Circadia – Advances and Delays

Posted: 26 August 2016 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , ,

SOFA551 – 22nd July 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

This two-track album by a collective who suggest they ‘might be your favourite new experimental psych-impro-folk band’ is housed in a spectacularly nondescript cover. Nondescript, yet also bizarre: a pair of cabins, on wheels as though for towing, at a garage in the middle of nowhere. Rugged mountains lie in the back. What does it mean? What is it saying? The absence of any people or any sense of movement is also a factor in what makes this image so striking in its plainness. There’s a sterility about it.

This is carried through into the title of both the album and the tracks. ‘The Animal Enters and Traverses the Light’ has an air of clinicality. The sounds themselves are more of nature, yet somehow in keeping: the jangling chimes and gently thrumming rhythms would sit comfortably on the soundtrack of a nature documentary. However, as the track progresses, picked guitar strings begin to build in volume and urgency, achieving a sustained multitonal throb by the twenty-four minute track’s mid-point which gradually gives way to deliberate low-end drone, beneath which crackling burrs rattle a twitchy percussion. The musicality of a strummed acoustic guitar, however irregular and however dissonant the chords, sounds almost incongruous against the rumble which slowly fades. The shifts are gradual but definite.

‘The Human Volunteers Were Kept in Isolation’ begins subtly, a single hum, before picked guitar notes and harmonics creep in by stealth. Gentle acoustic washes glide over supple, delicate percussion.  It’s pensive and understated, and creates an atmosphere that’s hard to define, and a sound more focused on texture and tone than rigid structures. There is melody, but it’s subtle, and there is movement, but it’s not necessarily overtly linear. But to return to the question posed earlier, what does it mean?  More interesting than the cover art is the fact that this superficially conventional line-up of two guitars, bass and drums, creates such unconventional music. But this is the work of David Stackenäs, Kim Myhr, Joe Williamson and Tony Buck of the widely-acclaimed The Necks. It was never going to be straightforward. And does there have to be an extrinsic meaning? Sometimes, the exploration of sound is enough.

Circadia – Advances and Delays

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