I've not heard of them before. You think that they might fit with my loving all this kind of stuff? I will take a look/listen...
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:01 (1 year ago) Permalink
Sorry for any buzzes harshed during the course of the above youtubes. Anyhow it is all out of print and the official website which was promising a multi-cd compilation "soon" (several years ago) has disappeared so never mind I guess
― how do i shot slime mould voltron form (a passing spacecadet), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
Not really digging the Nightsatan, but thanks!
Deep Turtle however!! Those tracks sound bloody great! How do you mean about the buzz harshing though? Thanks for the new band spacecadet, even if I can't buy anything by them...
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:27 (1 year ago) Permalink
Their website seems to be alive here: http://www.deep-turtle.net/
Like you say though, the releases look to be all long long gone...
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:42 (1 year ago) Permalink
Circle have so many different, er, vibes that I wasn't sure if DT would be on completely the wrong one for you!
Ah, website is back (it did disappear at one point) and still promising a triple CD "soon". I'll keep on believing...
Deep Turtle were friends with Circle way back in the early 90s, recorded in the same basement, and did one collaboration track for a compilation put out by a Helsinki record shop which I guess is probably even more out of print than everything else described as OOP on this thread and which I've never even found an mp3 of - but it's on last.fm, so I guess someone has one: http://www.last.fm/music/Ympyr%C3%A4konnat
(And I think "There's a Vomitsprinkler in my Liverriver" may be the finest album title in the history of recorded music, but then that's probably why I'm not allowed to name things.)
― how do i shot slime mould voltron form (a passing spacecadet), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 12:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
Oh no, Deep Turtle were right up one of my many streets!
Thanks for the information on the connection and collaboration too. I'll keep my eyes open and ask about for the Ympyräkonnat track...
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 12:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
Deep Turtle and Circle were both on the great Bad Vugum record label iirc.
― Lars and the Lulu Girl (NickB), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 13:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
Unhelpful Bad Vugum thread here
― |III|||II|||I|I||| (Matt #2), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 13:05 (1 year ago) Permalink
For all Circle/related fans:
Jussi Lehtisalo - A Day in the Mouth Episode 4
― kokokeho, Thursday, 27 October 2011 14:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
Ah, my favorite band in the world and of all time! Incredibly nice and talented dudes, all. A band that's been quietly making history over in their corner of the world for the last eleven years or so. The last decade for them, ever since the lineup solidified, has been beyond tremendous, one wild ride and I feel lucky to have been on board since Sunrise. The only band I collect, too.
In the Popol Vuh thread a member goes through the PV discography and lists the virtues of each individual album chronologically and it was very informative. Would something like that be of interest with Circle? I would like to do that for literally the whole discography and also the primary side projects if it will generate some discussion. I feel like Circle gets a bad rep for releasing so much and I'd like to champion a lot of things that people might have missed.
― liam fennell, Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
― Lars and the Lulu Girl (NickB), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
― Lars and the Lulu Girl (NickB), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
yes! I feel like I've listened to a big chunk of their post-prospekt stuff (they're one of my faves as well) but definitely not all of it and I haven't heard much of their stuff pre-prospekt. so, this would be a totally great resource for me.
― (⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm def down, liam; i've wanted to get into them--and still need to hear Prospekt--but a completist rundown would be exceedingly helpful...
― ge0rge (Drugs A. Money), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:36 (1 year ago) Permalink
prospekt is godhead stuff. a good place to start imo.
― (⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:42 (1 year ago) Permalink
There are about ten albums/eps on Spotify btw (not Prospekt though, which I agree is vital)
― Lars and the Lulu Girl (NickB), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yes please do it, I've got about 15 Circle and related releases and I still get confused.
― |III|||II|||I|I||| (Matt #2), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
my favorite of the spotify material is forest. but it is also a... deeply weird record.
― (⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
Sounds like a fantastic idea liam. I will very gladly and eagerly take part!
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Thursday, 27 October 2011 20:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
Please please please do it!
― jon /via/ chi 2.0, Thursday, 27 October 2011 20:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
i'd read it!
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 October 2011 20:50 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yes, do it, liam!
