Listen with the lights out, or so the guidance on the sleeve of Heather Leigh’s “Nightingale” might say if there were actually anything more than song titles thereon.
For those unfamiliar with her oeuvre, Heather Leigh slowly tortures and systematically abuses some distinctly malignant musical instrument cast on to this planet, at least in the time of its creation, as a perfectly normal Nashville style pedal steel and all in the name of musical enlightenment. Not that the casual listener could, in any case, hazard much of a guess as to the source of this sonic assault other than to say that strings were likely involved.
Given the one song a side approach, Ms. Leigh clearly thinks in distances longer then the quarter mile and paces herself accordingly with “Asenath Miragarl” drawing forth mental accusations of being an exercise in freeform looping with underlying liturgical motivations. Expect not an end for there is none. “Bombyeilla Shadei”, at least in the context of this album, seems altogether more commercial. Not in the saleable sense, of course, but in the sense that its very structure, even when devoid of such niceties as melody, gives both focus and power as if Ms. Leigh had engaged the four wheel drive to drag herself out of the mire that is the left field. As before though, the stop is upon you before the end.
As with so many of her other releases, sound quality has taken a back seat to perceived sonic impact and, once again, your ears will have to suffer the indignity of poorly recorded mono sound. Whilst this is no doubt an artistic statement, those of you who have seen Ms. Leigh perform will find themselves deprived of the sheer power and skill so clearly evident in her live performance.
In the final analysis though, we should still be glad “Nightingale” has been released on vinyl. God, after all, does not listen to MP3s. God does not listen to One Direction either. God is analogue only. The Bible, if I were ever to have one handy, would no doubt tell me so. Let there be light.