Founded in Montana and based in Colorado, Signal Path have released six albums. Their latest effort, Imaginary Lines, shows that they have developed a solid musical identity. This band knows their sound: atmospheric electro-ambient music with busy mid-tempo beats. Imaginary Lines will not give you a seizure, but it won’t put you to sleep either; it’s a good album to put on at a party. There is always a dreamy, ethereal melodic line floating over the top of the mix, keeping it mellow and otherworldly when the rhythm section is doing complex and funky things. Signal Path has no singer, which makes the music ideal for writing, doing homework, or pre-partying before you go out for the night.
The sound of the album is fairly contemporary and hip with a few exceptions: “Mystery of the Yeti” is a seven-minute song that, mid-way through, surprises the listener with a smooth jazz guitar riff. This does not have the irony you would find in, say, a Beck song. Is this a bad thing? You be the judge. “Love You Like Cash” has a soaring ’80’s guitar riff which sounds less like an homage to the 80’s and more like the 80’s itself. One interesting touch is the recurrence of disembodied voices talking quietly on several tracks. It sounds like you are overhearing conversations on a bus.
With its lack of irony and its wholehearted commitment to atmospherics, Imaginary Lines will inevitably give you one of three sensations: 1) that you are watching a fight scene in a 3D robot movie; 2) that you are at a video art installation; or 3) that you are in the Coachella Rave Tent. It’s a bit like a Rorschach test: what will you see in Signal Path?