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Circle - Guillotine CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Krautrock of the 21st century.

Guillotine is by far Circle's druggiest album to date. We know that these guys have been doing krautrock influenced music since their early years and with albums like Pori, Hissi, Prospekt, Zopalki, Alotus and Taantumus they've stunned and impressed fans and newcomers everywhere with their simple-yet-effective song writting. Problem is, nobody expected this will come out next.

Over the course of 10 years Circle has changed their musical style quite drastically. Their last detour was heavy metal with their "Sunrise" album and before that the intricate "Taantumus", which many fans consider it to be their best effort. Guillotine is in another different world that they haven't even touched before or after this release. It seems that they were using alot of drugs when recording this album and it can be clearly heard. Song structures aren't really the focus here. The main focus is experimentation. On this album you can see the band at their most "playful" (in the sense of trying new things out) and they aren't shy about it either making this album one of their least accessible, if not the least accessible, album in their discography.

As said earlier, the focus on this album are the experimental tracks and they take the most space on this recording. First of all I have to warn that these tracks aren't all that happy hippie fun stuff that we mostly assimilate to when hearing "psychedelic". These things will scare the hell out of you! These tracks flow together like one long piece with the only pauses are the longer and actual songs. They take you to the scariest mind-altering places you'll ever come across with, like being in a bad trip. Slowed business man conversations in Finnish (not understanding it makes it extra weird) with disturbing electronic bleeps and drones in the background; Directionless out-of-tune jams while manipulated screams assault you; A guy rambling about drugged out of his mind; Screeching and scratching electronics with echoed moans that sound like other worldly creatures. All of those things are executed with a lo-fi sound quality making the experience alot less nicer (in a good way, though). The only adjective that comes to mind when listening to these experimental tracks is disturbing and the album reaches its zenith in creepiness in "Armo". Believe me that you'll have nightmares listening to it while trying to sleep.

The only tracks that can be considered "songs" here are the longer ones. Songs like "Metsan Henget", "Teraskylpy" and "Alta Rautatammien" are all in the 10+ minute mark and show standard Circle song structures (hypnotic melodies played over and over again until loosing the sense of time). While these songs aren't the major on this album they do bring some sort of discipline and order to the whole album. I think of it as the sober moments of the album. My personal favorite of them is "Teraskylpy" which gets more and more intense, distorted and twisted by the minute. It's creepy psychedelic atmosphere adds alot to this song and it feels like if you were in the head of a mad man or a serial killer before making its move.

Listening to this album takes me back in time to Germany in the early 70's. Of course, I wasn't even in the mind of my parents back then, but listening to it reminds me of the Krautrock bands in that era. Sonically speaking, those guys went to places that people only dreamed about (or tripped about...) and Circle is continuing that tradition in the 21st century. Guillotine is an album that will leave you in awe and shock by either its weirdness or sheer creativity. Definitely not for the faint of heart and aimed at the more experimental music adventurers.

It's hard for me to express the feelings I have for this album or even try to express what this album is truly capable of doing. Justice isn't served with this review and one can only understand it by listening to it.

Report this review (#130326)
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is my first taste of CIRCLE. They are a Finnish band who i've known about for a long time but only took the plunge recently and man i'm so glad I did. A lot of credit goes to Guldbamsen for that. These guys play a modern style of Krautrock that is experimental, psychedelic and at times it really grooves. We get about 75 minutes of music over these 12 tracks in this 2003 release.

"Metsan Henget" is a favourite of mine with the percussion and intricate sounds standing out. Vocal expressions come and go and it turns fuller after 4 minutes although it does settle back again. "Harva Maa" opens with what sounds like picked guitar as percussion joins in. Weird spoken words follow a minute later. "Parton Mies" is a freaky soundscape. "Ojar Pitkin" again has picked guitar much like song 2 but with atmosphere this time.

"Teraskylpy" is another favourite of mine. It's fairly uptempo with a beat and vocal sounds. It turns more intense around 3 minutes then settles back before 5 minutes but the intensty begins to mount again. "Majakkasaari" is dark and atmospheric with some laughter. "Saapavat Ne Merelta" has a beat with bass and guitar and it blends into "Syva" where voices and other strange sounds come in. In fact I thought I heard someone say "My precious" in that Lord Of The Rings style (haha).

"Salar Opi" has pulsating sounds that beat away and what sounds like violin or another stringed instrument. It blends into "Armo" where it's even more stranger. I like it ! "Alta Rautatammeen" has some amazing sounding Fender Rhodes with bass. It's picking up before 5 minutes then spoken vocals join in. Love this song. It blends into "Takaisen" where it settles right down and weird vocals join in sounding like Captain Beefheart.

Man this was a trip that was so well done. I will be checking out more of this band's music for sure. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#602075)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2012 | Review Permalink

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