Around the time I was 8 years old, Andy Jackson became the sound engineer on the Pink Floyd movie The Wall. Since then he has worked as sound engineer with Pink Floyd. Based on his experience there, he also got involved with David Gilmour, Boomtown Rats, and also Fields of the Nephilim.
Andy can do more, however – he plays guitar and he sings. He has played with The Eden House, a band led by former Fields of the Nephilim bass player Tony Pettitt. After this, he recorded his solo album Signal to Noise. On this album, he plays, and of course no one but he was also behind the controls during recording, mixing and mastering.
The result sounds a lot like Pink Floyd, in terms of sound and mixing, as well as in terms of music. But, sounding like Pink Floyd does not mean you are Pink Floyd, and musically there are definitely large differences. Jackson is a good musician, but he cannot be compared to e.g. David Gilmour or Roger Waters, neither in playing, nor in composition. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality is less – Jackson has also incorporated influences that never got into Pink Floyd’s music.
Signal to Noise does however remind me of early ‘70s Pink Floyd, certainly in the opening track The Boy in the Forest and in Invisible Colours. Apart from these, some tracks contain guitar solos that are clearly inspired by David Gilmour. On Spray Paint (80’s Floyd) and It All Came Crashing Down (The Wall!) later Pink Floyd influences appear as well. What makes this work less mind blowing than a Pink Floyd album is the repetitive nature of the music, and the same low tempo being played in all tracks. It makes my mind wander away from the music at times.
The vocals on the last three tracks however are surprising. In parts of these (and the whole track in case of Brownian Motion) Jackson sings in a slow, low voice that may be rooted in the gothic rock of Fields of the Nephilim, but it also reminds me of Steve Hackett’s on Wild Orchid’s (The Man in the Long Black Coat, a Bob Dylan cover).
At first, this album came across as a bit boring. However, playing it for a few weeks reveals that it is not necessarily boring, even some of the tracks are stretched too long.
Jackson is a decent musician and singer, but he might benefit from mixing his own ideas with those of others than those he worked with for the past 30 years. A good album, but not a must-have.