When we last checked in with Guitar, Michael Lüeckner’s electronic project dedicated to the sound of the instrument that bears his pseudonym, Lüeckner was penning sugar-coated odes to his adopted hometown of Tokyo with Ayako Akashiba showing up a few times to add lovely, lilting (if somewhat static) vocals to it all. To have a project devoted to the sound of an instrument produce an album devoted to a place was a confusing prospect, and the results were muddled and unconvincing; perhaps this is why Lüeckner seems to have gone back to what he does best, that being composition and experimentation with his guitars, the true loves of his life. Dealin with Signal and Noise may include Akashiba and Lüeckner’s new cohorts in Seattle band Voyager One, but it really is about the guitars—“Ballad of the Tremoloser” is a mesmerizing, hypnotic exercise in feedback as turned into chords, and the lovely “Sine Waves” is an indication that the Guitar-Voyager One teamwork is a worthwhile venture. Interestingly, the most rewarding tracks on Dealin with Signal and Noise are the noisiest ones, as Lüeckner simply can’t help but put traditional melodies and chords in amongst the noise; the noise then adds an extra layer of complexity to the songs that employ it, giving them an edge over the prettier, necessarily more listener-friendly material. This is the type of music that has built what audience Guitar has; Lüeckner was wise to return to it, to the muse that is the instrument.
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