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The New Face of Smiling

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Album Review

The third album by New Zealand's Bevan Smith under his Signer nom de electronique continues the artful blending of folkish acoustic guitars, glitchy electronic beats, and slightly mournful minor-key indie pop tunes that have been Smith's raison d'être all along. This time, Smith has slightly rounded the edges of his electronics, adding judicious amounts of reverb and phasing to soften the occasionally harsh sounds; on tracks like "Komputa Ga Bukowarera," the results sound rather like My Bloody Valentine's guitar-centric soundscapes updated for the laptop generation. It's a blend that works more often than not, whether on tracks as blissed-out as the dreamy opener "Low Light Sleep" or as moody and on-edge as "You're Killing Us Helen," which features a skirling violin part and deliberately lo-fi rhythm box that recalls Smith's fellow Kiwi experimentalists Alastair Galbraith and Chris Knox. Those comparisons are key; despite Smith's surface similarities to the likes of Flying Saucer Attack or Greg Davis, Signer is very much in the long tradition of New Zealand eccentrics.


Born: New Zealand

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

The productions of New Zealand's Bevan Smith as Signer form a bridge between the electronics-heavy early post-rock of Seefeel with the dub-saturated ambient techno created by the likes of Basic Channel and Wolfgang Voigt (Gas, Mint). Smith played in a series of rock bands prior to recording electronic music. He started the Involve label in the late ‘90s with the goal to cultivate a roster that blended indie rock with electronics; the label was initiated with a 1998 release from his alias as Aspen....
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The New Face of Smiling, Signer
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