Review of “Mecca” –

“The reviewer listened to signalsundertests first at the live-looping festival in Antwerp in 2010. They are 2 people, 1 guitar/effects/computer, 1 misc/chaos pad/computer, whereat the second one probably also had, besides the own sources, the output of the 7-string-guitar as an additional source for the editing available. Back then signalsundertests provided as number 1 an atmospheric, fragile and extremely exciting set which immediately enthused (or inspired) the reviewer. “Mecca” is now the first release and with the expectation to get this experimental cocoon from Antwerp on CD the first listening almost hits you like a shock: already the title track “mecca” advances with programmed beats. The sound spectrum is even extended by vocals (#3 “Pushpull“, #7 “Glisten“), beset with instrumental, ambient tracks without rhythm including a cutting from the Antwerp set.

In the majority of comparable cases this is (or can be) usually like the death sentence for an intrinsic and cohesive release. In the case of signals undertests it is indeed very surprising (if one like the reviewer previously only knew the performance from Antwerp) but completely harmonious. The central theme is on the one hand the atmosphere of the tracks, dark, rainy, almost a little bit alarmist, even in the warmer moments (by the sounds and applied harmonies) not without (tension), not rarely as a soundtrack for a conceptional science fiction or horror movie. On the other hand, there is a focus on soundaesthetics, actually on specific sounds, which appear in all of the 7 tracks and thus blur the boundaries between the single tracks which thereby finally merge in a large stream. And these sounds actually base upon the fragile cocoon which could be heard in Antwerp, which probably arises because of Ricky Graham, the man behind the collaboration project signalsundertests, who is editing his guitar in real time instead of using a conventional setup. It is a perfect tightrope walk between song/track/experiment/soundtrack/etc. released as a digipack CD with a fancy cover (the motif is also available on t-shirts). Highly recommended; Comprehensive listening on the website and video platforms, so no excuses possible.”

Translation by Uwe Lorenz

Original Review by N


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