"If one word can sum up this album, it would be: Arty! Originally planned as a limited edition for mailorder distribution among Coil fans only, "S&C songs" finally gained an official release and became one of the band's better-known albums (in fact, at the time this review was written it even had the status of being the best-selling Coil item at Amazon.com). Like some of the prior reviewers have stated, this is a collection of remixes, outtakes, and other obscure stuff, but I really do not care about the fact that this is not a "regular" album because little of the music Coil compose is made available for public consumption (a quite common thing when you know about Aphex Twin, Autechre and other `90s composers), so it's almost impossible to find the dividing line between their official releases and obscurities. On the other hand, I'm quite a bit surprised that none of the other reviewers noticed the strong ethnic leanings and the Arabian flavor of many tracks here: Combined with the latest studio technology and Coil's ever-evolving production skills, "S&C songs" walks a fine line between tradition and innovation and has some parallels to Peter Gabriel's famous soundtrack "Passion". Unfortunaly, there is no information about the origin of these ethnic sounds and how they were integrated into the music. Overall, this compilation covers a range that you could simplistically describe as "ambient music mixed with some occasional techno rhythms and lots of quirky noise", but as you might expect from Coil, "S&C songs" is certainly an avant-garde affair and does not follow any structural pattern, continually creating semi-abstract soundscapes with a cinematic quality - just check out the quiet chamber music of "Original chaostrophy" or the wonderfully eerie and melodic "Who'll fall?", which features various guitar lines that swim in an ocean of delay and reverb. The aforementioned track is built around a message left on an answering machine and tells about the suicide of a close friend, which again confirms the band's fascination with this topic. Also, the idea of cut-up and sampled vocals is truly taken to the extreme on some of the tracks since in most cases all that's left are fragments of word, sentences, and nonsense ("Futhur", "Her friends...", "Omlagus garfungiloops"). The latter, in particular, offers some of the best moments on this album by combining jazzy, shuffling rhythms with short saxophone parts and shimmering ambient melodies. More conventional rhythms surface on the 11-minute "Nasa Arab", which may be compared to Biosphere and Warp's famous "Artificial intelligence" compilations due to ist intelligent fusion of space-age atmospherics and bass-heavy beats. The textured violins and decidedly Arabian sounds of the 7-minute ?The original wild...", the pearling piano tinkerings of "Inkling", and the menacing noise loops of "Wrim wram wrong" also manage to attract the interest. Beyond that, however, things are more hit and miss; the crystal-clear production and the flawless audio quality are certainly something which set Coil apart from the flood of bedroom producer, but even the best studio treatments do not save songs which are melodically weak or underdeveloped. Even in these tracks, such as the fairly static "Who'll tell" or the rhythmically weak remix of "Love's secret domain", one can find interesting flashes and lots of odd sounds and atmospheres, but these numbers just tend to wash over the listener without making any impact. All in all, however, this is a compilation the more seasoned ambient listener should miss, and even if this is your first Coil purchase then you won't be disappointed because this is one of the band's most accessible and listenable ventures so far. Arty and intriguing."
Solid, but Sub-Par for Coil
Jesse Melat | Cleveland | 08/03/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"_Stolen and Contaminated Songs_ is a re-mix album of sorts for the far superior, now out of print _Love's Secret Domain_. It contains songs(or in some cases, mixes of songs) that didn't make the cut for LSD, and in some places it's obvious why.A number of the tracks just meander along, without the usual zeal Coil injects into their music, like "Omlagus Garfungiloops",a dark, slow-jazzy piece that, although is hardly uninspired, just kind of drags along for four minutes, wallowing in its goth-noir atmosphere, neither boring nor intriguing the listener. "Inkling" and "Futhur" are guilty of the same misdemeanor. The Coil "classic" contained on this album, "Nasa Arab" does the goth-noir-jazz atmosphere a whole lot better than the two aforementioned tracks, managing to hold attention for its entire eleven minute duration.Writing a review for this album is rather frustrating because there are not necessarily any "bad" tracks to it; all the songs seem very much inspired and capable of the great things I expect of Peter and John, but it seems almost as if many of them were incomplete in some way, as if they were stolen away from artists only halfway done, like the potentially interesting but merely disappointingly abrupt "Wrim Wram Wrom" and "Corybantic Ennui". Some of the tracks do escape this hindrace "The Original Garlic Memory", for instance, begins extremely strong, the mix of orchestral samples generating feelings of mysticism and Rennaissance...then come in these springy, carnival-like noises that clash wonderfully with the previous soundscape, making for a beautiful, developed song. The "original" versions of both "Love's Secret Domain" and "Chaostrophy" are contained, and, although they are inferior to the versions on LSD, they are nonetheless well-done, thoughtful selections on this release.Due to the nature of the album, the flow from song to song is very disjointed; there is little or no continuity or closure to the LP itself and the song order is rather arbitrary. Thus, what we have here is very much a collection of oddities the band had lying around in the wake of their masterpiece, LSD(which I advise everyone to obtain, beg, buy or Napster-steal). Probably not the best bet for Coil beginners(that is, not something upon which to evaluate the band itself) but a definite welcome addition to the collection of anyone who has already enjoyed their music."
Quirky, experimental pop
Eliphas Levi | Baton Rouge, LA USA | 05/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Formed by a former Throbbing Gristler and a buddy, Coil is difficult to describe as anything but "experimental" and "electronic." Some of their albums consist of little more than curious drones, while others are swirling with noises the hearer's mind cannot contain. *Loves Secret Domain*, released on the now post-indie WaxTrax label and currently out of print, collects a number of melodic, pop-based "songs" (they actually are coherent, with beginnings and ends) that are at times profoundly dancey ("Snow"), goth-y (as with the title track), meditative and pleasant or just plain WEIRD (the rest of the album). This their most accessible album tends to be their best, in my opinion (proof enough that these bois are capable of good, unpredictable, thoroughly enjoyable "pop"). *Stolen and Contaminated Songs* consists, literally, of songs ripped from the WaxTrax album and reworked. This album is not as good nor accessible, but remains an enjoyable, second best. Don't expect the sonata form!"
Wonderful And Scary
Eliphas Levi | 04/12/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alchemical music that strikes the dark, clear, dreamlike vein. Not for small children or falling asleep to (dreams may be affected). It is nice to listen to in rain or driving or when you want to impress/freak someone out."