A Signal Path song opens like any other jazz tune -- with brushes hitting a drumhead. Then a guitar enters. Then a computer.
With a laptop computer and a list of samples, Signal Path's music wanders between experimental jazz and electronic music.
"It's all interpretation," acoustic drummer Damon Metzner said. "We're interpreting electronic music through our own ideas, which are really limitless.
"We're not programming music on a laptop. We're not deejays. We're into that kind of music, but when you have five musicians on stage communicating with real instruments, it's not going to sound like a deejay."
In many ways, Signal Path is the sound of a jam band searching for a way out of the jam band scene. It's the sound of a group that became disheartened by what they were doing and started looking for something new --"something that's new for ourselves and new for the scene," Metzner said.
Signal Path was started by guitar player Ryan Burnett. Burnett was playing in a band called Abendego.
"It was a jam band in every sense of the word," Metzner said. "They were doing Grateful Dead covers and playing bluegrass."
Abendego traveled to the High Sierra Music Festival and realized how many people all across the country were playing the exact same music. "(Burnett) was disheartened by how prevalent it was."
When the band came home to Missoula, Mont., its members went into their local music store, Ear Candy, and asked the owner to introduce them to something new.
The owner handed Burnett a stack of the best electronic music.
"Ryan and our old keyboard player basically hibernated in a cabin in the mountains in Montana and tried to create the foundation of a new project," Metzner said.
Musicians were added to the new idea. Dion Stepanski joined as the upright and electric bass player, joined by jazz guitarist Nathan Weidenhaft. The band took on two drummers -- Metzner plays acoustic and Ben Griffin plays the electronic drum kit.
On stage, Signal Path's music bounces between three laptops, two sets of drums, a line of effects pedals and a full light show.
Signal Path will be in Steamboat Springs this weekend as part of a five-week tour that took the band from Montana to the West Coast and ends with a Sound Tribe Sector Nine show called the Area 51 Sound Test outside of Las Vegas.
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