Semaphore “make” an album that is very slow in starting, and has tracks present during “Make” that really start over each time. Thus, when a track like “Childhood Revisited” ends, there is no presumption that Semaphore has already been through this same scheme time and time again in the past. While the compositions (especially during “Drone”) are fairly sedate, this is not to say that they are Spartanly arranged or rely too heavily on tepid arrangements. Rather, there are arrangements present on “Make” that really allow tracks that enjoy a longer runtime (Push) to continue without the specter of ennui clouding possible enjoyment.
Still, while the arrangements might be sequenced in an interesting way, the sad fact is that the tracks on “Make” show a band in Semaphore that continually taps the same font of inspiration, meaning that tracks tend to morph together. It gets so bad during the disc’s runtime that when a guitar noodling around (Veggie), it is perhaps the most interesting happening in the entire track. Forty-seven minutes mark the length of this CD, but this time is multiplied by the blinders that the band has placed on their creative output. By having so little change and innovation, the band has sentenced themselves into cutting the same track twelve times. The further lack of vocals (Semaphore is an instrumental band) delete one further out for the band from this bleak reality; the music on “Make” is compelling when taken one track at a time, but taken as a collection, the disc suffers.
This is because, regardless of the differing instruments on “Make”, everything was “composed, produced, and mastered by Kirby Clements (Semaphore)”. When a disc lacks any input from other sources, chances are that the music present will not be up to the level it could achieve. Producers, other musicians, and other influential people are all able to point out flaws and suggest changes that in turn make the disc more successful. Just holing oneself in a studio for a few weeks is tantamount to writing thew first things to come to mind after waking up in the morning; without any critical input, the finished results will be weaker than they should be. The atmospheric sound of “Make” can be appreciated, but the under-performance of the tracks on the disc really make “liking” this disc a difficult thing to do, even for those completely into the genre.
Top Tracks: Drone, Push
Semaphore – Make / 2004 Laughing Shadow Productions / 12 Tracks / http://www.semaphoreband.com / Reviewed 17 September 2005