Black Signal
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Black Signal

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Duo EDM Electro




"Black Signal wins CEA for BEST ELECTRONIC ACT"

Check out a wrap-up of last night's 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards show in this Wednesday issue of CityBeat. (Spoiler alert: It was an amazing night.)

In the meantime, below are the winners in each of the CEA categories. Congratulations to all of the performers, presenters, nominees and other attendees for making last night's show at the Madison Theater such a success. (Here's a link to some footage from ICRCTV's Livestream stream last night.)

CEA 2014 Winners:

Rock: Electric Citizen
Indie/Alternative: DAAP Girls
Metal/Hard Rock: Moonbow
Punk: The Dopamines
Bluegrass: Rumpke Mountain Boys
Country: Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s
Singer/Songwriter: Molly Sullivan
World Music/Reggae: The Cliftones
Hip Hop: Buggs Tha Rocka
Electronic: Black Signal
Blues: Ricky Nye
Jazz: The Faux Frenchmen
R&B/Funk/Soul: The Cincy Brass
Best Live Act: Foxy Shazam
Best Artist Not Nominated: Young Heirlooms
Best Music Video: “8 Ball” by Valley High - CityBeat

"Niches Get Stitches: Black Signal pushes the boundaries of Electronic music"

Cincinnati’s multifaceted Black Signal pushes the boundaries of Electronic music

Sean “Scary” Garner, one half of Cincinnati-based Black Signal, claims his Electronica project got its moniker from garbled, indecipherable transmissions from outer space. It’s a fitting title given the unique brand of Electronic music that Garner and bandmate Matt Ogden have been assembling. If NASA is hoping to get some answers from those transmissions, maybe they should shoot some of Black Signal’s songs back into the void.

Black Signal, which recently won the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Award in the Electronic category, went through several different variations of lineup and sound before settling on its current iteration. Garner, Ogden and several others began the process as a Prog Rock project, but as members left and creative blocks were reached, the sound evolved. One element has been retained from the beginning, however: the sense of darkness and unease that Black Signal instills in its recordings.

“We’ll never give that up. That’s the one part that has to exist,” Garner says.

Ogden says he’s a big fan of abrasive, Nine Inch Nails-style synthesizers, but it was only with recent upgrades in technology that he has been able to faithfully create and record the harsh tones he hears in his head. By keeping everything electronic, Black Signal is able to write, arrange and refine its tracks fluidly, and take advantage of those precious moments of stimulation.

“When we get into the concept of writing, we’ll have this initial spurt of inspiration and we’ll get this skeletal piece together and we’ll just mull over it, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, sometimes two months,” Ogden says.

Black Signal’s music doesn’t line up with much of modern Electronica

The focus is not on one moment, with songs built around a defining couple of seconds. Instead, Ogden and Garner have put together a suite of songs that keep the listener slightly on edge. Fans of traditional Electronica or popular modern EDM may be caught off guard by just how dark Black Signal can get at times. The songs weren’t written for the clubs (Ogden says “Dubstep” like it’s a bad word). A dark room and a good set of headphones is the setting in which Black Signal’s music truly excels.
Garner and Ogden have harnessed an auditory vortex by bringing together elements of Electronica, Industrial and Downbeat. The influences crash and slam into one another, veering from one style to another with reckless abandon, but the overall sound is never jumbled. Each track has a flow and identity. They just don’t all have an easily assigned label.

Much of their catalogue is instrumental, with only a few tracks featuring guest vocalists, none of whom appear on more than one song. When vocals do appear, they add a dichotomy to Black Signal’s atmospheric soundscapes. For example, on the track “Eden,” Jess Lamb (a soulful, locally based singer and Garner’s fiancé) lends a soothing antithesis to the Industrial-influenced song, resulting in a Cyberpunk version of Beauty and the Beast.

Black Signal’s recordings are akin to a great movie soundtrack. It can meld into the background, but also grab the listener’s attention at a moment’s notice. When the duo dons its leather jackets and LED-infused helmets and turns on its visual projections (aided by projectionists Kevin Poole and Mandy Wong), Black Signal’s live show grabs the listener and refuses to let go. As the beats are filtered through a venue’s speakers, many of the tones morph into elements that you can feel as much as hear, turning a passive listening experience into one that demands attention.

Combining emotional, visceral music with helmets and robotic, prerecorded speech in between songs may sound odd, but it fits with Black Signal’s overarching goal.

“We’re in this weird bridging gap where a lot of our friends are in Rock bands,” Ogden says. “An ultimate vision is having this show that we can play with our Rock band friends … and this other thing where we play (to) the (local EDM festival) Ubahn Fest crowds, where everyone’s holding up glow sticks. There are two versions of it.”

