Review Summary: The sky came down and tapped us on the shoulder.
Circulatory System plays out like one might envision the human body when described as a machine, full of hardwires and nerves connecting vessels pooling oil into our lungs to give us sustenance and power our brain. Signal Morning
imagines that machine as the byproduct of all the emotional and physical stress it is subjected to, the worker ant diligently accepting the patterns spun by a misty grey mother nature and all the orange parties filled with woodpeckers it can stomach: here are the electronic diversions, the I You and We crowding the walkways and talk talking our thoughts to We I and You. Here are the mental breakdowns seized by a mysterious illness and its arduous, triumphant recovery, as if the story of Elephant Six alumni Will Cullen Hart-- following the release of debut Circulatory System
, Hart was forced into a seven year hiatus by the symptoms and diagnoses soon thereafter of multiple sclerosis-- is infused into the very DNA of Signal Morning
’s chaotic, cut-and-paste pastiche. The facts are these: creatively rejuvenated following the successful recovery of his eyesight and other physical and psychological ailments, Hart recorded 30 or 40 tracks on a handful of CDs which he handed over to bandmates Charlie Johnston and Nesey Gallons to sequence and edit together. “They added some horns and backing vocals. It was awesome.” All the original members of The Olivia Tremor Control appear, as well as Neutral Milk Hotel members Jeff Mangum and Julian Koster. It at times recalls the neo-psychedelic that many of these Elephant 6ers, Hart included, have made quite the impression on.
As a personal narrative (quite the overstated, sprawling narrative at that), Signal Morning
is something a bit more intriguing, relying more often on the emotional provocation of its sound experiments and how they widen the emotional cracks of ruminations like, “Why not try breathing along with the universe?” or, “Do you think we can lift the shadow? Do you think at all?” Questions are posed, answers are contradicted, and Hart, aided by remarkably creative companions, unsnarls an industrial indie-psychedelic-rock clusterf
uck that covers all the requirements one must cover when attempting a follow-up to one of the decade's earliest lo-fi trend-setters. Signal Morning
is also a bold championing of that genre at a point when contentions must be made about its current state and unforeseeable future, and a celebration of the life that leads to such an intimate, overstuffed recount of one's own particle parade.