[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(54:04, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Dodecafonia 0:16 2. Mesjasz 4:15 3. Centryfuga 5:01 4. Entropia 13:41 5. Eden 5:30 6. Marzenie 3:45 7. Opium 10:53 8. Kruk 5:32 9. Centryfuga Revisited 5:11 LINEUP: Marysia Bialota – keyboards; programming Przemek Pilacinski – guitars; vocals Adam Wasaznik – drums; vocals With: Tomek Wiik – bass (4, 5, 7, 8) Natalia Uzieblo – flute (5, 7) Ola Jaromin – oboe (1, 4) Ania Wojtych – viola (1) Marta Czyz – vocals (2)
Prolusion. SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO is a band based in Warsaw, Poland, and prior to 2008 had released three EPs, the first one in 2003. Their debut album has now been released by the Russian label MALS, and consists of the tracks from the EPs "Stan Nieustalony" released in 2006 and "Demo II" from 2004.
Analysis. Signal to Noise Ratio is a band that tries to expand musical boundaries. Their goal, as stated on their homepage, is to "play unbound music, based on improvisation and the search for new musical experiences". Keywords stated by the band themselves: Signal and noise, harmony and disharmony, tension and languor, rhythm and arrhythmia, clarity and turmoil. And the musical content of this CD is pretty well described with those five pairs of contrasting descriptions. Dodecafonia opens the album with 16 seconds of fragmented sounds, followed by Mesjasz where the band explores the sound of 70's heavy prog mixed with asynchronous rhythms, guitars and organ creating melody lines at times both contrasting and disharmonic. The vocals actually add some elements of dissonance to the mix, resulting in a pretty weird overall sound. Centryfuga continues in a much more modern and melodic vein, with warm synths mixed with energetic drumming and partially solo guitar and partially mellow, melodic but distorted guitar riffs, and then the last minute or so is taken over by staccato, fragmented instrumental bursts. Entropia starts off with six minutes of guitar and bass-dominated improvisation in a style and manner reminding pretty much of Amon Duul II; the next five minutes continue in more typical '70s hard rock fashion, with similarities to Black Sabbath in sound, and then the song ends on a melodic note in a style closer to 70's pomp rock, al with some quirky rhythmical elements. Eden is a tune with quite another feel to it, although distinctly '70s in sound, the style is more of a folk and heavy prog mix, bringing association to Black Sabbath as well as Jethro Tull. Marzenie continues with something completely different, a jazz influenced composition with more of an avant-garde approach to song structure in general and rhythms in particular. As an additional treat, some dissonance settings are also explored on this track. With Opium the German psychedelic rock influences are highlighted again, but this time adding in influences from more traditional psychedelic rock, and with a cacophonic climax in the middle of the tune. Kruk starts off as a slow harmonic piece, evolving into a jazz-influenced performance carefully exploring disharmonic elements at first, before eventually ending up inserting pure noise parts into the melody to explore the sheer contrast. A remixed version of Centryfuga ends the album, providing a totally changed tune where a blanket of floating synths and noise dominates and to a greater or lesser extent allows fragments and segments of the original tune to become relatively audible. A highly eclectic mix of tunes in style and manner where variation, improvisation and a distinct '70s edge to the performance are common denominators. Stated influences for the band are artists like Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Jethro Tull, the influence of which can be traced in many of the tunes. None of them sound derivative, and most fans of the stated influential artists will definitely find many songs here to their liking.
Conclusion. The ideal listener for this album is a person who enjoys avant-garde and experimental music just as much as '70s classic and psychedelic rock. Fans of the former or latter should each find half the album interesting, while fans of both directions should note down this release pretty high up on their list of releases to check out.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]