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Circles End biography
Norwegian band CIRCLES END was first formed in 1994 under the name Venture. Later, the band's name was changed to Plethora when they played their first gig in 1996. The definitive change of the name to CIRCLES END happened a few months afterwards, when the band started writing new material in the hope of recording a CD. With the help of a guest keyboardist, inthe summer of '98 the band booked a local studio and recorded five of their own songs, which became their first, self-titled EP, released in August '98.

After recording a demo tape in 1999, the band - with a new singer and a new bassist on board, and help from a different guest keyboardist - started writing an album's worth of new material. Their first album, "In Dialogue with the Moon", was released independently at the beginning of 2001, to remarkable critical acclaim on the prog rock scene.

In the following couple of years CIRCLES END underwent other personnel changes before they stabilised their lineup and started recording material for their following album. Two of the new songs were released as a single in the summer of 2003, attracting the interest of Bergen-based record company Karisma. After a while, a deal was signed, and the band's second album, "Hang on to That Kite", was released in May 2004. At present the band are still writing material for their third release.

CIRCLES END effectively blend jazz-fusion elements and influences from such bands as KING CRIMSON, RUSH and fellow Scandinavians ANEKDOTEN. A particular mention should made for lead singer's Karl Riis Jacobsen warm, expressive and powerful vocals, which lend a very original touch to the band's overall sound.

Why this artist must be lissted in :
CIRCLES END have a very fresh, original sound, blending different influences without any loss of individuality. They are certainly one of the best contemporary prog bands to have come out of Scandinavia, and their music deserves to be more widely known.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)

Circles End (EP - 1988)
In Dialogue with the Moon (studio album - 2001)
Hang on to That Kite (studio album - 2004)

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CIRCLES END discography

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CIRCLES END top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 13 ratings
In Dialogue With The Moon
4.09 | 21 ratings
Hang On To That Kite

CIRCLES END Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CIRCLES END Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CIRCLES END Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CIRCLES END Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Circles End
0.00 | 0 ratings
Echoes/Long Shot - Single


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hang On To That Kite by CIRCLES END album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 21 ratings

Hang On To That Kite
Circles End Eclectic Prog

Review by pedestrian

3 stars Circles End, based in Kristiansand, Norway, leave no doubt about their talent and potential on this album, which sadly seems to be the last we'll hear from them -- the band's website appears not to have been updated since 2007.

All the more reason to check this album out, which contains some superb moments. The music is often very Cantebury, and that's when the band is at its best. Some excellent saxophone work finishes off very nice and intricate arrangements reminiscent of National Health or Hatfield and the North.

Unfortunately this jazzy side is only half the story, the other half being simpler, serious passages, chiefly the ones led by the singer Riis Jacobsen, which are very earnest and remind me of more modern American soul pop balladeers. This clash of styles is nowhere more manifest than in "Two few feet", a super tune ruined (I think) by the mournfully sobbing vocals and self-obsessing lyrics which insist, completely at odds with the otherwise cheerful tune, that there is every reason to be depressed. It all comes together nicely in the opening track "Echoes", but for the rest of the album I'm afraid the differing styles compete rather than enhance each other, and the boys would have done better with a different style of singer. This is not to criticise Riis Jacobsen's singing as such -- in a soul band he'd be great!

For me this album is too schizophrenic, evidencing a band that can't quite decide where to go. The cover artwork is parodically retro, the front image stuffed with as many vintage items as they could lay hands on (excepting the glasses of the character to the right...) and packed with Pythonesque humour, contrasting the sincere, at times even downcast lyrics. Parts of the band are clearly very influenced by the English 70s prog scene (e.g. the superb and archetypically Cantebury instrumental "The Dogfather Has Entered the Lift" -- not elevator!), yet the singing is in American English.

In summary, Circles End were promising great things with this album back in 2004, which unfortunately do not seem to ever materialise. By all means

 Circles End by CIRCLES END album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
3.00 | 1 ratings

Circles End
Circles End Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars A few friends from Kristiansand, Norway started this group in 1994 with the utopic aim to become rock stars, initially using the name Venture to soon rename themselves Plethora, under which they performed the first ever gig.With a dose of self-knowledge the band changed the name again to Circles End and focused on developin their skills in a more progressive style.In summer 1998 the company of guitarist Trond Lunden, bassist Helge Finne, drummer Jarle Pettersen and guitarist/singer Omar Emanuel Johnsen along with guest keyboardist Ruben Gentekos self-produced a self-titled EP, which ended in record companies, distributors and magazines.