― emil.y, Thursday, 27 October 2011 21:09 (1 year ago) Permalink
― the wheelie king (wk), Thursday, 27 October 2011 21:27 (1 year ago) Permalink
Prospekt is pretty much the one, I'm glad you all agree. After that monumental slab of precision engineered sonic mayhem they were free to go anywhere. And so they have. I will totally do this, I'll try to do the albums up to Prospekt tonight, excepting Kollekt because it's the only one I don't own and haven't heard in a while.
― liam fennell, Thursday, 27 October 2011 22:58 (1 year ago) Permalink
Kollekt is the only album that I've never been able to find either.
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Thursday, 27 October 2011 23:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
I feel like I'm not trying hard enough to find them now! Excited for the rundown, anyway.
― how do i shot slime mould voltron form (a passing spacecadet), Thursday, 27 October 2011 23:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
this is just what i need for winterlooking forward to digging into something unfamiliar to me but well loved by others
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Thursday, 27 October 2011 23:08 (1 year ago) Permalink
Circle. Pronounced Seer-klay in Finnish (according to Jussi!). The early stuff only hints at the amazing things to come starting with Prospekt, but it's all worthwhile more or less. Everything is in place from the start, more or less, especially the repeating riffs, they just don't quite know what to do with them yet. The band isn't as focused, or wild and creative, as they will come to be, but they sure are tight. Jussi is the only current member who was active in the early period, with guitarist Teemo Elo being the second most valuable player up through Prospekt although Janne Peltomaki is almost equally as prominent and important to the aesthetic once he joins up on Hissi.
Meronia - they burst out the gates after a few very successful 7"s with a debut cd of stately but exuberant hard rock and roll topped with serene choir vocals. The sound quality is very nice, and remains one of Circle's strengths throughout their career although they start getting more lo-fi and murky later on for some of the live albums. At this point they are pretty much a Gilded Eternity era Loop clone except with chanting. They still have more or less conventional song structures and aren't so hell bent on reaching riff nirvana. Our hero and master of ceremonies, Jussi Lehtisalo, is playing guitar here, and according to that video that just appeared and you can watch a few posts above, strumming with his fingers! This is news to me and I find it quite funny and appropriate! Almost all the songs here are in fact memorable, with fairly melodic and tasty riffage, but when taken as a whole they kind of blend together. The first tune has a nice riff in 15/4, alternating between 8 and 7, immediately announcing that something a little different is going on with this band beyond the obvious nods to Loop and Gregorian Chant. I find the keyboards in the early years, before they start using analog synths, to be a little cheesy but they do the job, which is primarily to provide atmosphere until the prog elements creep in later. "Staalo" is probably my favorite tune, featuring a rad violin melody and a big buildup in the middle section.
Jussi sounds great with his church singing and the singing is apparently why they made something of a splash when they first appeared. In fact they got better press in the first few months after their first EP got a re-release in the states than they ever got again until perhaps recently. They were part of a wave of Bad Vugum stuff along with Deep Turtle and I think Keuhkot that went over big at the time. After they released Zopalki, a much darker album, everyone stateside seems to have lost interest! I only know this because Jussi told this to my friend when we saw them in 2005 at the Khyber in Philly. The big splash was quite beneficial though, it established them once and for all in Finland as a band to be reckoned with and they've been working more or less ever since, even if in relative obscurity.
Zopalki - Now the essential krautrock influence first rears it's head for real. The opening track, "Brilliant Colours For Bright Ideas", is one of their best moments in the 90s. This song is a very dark and beautiful 7/4 riff that grooves relentlessly, punctuated by eerie organ riffs and dripping with menace thanks to some atmospheric keyboards that set the mood. This album is much darker overall, much, but the sound quality and instrumentation is essentially the same as on Meronia so they're like yin and yang in my mind. Now the song structures start to become less important, although the songs are carefully through-composed still. Overall I think this album improves on Meronia in almost every way, except it's a little too long. Actually they're both a little too long, but I'm glad in the historical sense even if it makes the albums sort of difficult to digest. Check out a very young Mika Ratto making a guest appearance on the miniature epic space song towards the end of the album called Ghatarian! He disappears after this until Prospekt, busy with his own bizarre prog band Moonfog Prophet, but it's a wonderful glimpse into the future!!
