UK Music Review – “Mecca”

“One of those records that embraces atmosphere and brooding intensity above your traditional songwriting tropes, MECCA from Signals Under Tests is a testament as to what can be achieved with a minimalist outlook and sparsity. Coming from Ricky Graham, a Northern Irish musician and producer who has toured throughout the UK, Europe and Asia promoting various releases since 2008, Signals Under Tests is a project that skates close to the post-rock electronica of outfits like Boards Of Canada, Ulrich Schnauss and some of Aphex Twin’s more subdued moments. 


MECCA is a definite mood piece, a collection of musical entries that soundtrack the darker hours and the more brooding moments; openers MECCA and 000000 instrumental slices of electronic ambience that set a dark tone that permeates throughout this release. The addition of vocals by David Whitaker on PUSHPULL almost upsets the delicate balance, his baritone rap style a little abrupt and unwelcome amidst all the ambient sparseness; but things ultimately work to the advantage, PUSHPULL providing a brief glimpse of humanity within the cold electronic landscape that Signals Under Tests present.

Elsewhere here, FFFFFF is another ambient instrumental that bristles with cold dark aesthetics, chilling but strangely beautiful, whilst a J King Remix of title track MECCA puts a wonky jazz fused spin on the original taking things in ever more deliriously mood driven directions with added Detroit techno inspired grooves.

MECCA closes with GLISTEN, a suitably atmospheric sounding climax as Ricky Graham ups the emotional ante with vocalists Michi Britsch and Minna Twice adding their ethereal voices to a track designed to leave you all misty eyed and wistful.

With MECCA, Signals Under Tests deliver a satisfyingly dark and brooding experience that deals in sparse electronica and moody ambience. Musician and producer Ricky Graham weaves a cold but beautiful swathe here with a collection of musical pieces that make up an impressive whole, MECCA a record to cherish.”

Written by Mike Bond:

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