The album has an intense RUSH-like powerful atmosphere throughout, eventually reminding a lot of US progsters TILES and, in a lesser extent, ENCHANT, with energetic compositions, strong grooves, a good production and an even better deep atmosphere.However the vocals are a bit of letdown, being slightly distorted and rather colourless.The guitar duo of Lunden and Johnses has plenty to offer with some great guitar exercises, breaks and solos to be found during the listening, at times even flirting with Progressive Metal in the vein of FATES WARNING and XERXES.The influence of ALEX LIFESON is more apparent on the first couple of Heavy Rock tracks, later the album sounds even heavier and groovy.The keyboard work of Gentekos remains steadily in the background with just a few piano and synth parts being distinct, while the rhythm section has an incredible amount of energy with some very technical performances to be met at moments.

Nice and sufficiently dynamic guitar-based Heavy/Progressive Rock in the vein of TILES and RUSH with a fair dose of technique, so if you are a fan of the style, grab this if you ever run over a copy.Overall recommended.

 Hang On To That Kite by CIRCLES END album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 21 ratings

Hang On To That Kite
Circles End Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Very enjoyable release from this young Norwegian band. There are a lot of Canterbury elements to their music, and their vocalist has a warm, rich, unique voice.

The first song "Echoes" has a lot of tempo changes and is jazzy for the most part with sax and organ. The pastoral passages feature guitar and vocals. Check out the "Abacab" moment in this one as well. "Tiny Lights" , "Too Few Feet" and "Long Shot" are all good songs, especially the latter. Again the vocals are great. The lyrics don't make a lot of sense on any of the songs either. "Red Words" is a slower paced song that is really well done. I can just get lost in this song, it's beautiful.

"Charlie" is an uptempo instrumental with lots of guitar. Great tune. "At Shore" is my favourite as an acoustic guitar provides the melody in this melancholic, slow moving tune.The vocals are as usual terrific and there is some cello towards the end. "Peeping Tom" has some Fripp-like guitars in the intro, and they come and go throughout the song. Some good piano melodies as well. The final song "The Dogfather Has Entered the Lift" is a jazzy instrumental with some beautiful sax.

Such a great sounding band with that strong Scandanavian flavoure.This is a band to keep an eye on in the future and this release is easy to recommend.

 Hang On To That Kite by CIRCLES END album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 21 ratings

Hang On To That Kite
Circles End Eclectic Prog

Review by ljubaspriest

5 stars My son discovered this band for me last year while browsing mail-in underground metal site The End records?!After hearing few sound bites from the site,I decided to order this album.What a discovery!One of the best new artists of the new millenium and that ain't a joke.Musically,it's a mix of different styles including symph.prog,funk and jazz(mainly canterbury,IMHO)with main point being heavenly vocals by Karl Riis Jacobsen,best I heard on prog record in a long time.Rest of the band is also in top form showcasing top notch musicianship in complex,yet easy flowing soundscapes.Beautiful melodies,perfect production,40 plus minutes of pure delight.Definitely,one of the best new bands around,not to be missed.
 In Dialogue With The Moon by CIRCLES END album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.68 | 13 ratings

In Dialogue With The Moon
Circles End Eclectic Prog

Review by gaterooze

4 stars 3.5 stars really, but rounded up because this is their first review.

I was reminded of this release recently and stuck it on heavy rotation. I recall being highly impressed the first time around, and no less so now.

The guitars are good & crunchy, peppered with Anekdoten grunt and Crimson screech. Some great e-bow work adds flavor. Playful synth lines are secondary though effective, and the violin is understated but used well.

Chugging dirges lead to atmospheric noodling, and frenetic passages unfurl into jazzy breaks. The many changes of pace fit into an overall mood, shadowy and introspective not unlike the moon itself. Not quite so gloomy and serious as Anekdoten, though.

The focus is most definitely on the instruments, but you're treated to some husky, emotive vocals and occasional harmonies. There's a trace of Scandinavian accent, but not so bad. He can sure hold a note for a while, as in The Fine Line. There's also a spot of spoken word in Long Gone, the longest song at 8 minutes.

A sweet acoustic epilogue rounds out the album.

On first listen, Circles End don't appear overly complex or out-of-this-world, but damn if it doesn't grow on you!

I'm also a big fan of the album title :)

Thanks to Circles End for the artist addition.

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