Surface - Skipping ahead a little, but Circle's portion of this split cd with Marble Sheep is a live set from the Zopalki era so I'll deal with it here. This is a wonderful live document, and amazingly pristine sounding, which I prefer to Meronia and Zopalki proper. All the songs are good and much faster and more energetic than their studio counterparts. After an incantory opening they launch into a brilliant "Brilliant Colours For Bright Ideas" and we see the boys are becoming more obsessed with the potential of the almighty riff, not to mention minimalism in general. Improvisation, which becomes a vital ingredient once the band matures, is starting to creep into the formula. This album has some serious mojo. Recommended if you can find it!! That's a big 'if' unfortunately!!! The Marble Sheep side has the best Marble Sheep song, too, from the all-too-brief period when they were the Japanese equivalent of Amon Duul.
Hissi - Now things get fucking weird!! The songs are jettisoned, and with them goes the singing. The band lineup is starting to change. They now pick a groove/riff/melodic fragment, and to paraphrase an interview with Jussi from the Sunrise era: "decide it's good and hold onto it until the end of time". Janne Peltomaki appears for the first time here as second drummer. He is very important in Circle's evolution, he tends to play very LOUD and complex rhythms, with often startling endurance. He very rarely plays a straight drum beat, preferring instead complex syncopations with off center accents. He's not a drummer who builds much or improvises (they need to wait for Leppanen for that!), he provides more of an endless/timeless continuity. He is solid like the foundation of a building and perfect for Circle in this period when the riff is king. This album is also surprisingly electronic, almost like a kind of industrial music. I rather like this one, it's murky, mysterious and hard to grasp. There's almost nothing concrete to hold onto, but it's all very interesting and as I said above, fucking weird! There's some very sublime stuff here, and the double drum assault keeps it real throughout.
Fraten - Now most of the original members are gone, but Teemu (spindly riff master par excellence) Jussi and Peltomaki remain. The band adopts a new and unusual sound for this album and it's follow up, Pori. The sound here builds on what they do on Hissi, but the electric drums are gone. Overall it is very clean and chimey, with strange keyboards and tasty bass lines. This album is more monotonous than any of the others, almost like they're trying to make the most boring and un-dynamic songs ever. It also sounds kind of like some kind of interstellar circus, complete with fun house and hall of mirrors. This album is very prog sounding, although not in execution, just in the way the instruments are arranged and the overall vibe. These two albums also utilize female ooohs and aahs that almost sound like deep space opera (there is a Finnish band called Haikara from the 70s with vocals like this sometimes that I suspect Jussi was very influenced by at the time!) This is perhaps their least interesting album in the grand scheme of things, but if taken on it's own merits it's quite good.
Pori - This is an important chapter in the Circle story. They had state funding to make a concept album about their home city and they used it to maximum effect, developing the songs into a very considered and rich tapestry. They take the template of Fraten and Hissi and expand it outwards... and upwards towards outer space for the first time! A very prominent percussion player has joined up named V.Raito and he lends the songs a very quirky forward motion, an almost cartoonish animation that is very novel. Genuine avante garde classical influences and instruments appear for the first (and last!) time in a few songs that function as breathers between the actual songs. The keyboard player at the time, T.Niemela plays a touch bass instrument called Stick to startling effect on a few tunes. The songs on Fraten are static. The songs on Pori build to crescendos for the first time like post-rock. This formula has been abandoned in recent times, but is used to wonderful effect on both Prospekt and Sunrise. Jussi must've been feeling nostalgic because he's singing again, at least a little! "Kartano" is the highlight here, a truly astounding track built on a monster groove that is perhaps their best song until Prospekt and something of a milestone, encapsuling everything that has come before and pointing towards the glorious future. This one builds and builds and builds until it blasts off with a monster Led Zeppelin style riff that is eventually overtaken by cosmic synth sounds and white noise!! This is the song that leads directly to Prospekt. Super recommended. The weirdest song here is the last one, about the Pori Jazz fest (wtf!? I guess this is here to justify the state funding?). It's 14 minutes of their most monotonous groove ever with endless noodling saxaphone. Strange, and nice enough, but totally a WTF moment for me.
