Review: Soiled – Phonic Grafts

a4098423326_16Phonic Grafts does not dwell. Instead, it submits itself to the undertow of passing thought. The sense of movement here is irresistible; some sounds are wrenched and stretched into the future, others are stranded on the riverbank and left to fade away, and a few melt into Doppler glissandos as we hurtle past eachother, pitches drooping as Soiled drags me forward. The landscape is never static. Guitars rattle out of tune to my right, winds bristle and recede to my left, drones emerge on the horizon and then dip behind the sudden gleam of synthesiser keys – joyous first, then terrible when I look again – as white noise and smeared delays stream through the gaps between instruments, gurgling with the currents of inexorable forward-motion, rife with the debris of choral song and television dramas and samples eroded beyond recognition. This is collage woven from the blessing and curse of constant movement: liberated from the tempering influence of deliberation, yet fated to a lonely existence of transient sensation and peripherally-perceived curiosities.

There’s a track here called “Submerged In Non-Thoughts”: a strange dream of a rock show at an exploding underwater nuclear power plant, with drums pattering upon loose loops of luminous ocean flora. The title is perfect. I am enveloped by the sense of tearing through the margins of life, surrounded by the part-formed and helplessly incoherent. The album’s 37 minutes pass incredibly quickly, and my recollection of the experience is immediately very vague. Guitars arcing upward, like whale tails, out of a toxic green sea. Piano keys bobbing upon static and the miscellaneous bustle of life. Repeat listening doesn’t work to solidify any of the sensations here. Each and every time, Phonic Grafts manages to circumvent the harsh, lucid lights of the present tense. It’s either rushing toward me or floating away from me; an implacable imminence or a tang of lingering sensation, arcing over my head like one of those aquarium tunnels: distant, gravity-defiant, unknowably strange.

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