The new album from UK industrial electronic band Digital Deformation is no lightweight when it comes to creating sounds to not only touch the ear but to test and stretch thoughts and senses too. Challenging and dramatic the body and essence of No Signal does not seek to leave uplifted hearts and smiles once it has ravaged its listeners but rather take them on a dark, at times steely cold, and ultimately a very rewarding journey. This music is not for those who want an easy life of electronic pulses and hooks that come with ear candy ease, the experimental expansive industrial soundscapes offered are for those who want to submerge within sounds, to feel them in every pore and synapse.
Formed in January 2010 Essex based Digital Deformation is the one man project of Matt J. Powell. The two previous Digital Deformation releases, System Failure and Powertrips both received acclaim with the latter finding some good radio play and press coverage. No Signal should garner even more attention and enthusiasm as Powell has evolved his earlier sounds into an even more controlled and intensely focused affair. The diverse array of splintered song structures, exacting fusions of sonically testing sounds, and a randomness overall that is rigorous and ear catching, makes each track on the album an inventive and creative maelstrom of edgy and intriguing intrusions.
The eleven songs on No Signal carry views, statements, and warnings, some obvious and some to be interpreted individually adding that little extra to make the music even more rewarding. There is a prophetic coldness and singularity to the emotions brought forth throughout from themes spawned from a hard and bitter mechanical base and others seeping the inner sickness that permeates this world. Powell uses diverse and at times demanding and surprising sounds with skilled ingenuity to bring an atmospheric and emotive smothering that suffuses the release and those whose ears openly digest the offered sounds.
The tracks attack and display their motives and aural visions consistently across the album, from the scathing and harsh ‘Digital Deformation’, the political and social battering of ‘Discipline Me’ , to the dark emotive ‘Divine’ veiled by distorted harmonies and throbbing pulses. The effect is formidable and demanding without ever leaving the recipient suffering needlessly.
Some tracks stand out more than most on No Signal like the senses slapping stomp of ‘f.uk.c’, summing up the general consensus right now it is a strikingly formidable and impressive burst of magnetized intensity. ‘Resistance Crushed’ a withering bombardment of incisive sounds and heavy beats, and the Nine Inch Nails/Global Citizen tinged commentary of ‘D.E.F.C.O.N’ show impressively strong creative songwriting and usage of layers and distinctly crafted at odds sounds. The closing majesty of ‘Salvation’ using a wonderful sampled female voiced melody to contrast the dark menacing truthful message raises the level most of all, with core felt warnings, false hope, and sparks of positivity for socially blind human moths, the track is verging on perfection and leaves the listener desperate to dive right back into the album upon its completion.
No Signal will not be for everyone though all should give it a moment of time as within its industrial corridors there is something for most waiting to be discovered. It is taxing at times, always challenging, and often aurally numbing, but these are also some of the reasons the album is so good. For those who do dip toes and more into the vast waters of industrial music, Digital Deformation should be high on their investigation list.