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Griffin, Jim: The Signal

Guitarist in Irish instrumental post-proggers (and much more) Zombie Picnic, Jim Griffin now sends us The Signal, a solo album that somehow finds itself in the years between 1900 and 1914. Explained in the mysterious press kit as a lost time in history where most now merely focus on what appeared to be a inevitable march towards war, Griffin highlights the many achievements/events man made in these forgotten times with flight, production-lines, the first ever mass shooting and turbulent days for presidents and monarchs alike all recounted. However, I’ll let Griffin himself take us deeper into the concept here…

“Imagine then, even these momentous events passing into a state of historical irrelevance. Picture them eclipsed by a single accidental discovery. Such would have been the case, I contend, had the lost and unfairly maligned monographs of Samuel Clarke Atwood received the respect they deserved during his lifetime. Even now, I continue to temporize my decision to reveal to our new world the contents of his Edwardian journals. Wherein are recounted not only his revolutionary thoughts and experiments, but also the even stranger account of my mother’s life and her final disappearance.”

…and much of this basis is then narrated in fine style over the playful, spacey voyage of “Thought Experiment” by no less than Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult fame. Enigmatic stuff and no doubt. The cast list also expands to include, amongst others, PJ O'Connell (Hedfuzy/Ephemeral Cognizance), David Colohan (Raising Holy Sparks/Agitated Radio Pilot), Grey Malkin (The Hare and the Moon) and The Heartwood Institute. However, even that list isn’t as expansive as the music laid out, Griffin adding a fiery fret fury to the aforementioned “Thought Experiment”, while “The Burden Of Knowing” reveals a much more ethereal air via sprinkling synth sparkles, muted brass and a dance trance like mystery.

Add in the trippy “Our New World Will Bathe In Ancient Light” and the dreamy but still somehow insanely catchy “Spiral Staircase” (which has a short couple of bars where the pop and crackle of an old vinyl record being played actually ‘sticks’ in such a way you almost get up to nudge the needle on a groove or two) where Griffin’s intentionally tired vocals play against Evelyn Cosgrave’s recitation of her poem “Matter Anti-Matter”. The music here is excellent and captivating but it might actually be this album’s arrangements and song placing that truly catch the sway.

There’s a lot to take in on The Signal, with a curious concept playing against a wide variety of the more sedate end of the space prog spectrum. However the effort to unravel events and drink them in truly pays off on what is a rather wonderful, if somewhat enigmatic collection.


Track Listing
1. Intercept A0 
2. God of Rage 
3. Thought Experiment 
4. The Burden of Knowing 
5. Of Atwood's Machine 
6. Our New World will Bathe in Ancient Light 
7. Spiral Staircase 

Added: December 15th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: The Signal @ bandcamp
Hits: 169
Language: english

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