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RIP: Peter Martin Christopherson

Sleazy, Self-Portrait

It is with sadness and a vague sense of loss and regret that I inform you that Peter Martin Christopherson, also known as Sleazy, formerly of the bands COIL, Throbbing Gristle, and Psychic TV, died in his sleep, on the night of Wednesday, November 24th.

I’ve been plotting and putting off a kind of a “Music And Magick” curatorial, here, for some time, and Sleazy was going to feature very heavily in that piece, not least because he and his partner, Jhonn Balance, formed COIL. One of the most well-known industrial music outfits of all time, COIL explored and experimented with concepts of musicality, temporal boundaries, and the intersections of hearing with the other senses, even going so far as to suggest certain substances to ingest while listening to particular tracks. In addition to this, while under the banners of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, Sleazy worked with Genesis P-Orridge, a musician and magician whose commitment to the idea of permanently altering experience and perception of self should be well known. But, aside from the drugs, the psychedelia, and the heavily-Austin-Osman-Spare-influenced conceptual co-opting and modification, Sleazy was simply a prolific and mind-bogglingly talented musician, and one who has left his weird eldritch mark visible just under the skin of contemporary music.

On a personal note, when I say “a vague sense of loss and regret” it’s because I never met the man, and though I’ve been influenced by his work, for longer than I can remember, I also feel like I haven’t listened to nearly enough of what he helped to create. But every memory of my latter two years of high school can be played to a COIL soundtrack, and the idea of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle helped me find a whole lot of people, without whom I wouldn’t be the same. So, on this day, I am thankful for Peter Martin Christopherson, and that the world was able to have known his work.

I was going to do a musical montage, here, a little bit of everything, from everything, but that seems… overwrought. Instead, I’ll simply leave you with this: COIL did a song called “Solar Lodge,” which concerns the rising of the Black Sun. In certain alchemical and occult traditions, the Black Sun is the first stage of the purification process necessary to transform lead into gold, or gross material substance into spirit. I’ll let the man’s work have the last word:

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