Andy Jackson is a name that will ring a bell with a lot of progressive rock fans. He was the sound engineer on the Pink Floyd movie The Wall (1982) and has since worked as sound engineer with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Boomtown Rats, and also Fields Of The Nephilim.
Apart from recording and engineering work however, Andy also is a guitarist and singer. Before releasing his solo album Signal To Noise, he played with The Eden House, a band led by former Fields Of The Nephilim bass player Tony Pettitt.
First of all, it should be noted that Signal To Noise indeed is a solo album. All instruments are played by Jackson himself, and of course no one but the man himself touched the cont rols during recording, mixing and mastering. As a result, this album sounds a lot like Pink Floyd, in terms of sound and mixing, as well as in terms of music. But, sounding like Pink Floyd is not the same as sounding as Pink Floyd, and musically there are definitely large differences. Partly because Jackson, although a good musician, cannot be compared to the likes of David Gilmour or Roger Waters when it comes to playing and composition, and partly because he has incorporated influences that never got into Pink Floyd's music.
Overall, the album reminds me a lot of early '70s Pink Floyd, especially in the opening track The Boy In The Forest and Invisible Colours. Also, a number of tracks contain guitar solos that are clearly inspired by David Gilmour. On tracks Spray Paint (80's Floyd) and It All Came Crashing Down (The Wall,1979) later Pink Floyd influences appear as well. What makes this work less inspiring than a Pink Floyd album is the fact that a lot of the tracks are somewhat repetitive in nature, and all tracks seem to be played in almost the same low tempo, which makes it hard to keep paying attention. A nice surprise are the vocals on the last three tracks. In parts of these (and the whole track in case of Brownian Motion) Jackson sings in a slow, low voice that might be inspired by the gothic rock of Fields Of T he Nephilim, but it also reminds me of Steve Hackett's voice on his album Wild Orchid (2006, think of the track The Man In The Long Black Coat).
All in all, I have to admit that on the first few listens, this album came across as a bit boring. However, listening more often and more closely reveals that it is not really boring, although some of the tracks are stretching the same themes a bit too long. Jackson is not a bad musician, nor a bad s inger, but he could benefit from using more of his own ideas instead of letting the influences of those who he worked with the past 30 years prevail. Worth listening, but not a must have album.
***+ Angelo Hulshout (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2015