John Balance born 16 February 1962 (d. 2004)
John Balance - first name later spelled Jhon and Jhonn; born Geoff Burton, later Rushton following his mother's remarriage, in Mansfield, England, was the founder of the experimental music group Coil, along with lover Peter Christopherson. They met while working together as members of Psychic TV.
He was responsible for vocals, lyrics, chants, synthetics and various esoteric sound-making instruments and devices. Outside of Coil he collaborated with Nurse With Wound, Death In June, Psychic TV, Current 93, Thighpaulsandra, and produced a couple of Nine Inch Nails remixes. His early work and wide-ranging collaborations made him one of the most influential figures in the industrial, experimental minimalist and neofolk music scenes.
Balance was considered by many to be one in a long line of magicians and occultists such as Brion Gysin, John Dee, William Burroughs, Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare. He drew on the works of Crowley, Dee, Spare, Ex-Velvet Underground member/mystical poet/percussionist Angus Maclise, poet/painter William Blake and Surrealist painter/sculptor Max Ernst for inspiration and guidance. He blended belief systems such as Shamanism, Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, Hermeticism and Gnosticism and imbued Coil's vast output with a magickal current designed to have a functionally transcendent effect on listeners. He employed magick devices such as sigils in and around the music to create the sense of an otherworldly 'presence'. Balance's musical concepts were a kind of sonic alchemy, combining the mechanics of avant electronic music and archaic synthesizers with the physics of magick and mysticism. This would define much of Coil's sound.
He had long struggled with alcoholism, which was cited as one of the major contributing factors to the breakup of his long-standing relationship with Industrial Records co-founder Peter Christopherson, and was a recurring theme in his later musical work. He died after apparently losing his balance [sic] and tipping over the banisters at his home while drunk. Peter Christopherson - they remained good friends after their split - was watching TV in another room in the house and heard the crash. Balance was rushed to hospital, but he did not regain consciousness. His condition deteriorated over the next few hours, and at 9.20 pm on 13 November 2004 he was pronounced dead.
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