Eden Tizard talks to experimental musician Heather Leigh approximately her trendy solo album Throne and her debut studio-primarily based collaboration with Peter Brötzmann as a duo, Sparrow Nights
Portraits by means of Eleni Avraam
The history of Heather Leigh places her at the thrashing coronary heart of an ever-shifting global underground. From collaborations with the likes of Jandek, Keiji Haino, and Peter Brötzmann, to co-walking the inimitable – and dearly ignored – record shop/label Volcanic Tongue, she has observed a welcome home on the margins.
The throne is one latest success, an album of punch-under the influence of alcohol desire clouded with the aid of peripheral threat. “The manner you dance makes me cream”, she sings on opener ‘Prelude To The Goddess’, at the same time as following track ‘Lena’ warns of “what your daddy did”. These are ballads lit by neon light and moonbeams by myself. They talk to the allure but additionally threat of nighttime sensuality.
It’s a meticulously built report that also sou,the ds lose and open-ended, bound by using Leigh’s out of the ordinary work at the pedal steel guitar. Throne ranks amongst the very boldest of guitar track this yr; with playing that alternates between the melodic, psychedelic warbles, and massive scorch-the-earth soloing.
In tandem comes Sparrow Nights, the state-of-the-art in a long line of collaborations with legendary rule-breaker Peter Brötzmann. It’s their first studio recording as a duo and one which takes complete gain of this new setting. Each sound right here is given enough room, the serpentine gamers able to create a conjoined, wordless music-craft, severed from ties to even the most freed from jazz.
Based in Glasgow for over a decade, the music form has grown to be step by step more foregrounded in Leigh’s work. 2015’s I Abused Animal become a turning point, the album a stripped-bare, psychotropic triumph that marked her first mission into a professional studio recording. Both Throne and Sparrow Nights see her further discover the parameters of what this new installation offers, one an exercise in ‘distilled’ songwriting, the alternative extra consistent with ‘spontaneous composition’, but both of their very own manner albums of tune.
In the conversation beneath, we talk those new statistics, Glasgow’s essential DIY scene, in addition to the tragic loss of Volcanic Tongue.
The throne is your second studio album, however, you have got a protracted record of recordings outdoor of that, a lot of that is extra improvised affairs. Was it at all counter-intuitive whilst you started to create extra composed portions?
Heather Leigh: No, it didn’t feel counter-intuitive even though it felt like a one of a kind way of drawing close the work and the transfer was almost a hurdle I had to recover from in my mind. Prior to I Abused Animal, most of my solo work was recorded stay to tape. I was already easing into greater identifiable music structures, though if you pay attention to my solo paintings as far again as my Cuatro, you can hear songs. Even if they seem nascent, there may be a herbal shape. I’ve by no means been an improviser that flails approximately, simply chasing energy, my fashion is greater along the traces of spontaneous composition, which isn’t just a term, it’s a planned technique. I suppose something exciting befell with I Abused Animal in that I became no longer teasing out compositions inside the improvisations, I changed into distilling the work into real songs. Yet, even in the one’s songs, improvisation is key.
Looking lower back I think I had an incredibly naive view that if I did write songs that it changed into someway betraying my herbal power to improvise, that songwriting became by some means less natural. I now recognise that’s bullshit and at times it is able to have been like Lou Reed’s line in one in every of my preferred songs of all time, ‘Work’ on Songs For Drella: “You assume too much it really is ’cause there’s work that you do not want to do.”
You’ve talked about how the on I Abused Animal, you went into the studio with a preference to test with overdubs and all varieties of studio trickery, however, in the end, found reduction to be the maximum helpful method. The sound on the Throne feels greater lavish, do you presently sense extra secure experimenting with the studio as advice?
HL: Yes, I experience an awful lot for relaxed and John Hannon become a completely different sort of recording engineer to work with than Joe Gubay, who engineered I Abused Animal. Joe become a genius with little such things as microphone placement or pieces of advice like, “You don’t ought to scream into the microphone, this isn’t a gig”, and he was using incredible pinnacle of the range gadget throughout the board that supposed despite the fact that the songs have been so stripped again they didn’t feel sonically bare like they needed greater.
With Throne, I took a complete week in the studio so I wouldn’t experience rushed, while I Abused Animal became basically recorded in a day. I haven’t any musical schooling so don’t describe my desires in terms of notes or musical terms in any respect virtually, it’s a great deal ofextra nebulous than that. John changed into distinctly intuitive to the point in which I didn’t really want to direct the details, he just understood.