Signalsundertests shifts constantly. One moment you could be in perfectly mellow ambient territory. The next moment a sudden wave of distortion could pummel you. ‘Nascent’ is a lot of fun that way. As soon as you think you’ve figured it out, there’s more to come. Part of this effect comes from the sheer length of some of these tracks. The other part of this effect comes from Signalsundertests work with other composers, both in terms of space and melody. Richard clearly knows about space as the sound appears to nearly swallow the listener whole. While it moves forward it never loses sight of the melody, whether it is delivered by a twang of a lonely guitar or by fast-moving pulses.
‘Axon’ and ‘Axon (reprise)’ provide some of the strongest moments. On these pieces Richard goes from lonely sounds to absolutely ferocious environments. On the ‘Axon (reprise)’ Signalsundertests veers towards violent shoegaze. ‘Keep me (143)’ takes a different approach. Here there is a clear influence from Raster Noton’s clean edited sounds, specifically Alva Noto and Byetone’s works. This is the only song with vocals. My favorite piece by far has to be the insane ‘Selah ii’. Here is where Signalsundertests goes very far out. An ever increasing volume is accompanied by a brooding guitar which blasts away from the rest of the album. For me this is the most intense and enjoyable track on the entire album.
I like the mix between quiet and loud. Thanks to the emphasis on melody Air remains engaging on an emotional level as well as a physical one.