This is a review of "Output EP" recorded by Signal Generator. The review was written by Paul Elam in 2005.
This four track EP from Huddersfield’s Signal Generator manages to do away with (admittedly now antiquated) notion that electronica is an automatically forward thinking and inventive genre. It reminds me of the deluge of guitar rock bands that think nothing of ploughing the same old furrow of music again and again that we’ve been subjected to over the years... because the synths can’t mask it: the same thing is going on here. Not that this is an intrinsically bad thing – but the artist involved has to be of an exceptionally high quality to make anybody actually care about listening to his or her work.
Everything is done well here. Synths bleep and sigh expertly... drums crackle about in and out of the frame... nothing outstays its welcome... and it’s all produced excellently. There’s even a pleasant feeling of glacial calm about the whole affair. The openers Memory Helmet and Cerebral Sit (the names belie Signal Generator’s influences as much as the music) exhibit all these qualities and more. Unfortunately they fail to grab you in a way that soulless electronica always falls on - with a feeling that so much time and effort has gone in to the building blocks that the whole has been missed. It’s melodic, it’s excellently structured and executed perfectly. But to be honest, who gives a shit if it doesn’t manage to become more than a sum of its parts?
Legno Lungo doesn’t belong on this EP. It’s the one track that exhibits any feeling, and the only one that manages to take any kind of a hold on your consciousness. A four and a half minute excursion almost entirely based on a beautiful rotating icy synth loop as it’s escorted along with cautious restraint by the rest of the track. All of the songs on this EP make you want to skip back and listen again, but Legno Lungo is the only one where the reason for this isn’t because you’ve just forgotten everything about it. And what about the last offering, Radix Lecti? See tracks one and two I’m afraid...
Perhaps I’ve been too harsh. This EP really isn’t half bad. But I can’t help thinking that if you have to listen to something repeatedly for days to even begin to form an opinion on it (as in my experience with the Output EP) then you can’t help but feel that your time is being wasted. There’s plenty of stuff out there that deserves your attention before this does.