mescaline-injection.de – May, 2012 – Translated from German
“Electronic music of academics – No, this should not be understood ironically as it is not so rare. One might consider Englishman, Peter Green, for example, and his ‘Acid-classic’ collaboration with Mike Dred, which has received numerous awards and international critical acclaim. SIGNALSUNDERTESTS is Northern-Irishman, Ricky Graham, who has completed his doctoral thesis this year. Electronic music is seemingly attractive for most musicologists, even though it can often produce musical works that are completely pointless as they are ridiculous. But sometimes there are exceptions to this rule, such as Graham, who is immersed in his latest work, ‘Nascent,’ for more than an hour, presenting a variety of sound structures.
Ambient environments are explored here, for himself and the audience. Synth textures, subtle melodies, intimate arrangements but also some very special acoustic structures. Graham has the courage to produce exciting moments of contemplation. ‘Nascent’ also affords the rare luxury of an extended dynamic range, discouraging the listener to simply listen with cheap headphones. The album’s experimental design is still very accessible, providing very delicate details that unfold beauty like a flower in fast motion. For example, ‘Selah IV’ and ‘Axon (Reprise)’ present sparkling synths to be gradually joined by a filling, warming primer. ‘Nascent’ pursues no defined (conventional) musical structures as such, the tracks on the album are therefore difficult to distinguish from one another. Instead, everything fits together, fragments exploding into more fragments, which together make a whole. Ambient fans can be sure that ‘Nascent’ will be a really exciting journey. ‘Nascent’ is in the class of musical works that functions successfully just by itself without the need of accompanying visual stimuli. And when ‘Nascent’ creates figurative imagery with the one outlier track with female vocals, ‘Keep Me – 143,’ it still creates a positive effect.”