Adam Sonderberg

Signal Hill

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An interesting collaboration between Adam Sonderberg and Sam Dellaria, Signal Hill hits harder and harsher than the duo's follow-up 2000 CD, 64 Squares. They combine percussion, guitar, noise, and electronics into a well-arranged maelstrom. Whether the music was improvised live or is the result of a sound collage or reconstruction is unclear, and in the end doesn't matter much. The first two parts are more of a manic sound collage -- there are even bits of rock drumming in there! In the five other sections, things simmer down to a performance of live electro-acoustics. One is reminded of Voice Crack or even Morphogenesis, albeit with an emphasis on digital instead of analog noise. What is brilliant here is the construction, the sense of pacing displayed by the musicians. Signal Hill traps the listener in a sonic haunted house. Moments of acute darkness are followed by blinding sequences of events, during which the listener hardly makes heads or tails of what is happening. Amidst all the average material being released under the auspices of electro-acoustic improv, here is something that stands out not because of some new idea or the status of the musicians (widely unknown, actually), but for its ability to push the sound into harsher abstract realms while not letting go of a certain entertainment value. For those who find the music of Poire_Z too cold and linear, this is a nice place to go. This album first appeared as a cassette release on the home label Longbox Recordings, and was later reissued in CD-R format.