
Originally by neutralising pagan temple sites and then building churches on the same sites, then by burning witches and religious persecutions.
You can rely very heavily on backing tapes, you can just do your best or you can bring in other musicians. With holophonics we were able to get atmospheric subliminals and record a particular feeling including the spatial limits of a room or a cave and the movements of people in it.
I’d rather been seen as a perverse noise unit with decidedly dubious musical leanings.
And the important thing Go remember is that one’s own opinion is the best there is for you but not necessarily somebody else. At least in England people are prepared to listen to something new with an open mind, so it’s that much easier. I can’t speak for the intentions of others, but I get the impression that The Art Of Noise were really a very considered attempt to do dance music in a way that would be artistic and fashionable.
A vast proportion of what we do and the way that we live our lives would probably freak out the majority of civilised people, simply because it’s out of the norm of their experience. I can still remember the shock of realising the catchy United single was by the same people who I’d seen posing topless (along with female member Cosey Fanni Tutti) when it felt like pornography had suddenly infiltrated NME. Fronted by Christopherson and his partner, John Balance – arguably pop’s firstly openly gay duo – Coil produced dark music that appeared in the films of Derek Jarman. But since, according to Hegel, the object, the thing, exists only as an alienation from self-consciousness, to take it back into the subject would mean the end of objective reality and thus of any reality at all. Mark and Steph had stepped out by this point and a friend, Gary, was taught Bass by Mike in vintage Paul Simenon-style, i.e.
Now you run along now, and make sure you drink your milk and cookies before creating more hysteria about sad bands like SPK and David Tibet. But to 'sufferers', if that is the right word, this mysterious throbbing noise, which never goes away and exists right on the brink of perception, is real and concrete enough to ruin lives.
On the Coil album Scatology, they are variously joined by Clint Ruin and Gavin Friday of Virgin Prunes. People carry out rituals all the time, the English parlour obsessions with table turning, clairvoyents and wishing wells.
If they couldn’t kill them, they used ridicule and fear tactics to deter people from the pagan heritage. But I remain very dubious about back masking and inaudible sounds having profound but subtle effects. I admire the intentions of all these groups, but the purity or scope of the possibilities are diminished by huge amounts in the translation to vinyl.
But at the same time, the implication that it’s out of your control is obviously rubbish. It has got to do with whether you are big headed enough to think that -our own opinions are the ones other people should hold. It may be crazy, but I still have an optimistic hope that free thinkers will be allowed to continue to do so because most of them are not threatening to society even though society might feel that they are. It’s as if society, like an organism, allows mutation in order to improve itself but keeps a tight rein on how much actually occurs.
That’s probably one of the most satisfying things for a creative person to do, because that spiritual or philosophical side stands or falls for what it is.
It’s ironic as well because at the time we were in PTV, one of the messages of the group was free thinking and independence from that kind of thing. Prior to this, Christopherson worked as a designer for the hugely influential agency Hipgnosis, creating iconic record sleeves for the likes of Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd. Coil have also written the soundtrack to the feature film The Angelic Conversation, directed by Derek Jarman, while the video for their version of Tainted Love is on permanent display at The Museum Of Modern Art in New York. All these exist and are practiced, but people seem to be somehow ashamed of them and would rather be represented by the church.
The chant begins with an extended description of Mahakala as well as his different emanations.
Just doing your best and trying to work out sounds that one could reproduce competently and that sounded interesting was really what TG were doing.
At any point you have a myriad of choices, whether it’s running and jumping out of the window or not Obviously things happen as a result of circumstances that one could not possible foresee and that is what one calls chance.
In 1986, Coil released a mini-LP with Boyd Rice, and in 1987 an LP entitled Horse Rotorvator.
The chant continues, calling upon Mahakala in his various forms to come down to earth and receive the offerings of the participants and to devour marigpa”. The Christian church has never been very sexual, except where the pagan undercurrent has been allowed to emerge because it was too strong to suppress completely. In the end, the intentions alone can be appreciated – golden conceptualists and dull records type of situation.
I have certain very strong views about particular things that other people would certainly think were elitist, unusual or unacceptable.
But the reason that people get frightened is because of their interpretation of those things, not because of the reality of them. The devil is a representation of pagan sexuality, which is why people are attracted to it even when seen as a Christian invention. And the Psychic TV dates that we did in the Summer and Autumn of 1983 didn’t really go any further than TG had. But I only hold those views for myself and I wouldn’t necessarily expect other people to enjoy the things that I enjoy. Coil are essentially a duo and five is the number of the aeon of Horus – the present time. We had Alex playing, who is a good musician in that he can play proper guitar, but jams even with good musicians tend to sound like what their influences are. The energy and powers exist to be able to do that sort of thing, but what’s the point?
And so a lot of Psychic TV stuff ended up sounding like The Velvet Underground, which didn’t seem to me like it was advancing anything.
Coincidentally we have touched upon a very common misconception – which is that elitism is a bad thing.
If my mum was living here, after a while she would probably think it completely normal and would have a much more realistic scale to determine whether I was a nice person or not. I think it’s worse in America where people tend to accept commercial dogmas more readily. But none of us, even Gen, has ever done anything really to make mileage out of being outrageous, it just comes naturally.
Although you see people on the subway with whom you feel you have absolutely nothing in common with and possibly even dislike just because of the kind of people they are, I’d rather have nothing to do with them.



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