If you ever feel tempted to hide a bit of something or other in your luggage before crossing an international border, one quick listen to this should set you right. 'A Cold Cell' has been kicking around since around 1999/2000, and most notably manifests on the 2001 Golden Hare comp and on the band's 2005 swansong The Ape of Naples. The version pressed on this 12" - single-sided, with the other side given over to a screenprint by Lindsay Todd - was until now available only on Sleepwalking, a home-listening (mixed) compilation that Optimo put together for Domino in 2008. Twitch had approached Peter Christopherson about using the track for the comp, and he offered to supply an exclusive remix for the purpose instead, adding '...In Bangkok' to the title.
It's always struck me as the last word of Isolationism: from desolated lyrical content through to Christopherson's spine-freeze electronics. It is by some distance Jhonn Balance's most affecting vocal performance: never has a man sounded so despondent and alone and emptied of hope. Although perhaps there is a shred of that last thing...the song is, quite literally, a prayer: a plea to the "Lord" to "save my sinful soul" from "local punishment", from "the severe prosecutor", and in, the end, from "the death penalty...Amen." Even the melody and the crying guitar and choral pads that underpin it (big overlap here with Sleazy's Threshold HouseBoys Choir), give the whole thing the air of a solemnly sung psalm.
Beautiful and harrowing, this is an unmistakeable highlight of the Coil catalogue. All the label's profits go to the Thai Children's Trust. Very limited copies available, needless to say.