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Circusfolk - The Progression Bell CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

5.00 | 1 ratings

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5 stars It was a dark autumn night sometime in 2006, the place was an obscure restaurant club called Herne & Nauris somewhere in Helsinki, and the happening was called A Progressive Day's Night vol. 2. I chose to attend this weird event because I had been listening to Discordia for some time so I wanted to see them live, and hey, perhaps I'd like the other bands too, Subspace Radio and then the one I had never heard of and couldn't quite remember their name. Discordia opened the night and did a very good show indeed, all the songs from their then only release On a Thin Rope and then some really promising new stuff, but Subspace Radio failed to captivate me live, as they do to this day. The third band was called Circusfolk and I was surprised to see a bunch of twenty-something youngsters take the stage after a couple of veteran acts. I was pleasantly surprised right away as the guitarist started this sigurrosish ambient soundscape intro, after which we got a fantastic string of first class compositions crowned with inventive and skillful musicianship, wild instrumental sections and truly unpredictable out of the blue twists and turns that made me laugh out loud in awe.

This ep collects the highlights of that show onto one disc. Dead Waters HQ kicks off with some clean guitar riffing with another guitar adding its flavors on top. When the rhythm section joins in one immediately hears what this band is all about. Tasty interplay of two skilled guitarists, tight skins-beating and wonderfully groovy and versatile bass. After a couple of verse/chorus pairs the band breaks into a wild instrumental freak out section and after the storm dies down they lead the listener to a completely different place with acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies. And eventually a guitar solo accompanied by some yodeling. Yes. Yodeling. Ahven is a short intermission leading into the ballad Haven, which is a pretty straightforward song mixing tender with funky. It was redone for their full lenght album, but if I had to choose I would probably say this original is better with it's slightly more intimate atmosphere. The band's title track is my favourite song from their output to this day. Groovy rhythm as a foundation for the guitarists to pile their quirky patterns on the song goes through a couple of verses after calming down for a violin flavored mid-section which ends as heavy guitars kick in bringing with them a wonderful slap bass. Some chaotic guitar noise follows until they settle on a brilliant repetitive rhythm which always makes me close my eyes and feel every beat and changing note. I feel it should go on forever but then for a moment they make you think you're back in the beginning but end the song with some funky weirdness instead. And it all sounds natural to me, no forced transitions and out of place sections.

Despite all the love I feel for this recording I recommend you to start from their debut full length album Making Faces. This is after all a pretty thin (but still clear) sounding demo ep, but a staggeringly brilliant one as such. If you like the album, then this is the essential prequel you should be familiar with. A huge step up from their first ep; they now have the songs in place and soon they would have production too. My favourite ep of all time.

Pekka | 5/5 |


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