Album Of The Week: Heather Leigh – I Abused Animal

Heather Leigh - I Abuse Animals

We always strive here at Twistedsoul to cover new and exciting sounds regardless of genre, hype or trends. With that in mind, our “Album Of The Week” is the intriguingly eclectic album “I Abused Animal” by Heather Leigh. Renowned as a fearless free improviser, I Abused Animal is a breakthrough work showcasing Heather Leigh’s songwriting prowess, foregrounding her stunning voice and her innovations for the pedal steel guitar. Warmly recorded in a secret location in the English countryside, the album transmutes the power of her captivating live performances to a studio setting, capturing her tactile playing in full clarity while making devastating use of volume and space. Heather Leigh explores themes of abuse, sexual instinct, vulnerability, memory, shadow, fantasy, cruelty and projection. I Abused Animal is a personal, idiosyncratic and deeply psychedelic work, ranging from almost Kousokuya-scale black blues through the kind of ethereal electro-ritual of Solstice-era Coil. At times, the intimacy of the recordings makes you feel like she’s singing directly into your ear, playing just for you. The daughter of a coal miner, weaving a trail from West Virginia to Texas and now residing in Scotland, Heather Leigh furthers the vast unexplored reaches of pedal steel guitar. She’s performed and released music since the 1990s as a solo artist and with a wide range of uncompromising collaborators from Peter Brötzmann to Jandek and has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Her playing is as physical as it is phantom, combining spontaneous compositions with a feel for the full interaction of flesh with hallucinatory power sources. With a rare combination of sensitivity and strength, Leigh’s steel mainlines sanctified slide guitar and deforms it using hypnotic tone-implosions, juggling walls of bleeding amp tone with choral vocal constructs and wrenching single note ascensions. Stand out tracks include the title track, “Quicksand,” “Passionate Reluctance” and album closer “Fairfield Fantasy”. A multilayered, sometimes minimal and uncompromising 7-track journey makes for one of the best experimental albums of last year. Head here to grab the album, take a listen and soak up all its wonderful textures.

8/10

 

∗ These are not all our words, some text taken from press releases.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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