Published on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 20:23
Band: Sabled Sun
Album title: Signals IV-VI
Release date: 17 November 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
01. Signals IV
02. Signals V
03. Signals VI
Sabled Sun Signals I-VI is a sort of story within a story. Through the three Sabled Sun 2145-7 albums we follow the protagonist on a perilous and bleak adventure across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where, as it would appear, he is the only human left in existence. Having been released from a frozen sleep he finds himself in bad health and soon learns that the world surrounding him is in even worse health. His adventures have some very interesting highlights like in "Graveyard Of Broken Machines" as he encounters the remains of many peices of technology that he may not even understand, however in the next track "My New Best Friend" he finds a still functioning robot which is clearly friendly! But there is little happiness in this wasteland and by the end of 2146 we are faced with "My Dying Robot". This is just one of the many interesting things I have taken from the 214x series. On 2145, the protagonist seems to have found the first chance at making some sort of contact with others in "Signals". This can probably be the first chance to see a natural and fun place (for me at least) to completely segue from the 214x series for a bit and delve into the Signals series. Signals I-VI is a set of transmission/frequencies the protagonist of the 214x series finds and listens to.
Signals is quite different from the 214x series. While 214x has some of the most cinematic moments in the history of Simon Heath's music production, Signals I-VI takes on a totally different approach. There are little cinematics to be heard. This is space frequency drone ambient and can be considered optional as part of the Sabled Sun story. As a fan of the more cinematic side of dark ambient, I find Signals as a whole to be much less interesting than Simon Heath's other projects. The albums are all one hour-long track each, which are always slow-moving frequencies. I guess my main problem with Signals is that I ask too much of it. Signals shows its best moments as a background to other activities and would be a perfect 6-hour sleep mix. It has a calming gentleness that can at times become claustrophobic and others quite expansive. However, if you are the type of listener that is looking to follow a story, there isn't much here in the way of cinematics. As an optional sidestep into the material found by the Sabled Sun protagonist, it is an interesting and worthy concept. Drone ambient fans will find much to love in the Signals series. A huge contrast to much of Sabled Sun, Atrium Carceri, and Krusseldorf, the Signals series seems like an outlet for Simon Heath's love of drone ambient, and tying it in to Sabled Sun makes perfect sense in the way it is presented.
After six Signals albums and 2145 - 2147, most Sabled Sun fans must be dying to know more about the story of this world and its protagonist, not to mention the ever-so-slight potential for it to tie into Atrium Carceri's story-line as well. A recent post on social media by Simon Heath will only add fuel to this fire. A possible album cover for "2085?" may lead in the direction of some answers to the long asked questions in the Sabled Sun story.
Signals I-VI ends in a rather unusual way for the series, with a voice being heard speaking for the first time. After six hours of signals, static creeps in followed by a voice finally speaking. Is it the protagonist who has lost the signal and starts speaking or is it someone on the other side? I can't be sure of this and probably only time will tell. As always with Simon Heath, there is surely more than meets the eye to this story-line.
Review written by: Michael