Andexelt - Now we're talking!! The somewhat cheesy circus sound is gone and replaced by badass guitar riffs augmented by awesome effect pedals. Jussi is now playing bass!! Leppanen, man-machine drummer extraordinaire, appears on the three songs, for the first time, as a guest!! Peltomaki, Teemu Elo and Jussi totally come of age with this album. It's clear that they are really onto something now and that the years of experimenting, both as Circle and Ektroverde, are starting to yield some seriously wonderful fruits. The album is relentless and driving and very clean with a lot of space for the instruments to breathe. Improvisation, particularly in regard to the guitars, is now becoming an essential ingredient in the Circle stew thanks to the addition of a gloriously demented strange noise collector named Jyrki Laiho on 2nd guitar! This album is really too cool, although it's still somewhat anchored in the older sound established on Hissi, coming off as a really rad futuristic hybrid of the monotonous Fraten and the colorful Pori. This one is all sleek lines and precision, and features the first sleeve artwork that really fits the music, something they become increasingly concerned with from here on out. This might be a minor revolutionary aspect compared to the actual music, but it really enhances the overall impact of the albums. As good as this album is, it doesn't really hint at the radical changes to come with the next album, where they once and for all blast off into the Circle dimension.
Prospekt - This is it!!! No fucking around!!! Dedofiktion kicks into high gear from the first moment with relentless syncopated double drumming that doesn't let up for the entire duration of the album. The two extraordinarily talented drummers lock together into one tapestry of propulsive percussion that never stops and never varies except to build in intensity. Think about that for a second. This is human endurance pushed to the limit, the purest spectacle of focus and concentration, a whirlwind of zen energy, the line where man and machine blur. No fucking protools on this album, you can hear every note, you can hear the strain and ultimately the transcendence. We have Mr. Tomi Leppanen to thank for that. Leppanen. Drum god. The man-machine (he told me Kraftwerk is his favorite band of all time and I believe it!!). Mr. Precision, he of the light touch and effortless perfection, a man who calls 'the pocket' home. I could talk about Leppanen all day long!! Anyone interested in Leppanen should seek out the Aavikko albums forthwith, for real. This is an album where ordinary instrument sounds get dissembled and reassembled into new and miraculous shapes never before imagined by man, much less heard.
Essentially a 'big band' album, this one features an impressive lineup of almost all of Circle's greatest members past and present. The wonderfully weird and impossible to quantify quasi-operatic singing of Mika Ratto appears here for the first time, which will come to dominate and define Circle's future sound. He's not as creatively involved with the compositions at this point, but his presence puts them over the edge once and for all. There is no turning back. All these elements crystallize into the absolutely mind boggling puzzle that is Prospekt. This album has serious depth, layer upon layer going all the way to infinity. Each song is simple to the point of caricature, yet endlessly interesting and layered. Wild organ solos, big hawkwind riffs, mind melting crescendos, stately violin, badass bass grooves and cyborg synth washes are all fused together and tied to a rocket ship traveling at high speeds through the cosmos. Destination: Dimension Circle!!
Whew!! Can you tell I really like this band? Liam signing off, for now.
― liam fennell, Friday, 28 October 2011 02:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
Bravo. I only recently started working through stuff beyond Prospekt, so good timing. Favorites so far after Prospekt in rough order:
Forest (Ektro/No Quarter) 04Taantumus (Bad Vugum/Ektro) 01Sunrise (Ektro/No Quarter) 02Tulikoira (No Quarter) 05 Andexelt (Metomorphos) 99
― Fastnbulbous, Friday, 28 October 2011 03:27 (1 year ago) Permalink
Thanks for that liam, thats fantastic! There's still a lot of that early stuff I haven't heard. Of course finding real copies is next to impossible, but even finding a few of those early albums by other means has proven difficult.
― jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 28 October 2011 04:19 (1 year ago) Permalink
i just found a bunch of them on groovesharklistening to "dedofiktion" right now, in fact!! (figured i would start there because why not)
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Friday, 28 October 2011 04:21 (1 year ago) Permalink
just go here (i think?) http://grooveshark.com/artist/Circle/238114
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Friday, 28 October 2011 04:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
Didn't even think to check grooveshark, good call!
― jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 28 October 2011 04:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
also thank you liam -- will report back when i have heard more...
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Friday, 28 October 2011 04:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
Of those mentioned so far, only the first album 'Meronia' is currently readily available, as it was reissued by Ektro in 2007.
'Prospekt' is being reissued by Essence Music shortly though, which is good news.
If you see any of the others then do not dally, as they are rather difficult and often expensive to find. The Circle/Marble Sheep split is the rarest of this lot (except 'Kollekt'), currently commanding silly money. I'm looking for those ones...
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Friday, 28 October 2011 08:07 (1 year ago) Permalink
I have Kollekt! Didn't know it was so rare tbh, maybe I'll re-listen and review here for completist purposes.
― |III|||II|||I|I||| (Matt #2), Friday, 28 October 2011 09:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, I used to have a rule about only hearing Circle albums as I was able to purchase legit physical copies, just to retain some sense of wonder and excitment or whatever. But I gave in after going about 18 months now without coming across a record I didn't have, after running through everything my local shops had, anything I could find on visits to Ann Arbor (one store in particular, Wazoo, used to have quite a few Circle things!), or anything I could order from Aquarius.
― jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 28 October 2011 13:11 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, I prefer not to spoil them, but I definitely heard most of the earlier ones via soulseek way before I found them to purchase because I just had to know what they'd be like. Buying a lot of their stuff was an epic study in patience spanning years and years. Ebay, Gemm and Discogs are places I regularly check. Things occasionally show up, sometimes even for reasonable prices ha. Besides Kollekt, Fraten, Surface, AMT/Circle split 7" (which I found recently!) the ones that have proven exceptionally difficult to locate are some of the Ektroverdes like Pingvin and Integral. Luckily Meronia and Taantumus have been reissued and I'm sure more will come alone sooner or later. I can't fault Jussi for generally looking forward rather than looking back, even if it can be super frustrating!
― liam fennell, Friday, 28 October 2011 13:42 (1 year ago) Permalink
Oh yeah, the only reason I subscribed to the Aquarius mailing list was to know when new reissues come up because those guys always stock 'em! Its funny, I'm having trouble finding Fraten even through slsk or blog searchs.
― jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 28 October 2011 13:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
I won't have a chance to think/talk about the music on these earlier albums until next week probably, but I did stumble across this interview with the guitarist of the period, Teemu Elo, from Aural Innovations in July 1999, which fits with this bunch of albums... http://www.aural-innovations.com/issues/issue7/circle04.html
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Friday, 28 October 2011 18:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
Now to take a different tact, I'd like to discuss the two main side projects that are effectively Circle alter-egos, Rättö Ja Lehtisalo and Pharaoh Overlord. RjL seems to have been unfairly overlooked by almost everyone, but PO is respected in stoner rock circles and known to some prog people. Both bands seem to appear after Circle reaches the evolutionary quantum leap that is Prospekt.
RjL is essentially Circle doing overt synth-pop with more or less conventional song structures and melodic elements. PO is Circle doing minimalist riff rock with an emphasis on trance, soundscapes and texture over outright musical development and melodic content. Both bands feature Jussi on bass generally. RjL is usually Jussi with Ratto, obviously, and PO is Jussi with Westerlund and Leppanen sans Ratto. These descriptions are a serious simplification, but they are the essential blueprints for each group.
