The First Decade After Violent Death: Remembering Jhonn Balance of Coil

Jhonn from Coil

“Does death come alone, or with eager reinforcements?”

Ten years ago today, Jhonn Balance of industrial and experimental music legends Coil passed away at the age of 42. I’m not going to leave an entire biography here, as the man’s life and history are well documented if you only take a brief moment to search. My personal takeaway from Coil’s music is the constant exploration of life, death, sex, consciousness, dreams, and self. With music that so often meditated on the purpose of death and what may lie beyond, Balance’s early passing seemed to have been prophesied in his own artistic endeavors. Many of my readers know about my enthusiasm about Coil’s music, so I thought I would curate a playlist to help open-minded readers begin a journey through Coil’s expansive history.

The songs on this playlist are not necessarily hits, although some are surely fan favorites. These also don’t fully represent everything Balance did, as his works outside of Coil included many collaborations, remixes, and other performances, but should give some insight into the vision and diversity of his works with Peter Christopherson as Coil. While there were occasional contributions from others, the sexual and spiritual chemistry between Christopherson and Balance absolutely set the foundation upon which all of their beautiful works were created. Christopherson recently left us as well, but it was Balance’s passing that ended Coil’s all too brief time on this earth. For folks looking to delve beyond the twelve selections I’ve chosen, I highly recommend the posthumous live release, …And the Ambulance Died in His Arms. It was recorded in the year leading up to Jhonn’s death and is a fantastic display of Balance’s personality along with Coil’s experimental and improvised live sound that became a trademark of their last few years as a band. Thanks for taking the time to read this piece. I hope you will find something you enjoy among these songs culled from Coil’s extensive discography. If you’re a long-time fan and feel a certain song warrants inclusion, please contact me and I’ll add it in!