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Poisoned Soil

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Album Review

Following a year after a split release with Mamiffer, Aaron Turner's main post-Isis effort, Poisoned Soil found him and bandmates Faith Coloccia (also Turner's partner in Mamiffer) and B.R.A.D. refining that particular sound into something distinct, a series of three long, partially ritualistic compositions that could be field recordings from some strange rite somewhere. The tinnitus-level tones and echoed semi-chant that start "Spoiled Fruits of the Kingdom" shift into murky rumbles and further textures, at points suggesting the near-anti-music approach of prime Main, though at times without Robert Hampson's obsessive sense of rhythm. Instead, there's often the feeling of quiet unfolding and movement, even if it's reduced to a whispering, distant wind. Only toward the second half, when a slow, doomy trudge driven by B.R.A.D. that's pure Earth/Swans in feeling, do the beats get explicit, even as distorted voices swirl up and around in a new strange shading. "The Ladder That Leads to Nowhere" has an almost warm and stately feel in its opening cycle of vocals and textures as a series of distorted fanfares, but the space of crackle and echo interspersed between them sound like grinding walls moving apart or massive machines passing by. The vocal extremities halfway through aren't going to thrill anyone needing purity of tone — then again, why would they be here if they did? — but the overload of cracking wordless gasps, bird calls of sorts, and genteel guitar is something else again. "Inappropriate Body" is the longest and perhaps the most formal of the three songs, thanks in part to the relative clarity of the midsong chants and their placement around the sonic elements careening in and out, returning to another slow chug of an arrangement in the final minutes.

Poisoned Soil, House of Low Culture
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