Pharaoh Overlord - #1 - This is the first album to see Leppanen as the primary engine driving the music and also the first album to feature Janne Westerland, chainsmoking minimalist riff sultan and mumbler supreme, on guitar. This album was recorded circa 2000 so it's roughly from the same time period as Prospekt and it's quite informative to compare the two. Pharaoh Overlord is a lot like circle, focusing on a single riff obsessively repeated for a long time, only much more stripped down, focused and stretched out. Here the riffs are of the stoner variety, slow burning and with blue notes. Echo pedals are almost a 4th member on this album. Instead of building up like Prospekt, the songs linger and random fuzz guitar squeals buried deep in the mix keep them sonically interesting. Everything is reduced as much as possible to bare essentials. The drums are deceptively simple, almost skeletal (complete skeletal comes later with #3!) The heavily fuzzed out and echoed guitar textures conjure up all sorts of smokey and exotic desert imagery. The riffs are also catchy, I often find myself humming them for days after a careful listen to this cd. Awesome album!
Rättö Ja Lehtisalo - Kopernikus hortoilee näkinkengässä - An interesting disc that was quite startling to me the first time I heard it. Comes off as a kind of light-weight synth pop Neu! with smooth guitar played by Aki Peltonen (their usual producer/engineer) and goofy/charming (take your pick!) singing. There are simple song structures built on top of the polished motorik rhythms and feature tasty playing throughout. Some really great tunes here balanced by some that are a little forgettable. Utlimately a pretty harmless cd compared to the pop excursions that are soon to follow. The only real criticism I can level at this album is that there is no edge, no darkness to balance the evident joy the two men had making this little gem of a disc. It must have been a refreshing change of pace for them at the time after making so much serious art music with their main bands. I'm not sure exactly when this album was made, but I think it might predate Ratto's full time participation in Circle starting with Alotus. If anyone really likes this album, there's a companion LP that has 2 songs from this album and 2 unreleased songs from the same sessions. It's pretty good but I don't think I need to say much about it except that it's pretty much just like this, short synth pop songs.
Pharaoh Overlord - #2 - This one has gotten more exposure than it possibly deserves in relation to the rest of the ouvre, due to a fairly prominent North American release (as did forest and earthworm) but it's pretty good all told. Super laid back and drenched in atmosphere, if perhaps a little bass heavy. The main gripe I have is that it's a little too similar to #1 and feels kind of like they're not sure exactly how to get to the next level yet. The two tracks with improvised acoustic guitar excursions are the best by far, very lovely but still the work of the seriously focused band that made #1. "Skyline" is a staple of the live albums and the album version kind of weak in comparison to them.
Rättö Ja Lehtisalo - Pari lepakkoa Transylvaniassa - This is more like it! A totally bitchin' album, and one of the most astonishing and important things they've done. Here they abandon the synths, mostly, in favor of acoustic guitars and pure atmosphere. And singing!! The singing is a fundamental compositional element for the first (and so far only) time, employed as an instrument in and of itself. Oh's, ah's, c'mon baby's, dum de dum de dums, grunts, whispers, sighs... marvelous! No drums at all here and they aren't missed. Well there's some splashing cymbals and tom tom rolls at the very end of the disc courtesy of the wonderfully creative clattering percussionist Janne Tuomi, but they're almost incidental. This album is also catchy! The best song, "Harmittava Levitaatiotapaus" is borderline unbelievable. It features Ratto whistling and typing on a typewriter against compressed close mic rhythmic breathing sounds and a really rad bass line... suddenly he takes the page out of the typewriter and literally recites the poem/story he just wrote!!! Then he types a few more stanzas and starts whistling again... Amazing! The only lame part of this album is that it's more of an EP, very short, with one song being a meager electronic excursion that sounds like a leftover from the first RjL album kind of tacked on to stretch out the run-time. Oh well, still super highly recommended. Please, all, check this one out if you haven't yet. It's so worth it and completely unlike anything else they've ever done.
Pharaoh Overlord - Battle of Axehammer (live) - another USA release, this live album is quite interesting. This is our Finnish friends at their most relentless, single-mindedly riffing until time and space collapse. It's also recorded completely in the red, so it's more or less a wall of fuzzed out distortion! Very cool. They play mostly songs from the #1 and #2, with one or two new tunes to boot. This is one for the potheads amongst us. The funniest thing is how the songs just end, out of nowhere. They must use visual cues when it's time for the songs to wrap up and it's hilarious how random it sounds on record.
