new music: mirror signal’s alt-soul ‘herculean task ep’ lights a fire beneath his beautiful production #soundcheck

July 10, 2015

Steven Barker’s music as Mirror Signal is all about the atmosphere. Cutting in inspiration from shoegaze and space rock into his alt-soul, his songs often shift from ultra-dense layers of vocals to minimal sine wave synths suspending for an eternity. But at the heart of his music is always a focus on texture and atmosphere. On his ‘Herculean Task’ EP, Mirror Signal crafts soulful hooks out of spaced out pieces for a record equal parts chill and passionate.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor



“One Day” opens with the question “What’s this Herculean task that ask of me?” It’s one of the quietest moments on a record littered with delicate melodies. It’s the sound of resignation to defeat, almost immediately countered by his promise “tell me the fears that you have and I’ll take them away.” Answering defeat with strength is what keeps Herculean Task compelling. Like the best atmospheric music, it does more than simply be spaced out and beautiful, it hints at a drive and fire beneath the beauty.

Lead single “All Along” continues to stun on this EP. His strongest hooks on the EP are balanced with tight production. Though the best production is saved for the closing tracks “Dat Won’ Save Me” and “Commiserations,” which shed some of the gloss from Mirror Signal’s collaboration with Ant West in favor of something a little dirtier and rawer. The closing duo might lack the pop appeal of “One Day” and “All Along,” but the rougher edges make for a more emotional take. Ultimately the balance between pop sheen and Mirror Signal’s more experimental instincts are a big part of what makes Herculean Task such a compelling listen.

It’s out on iTunes now and streaming above from Soundcloud.