CD, Elm Lodge Records, 2006
With this debut album, released on his Elm Lodge Records label, Soiled’s Marcus H. presents the culmination of his creative efforts and experiments with dirty electronic and beats. “Nil By Visual” is a rather interesting and coherent piece of musical work made all the more interesting if one is familiar with precursor EP releases, like “Mindnumb” and “Happyland”. After a fashion, this is an album of paradoxes and, if one would try to sum it in one expression, “refined coarseness” might well be it.
With “Nil By Visual” we’re looking at Marcus H. at his finest working DIY electronica experimentalism with a punk attitude and quite a bit of inspired talent. Lo-Fi looped structures of grubby beats and samples, with some guitar work sampling thrown in for good measure, make for a rather enjoyable and engaging listening experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on one’s memory. On one hand, the dirty beats and loop arrangements give it a definite groove with some tracks being somewhat danceable, but there is also a constant and definite feeling of tension that permeates “Nil By Visual”, giving it something of an introspective quality, something that is especially noticeable in more downtempo-ish sections. It is also a remarkably coherent release, giving the impression that Soiled integrated and developed the jotted down ideas from previous releases (and then some) into this full-length release, thus making the previous EP releases de facto early drafts and sketches. While knowledge of Soiled’s previous releases is not essential, it does give a better perspective to what is presented in this album.
“Nil By Visual” is superior by leaps and bounds to the mere sum of its parts, flowing seamlessly and organically, despite (or as a consequence of) the strength of individual tracks and their great diversity. The opening track, “25K Stare”, effectively sets the tone for the remainder of an album of contrasts with tracks like “Bullit Vrs The Bullet”, with its quirky guitar manipulation, and the somewhat chaotic, bordering on kafkian, “Toytown Council Stunt Team”. Listening to the way it shifts and flows, with samples and loops coming in and out of existence taking the listener on a wild ride between lo-fi danceable grooves and chillout moments, all permeated by a rather eerie feel, “Toytown Council Stunt Team” is without a doubt the standout track of this album. Sure to stick to the listener’s ear and mind, “Nil By Visual” (the title track) is also immediately worthy of notice as an extremely effective (and danceable) assemblage of looped sequences from various sources.
In some aspects, Soiled’s music is comparable to the output of artists like Mothboy but more down-and-dirty with an added kick and more attitude to it. “Nil By Visual” is an excellent debut release, very well composed and thought out, which makes for a rewarding listening experience from beginning to end and should definitely be checked out.
— Miguel de Sousa