Pharaoh Overlord - #3 - This is also one of the most astonishing of all their albums and certainly the best PO to date (although I really love #4 too!) The mild-mannered men from Pori were really on fire at this point in time. This is the most stripped down and assured forward-motion music they've ever done. Tripped out skeletal minimalism, with a distinct seventies vibe, very much along the lines of Neu!, only much darker and with an agenda. It also brings to mind the Tony Conrad w/Faust album with it's prominent negative space aesthetic. Clean guitar ostinatos in front, often with neato delay effects, and fuzz squeals way in the background adding texture. The drums are the lead instrument! Leppanen owns this album, seriously. "Laivus 17" is a 13+ minute long shining diamond of rhythmic bliss, one of the crown jewels in the Circle catalog. Jaw-dropping. Jussi is also quite impressive here and his bass tone is something to be marveled at. It also features their best cover art in my opinion. PO is still a trio at this point but it's not surprising when they start to bring in more players for future discs because #3 would be borderline impossible to top without a seriously drastic change in style (and in fact they haven't gone back to this stylistic place yet and it's been 6 years!) The weirdest thing here is that this album of otherwise remarkable songs is broken up into two halves by a 10 minute song that is all feedbacking fuzz guitar by Jussi Saivo, a mysterious guy who has contributed random things to random Circle projects over the years. Wtf? Can't say it bothers me much, but it sure is strange. It's the part where you take a smoke break, I guess.
Rättö Ja Lehtisalo - Ed Benttonin briljantti stabilismi tai Taivaallinen kylpysaippua - Whew, now that's a title! A return to synth pop, but now it's much more accomplished and confident. There is a lot of overt humor here, but also a lot of badass bass riffs and killer melodies. Very playful, they're having a blast with this project. Leppanen joins them for this album and his contribution is much appreciated. The first song is probably the best one on Ed Benttonin, a longish and very complicated tune with a lot of layers and detail. Churning arpeggiators and warm analog synth melodies take center stage. Very, very cool and creative. Almost all the songs have novel structures and effects. Very catchy stuff, melodic hooks abound. Ratto is in top form as a singer and Jussi's baritone bow-de-bow-bow-bows are really cool. Terrific production and overall a very fun and rewarding, albeit somewhat puzzling, album. I can't think of much to say beyond that except: Sports, baby, sports!
― liam fennell, Friday, 28 October 2011 20:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
Been listening to Meronia, Prospekt, the first Plain Ride album and the new Grumbling Fur...
― only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Sunday, 30 October 2011 10:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
Grumbling Fur is pretty strange, no?
― liam fennell, Sunday, 30 October 2011 20:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
I still need to get the Plain Rides, and also the Sweethearts. The Chainsmoker albums are really great.
― liam fennell, Sunday, 30 October 2011 20:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
ok so far i have listened to prospekt, pharaoh overlord #3, and Kopernikus Hortoilee Näkinkengässä they are all so different!
so far, i like #3's vibe for everyday and am looking forward to listening to more circle (proper) when i can pay better attention. liam's description of Kopernikus is spot on enough that i don't really have anything to add except that this would be the sort of thing i would put on at a party and anyone who actively disliked it would be identified as someone i probably did not want to talk to.
can someone give me an idea of what the general demographic for this band is? i'm just curious.
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Monday, 31 October 2011 14:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
― Trip Maker, Monday, 31 October 2011 14:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
can you elaborate on that?
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Monday, 31 October 2011 14:26 (1 year ago) Permalink
I would say 30+ year-old mostly male vinyl collector nerds with tastes that lean towards metal and krautrock.
― jon /via/ chi 2.0, Monday, 31 October 2011 14:28 (1 year ago) Permalink
i don't think i know any tripsters irl
― Art Arfons (La Lechera), Monday, 31 October 2011 14:37 (1 year ago) Permalink
tripsters are hipsters with a psychedelic fetish. Mostly an ILX in-joke.ARE YOU A TRIPSTER?!?!?! OMG WTF LOL WHO IS #1 TRIPSTER OF NOISE BOARDhttp://www.ilxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?boardid=60&threadid=41
― Trip Maker, Monday, 31 October 2011 14:42 (1 year ago) Permalink