Label: Ideologic Organ
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I Abused Animal is Heather Leigh's first solo album for Ideologic Organ, following solo albums on Kendra Steiner Editions, Golden Lab Records, Not Not Fun, Fag Tapes, Wish Image, Volcanic Tongue's label, and more. Renowned as a fearless free improviser, Leigh showcases her songwriting prowess on I Abused Animal, foregrounding her stunning voice and her innovations for the pedal steel guitar. Warmly recorded in a secret location in the English countryside, the album transports 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. 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 ofSolstice-era Coil. At times the intimacy of the recordings makes you feel like she's singing directly into your ear, playing just for you. Leigh has performed and released music since the 1990s as a solo artist and with a wide range of uncompromising collaborators including Peter Brötzmannand 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 while juggling walls of bleeding amp-tone with choral-vocal-constructs and wrenching single-note ascensions. She's played, performed, and released music with Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast, Charalambides, Scorces (a duo with Christina Carter), Dream/Aktion Unit (a group with Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano, and Matt Heyner), Taurpis Tula, Jailbreak(a duo with Corsano), Termas (a duo with Lynda), Annihilating Light (a duo with Stefan Jaworzyn), Richard Youngs, Blood Stereo, MV & EE,Robbie Yeats of The Dead C, John Olson of Wolf Eyes, Smegma,Jutta Koether, Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Bär, and many others. I Abused Animal was composed and performed by Heather Leigh. Recorded and engineered by Joe Gubay in Surrey, October 2014. Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin, July 2015. Photographs byDavid Keenan. Spiritual adviser: Dean Roberts. Ideologic Organ curation and art direction by Stephen O'Malley; manufactured and distributed by Editions Mego.
"Heather Leigh was one of the key players of the New Weird America, but the ambigously titled I Abused Animal, which followed a series of low-key solo releases on Golden Lab and Volcanic Tongue, was her first fully conceptualised solo statement. Lavishly presented, it addressed ideas of abuse, sex and violence like an iron fist in a velvet glove. Early this year her brutal/tender pedal steel sparred with Peter Brötzmann’s saxes in Glasgow. On this evidence, she went into battle well prepared." TheWire Best Albums of 2015