This duality is at the heart of Black Signal and it’s what makes its music so captivating. The duo’s live show is one part Electronica, one part Rock & Roll. They dress and speak like robots, but perform an atmospheric and nuanced blend of sounds that’s all their own. Garner and Ogden spend hours poring over the arrangements of songs that inevitably change after a shot of inspiration. And their recorded output is a careful balancing act between warm emotion and clinical precision.

Now, if only they could get a hold of NASA. - CityBeat

"My 3 yr old daughter wants to be a robot princess for Halloween..."

My 3 year old daughter loves these guys ever since their fountain square performance earlier in the summer. She wants to be a princess robot for Halloween. This is the kinda awesomeness these guys can create. Princess robots. - The Mr Pointy

"WVXU local band primer"

This is an audio broadcast. Arrogance RDX was used as the intro and outro and Black Signal receives a nice little plug around 13:50. -

"MidPoint Music Festival Preview 2013: Black Signal"

I guess it’s official now that everyone really loves Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It was sort of the song of the summer, right behind “Blurred Lines,” and fans have embraced Random Access Memories largely because of the song’s popularity. Random Access Memories was a great record but, if I’m being honest, I really missed the electronic beats and squeals from the lovable robotic French duo’s earlier work. I guess I’m just “one of those fans” who can’t accept change.

If you like older-style electronic music with light-up robotic helmets and a taste for darker tones, you’ll love Cincinnati’s own Black Signal. Just like Daft Punk, they stand in front of formidable stacks of synthesizers and sequencers with LED-laden glass disguising their faces. But unlike Daft Punk, they make music for caustic nights of seclusion and terrifying journeys through abandoned, crumbling cityscapes instead of fashionable, breezy parties. Seriously, just take a listen. These guys aren’t playing around [I'm not sure if they're both actually "guys" or not because of the helmets]. People have name-checked everything from electronica to hard-rock, noir, soundscape, and doom metal in their sound. It sounds to me like a soundtrack to an 90's science fiction flick about a disturbing future dystopia.

Give these Cincinnati techno-freaks a try: we need more strange music.

- See more at: - each note secure

"Black Signal at MPMF"

Black Signal (Cincinnati)


Beginning life as a Prog Rock trio, Cincinnati’s Black Signal reinvented itself as an avant-garde Electronic experiment, playing live shows with Blue LED helmets and video projections. Bringing along the adventurous spirit of their former incarnation, Black Signal creates a collage of varying Electronic sounds and structures, providing danceable beatscapes that morph into dark, nightmarish atmospherics without advance warning. Black Signal’s sonic puzzle is made up of shape-shifting Electronica turned inside out, with the three members tearing down any boundaries conceivable.

YDIIYD: Glitch Hop, Telefon Tel Aviv, Kid 606, Christopher Willits. (MB) - CityBeat

""This Week At Southgate House""

Ft. Mitchell's Black Signal are a droning masterpiece of heavyweight ambiance featuring eclectic local music stars Sean Garner, DJEmpirical, Matt Ogden, Ian Gullett and Kevin Poole. - Rusty Pate, Cincinnati Indie Music Examiner,



Naudem (to be released) 2014


Lions EP (self released) 2013

Anoura EP (self released) 2012


White Dog (single) feat. B-Rad From The Breeze



"Black Signal makes music for caustic nights of seclusion and terrifying journeys through the abandoned, crumbling cityscapes of a disturbing future dystopia." - Each Note Secure

LED Helmets and Live Visual Projection help create an otherworldly feel as Black Signal navigates the stage from their cockpit of sequencers and synthesizers. The stage show focuses on a fluid, upbeat performance that comes across like a DJ set with live vocalists and instrumentation. 

Black Signal was awarded the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Electronic Act. In their so far short lifespan as this electronic incarnation, Black Signal has shared stages and bills with: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Breeders, A-TRAK, Mike Posner, Sound Remedy, Chuck Inglish and more...

The name refers to a sound source shooting endlessly through space. Black Signal started life as a three-piece prog rock band in 2008. The band grew to a five-piece and created the album Snow Mountain Sun Acceptance of Death. In 2010, 4 members reunited to release the industrial studio EP: Anoura before going into hiatus.
Reuniting in 2013, the current incarnation contains the two surviving members: Matt Ogden and Sean Garner along with the sometimes musical companion and live video engineer: Kevin Poole. The progressive element still remains in the scaled down, completely electronic version the band has become today.

Black Signal creates a collage of varying electronic sounds and structures, providing danceable beatscapes that morph into dark, nightmarish atmospherics without advance warning. Black Signals sonic puzzle is made up of shape-shifting electronica turned inside out, tearing down any boundaries conceivable. - CityBeat

Band Members