Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Circle-Andexelt (1999)

A surprisingly passionate, intelligent, (kind of) well written review from Pitchfork...albeit 7 years ago. Nevertheless, this dude seems to get it:

"Nothing brings me to crummy stripmalls swifter than crummy used CD marts. I love their $1 bins. I love the dusty stench that manages to conquer the reek of the fried-chicken place next door and wards off all but the most determined diggers. But more than anything, I love these bins because I've discovered so many great records in them. One such gem is Circle's Andexelt. Before Thursday afternoon I knew nothing of this Finnish band, but by the typography that reminded me of Brothomstates' Claro and the mechanized body-part photography that occupies the lowest sixth of the cover, I knew I should punt my buck.

After a thirty-minute metro ride home and enough time to brew a pot of coffee, I was ready to try out Andexelt. I'd lined up other discs just in case it, in fact, turned out to be Scandinavian doom metal or a cunning front for an area smooth jazz combo. I needn't have bothered. Andexelt is still in my CD tray days later. The album is pure krautrock and it is the most invigorating collection I've heard since a French Canadian called Charles-Émile sent me his debut album, Nothing Down to Earth.

Circle, I googled, are a five-piece who since 1991 have been astounding those just south of the Arctic Circle with their muscular explorations of space, time, and the pan-dimensional mega-riff. Andexelt is their seventh full-length, and you need to hear it often. The record voyages to the same places as Les MacCann's Layers, but takes a different route. Grafting Neu!'s motorik percussion, Berlin-era Bowie synths to Robbie Shakespeare's dubby basslines and riding a guitar wave that recalls Black Sabbath and Michael Karoli, Andexelt surpasses Brainticket's Adventure, and equals Can's Future Days in loaded grace.

If this band were well-known, the Chemical Brothers would have already sampled Janne Peltomäki's rhythm-salvo of the opening title track, and music critics at large would already have acknowledged Circle's ferocity. The band's guitarist, Teemu Elo, unloads a double-barreled reverb riff straight in your face, and while you're busy searching for bits of your head, frontman Jussi Lehtisalo's analog synth enters, intent on slicing to ribbons any sounds that cross its path. Fortunately, it's hard labor cutting away at Peltomäki's resilient groove. Elo and Lehtisalo form a cluster-bombing alliance against him, but the man relentlessly motoriks on.

For "Odultept," the band jumps on the Fender Rhodes space-jazz and bolsters their move by allowing bassist J. Laiho to showcase his fits-and-starts dub-bass abilities. Guest T. Huunonen gives up a galactic flute solo after an explosion of ARP synths and the band decides to take a tour round the interstellar medium. "20Milate" is an Arkestral reworking of My Bloody Valentine's "You Made Me Realize" whereas "Lisääpui" mines the same Stooges treasury that Julian Cope's Brain Donor project did, except Circle got there first and stole the heavenly guitar line that Agitation Free's liquid-harmony guitarist Lutz Ulbrich had left behind. "Humusaar" emerges from a doomy bass ground into a receding, FX-spattered star-field. And the brooding, numinous closer, "Kidulgos," proves that Circle have processed Tangerine Dream's nebulous Zeit as well as the third-eye mantra of Electronic Meditation.

Andexelt is astounding, no two ways about it."

This is a great rhythmic, psychedelic, rocking piece of work right here. By far one of the best and most consistent bands over the last 15 years. Every single record is listenable and fun, if not completely awesome. And this one is by far the best.

So join the Circle

1 comment:

Daleyz said...

u've been on fire with the albums posten on here, but not this one. This was in the one dollar bin for a reason. Irritating zeppelin esque drums that never change, builds going nowhere, guitar riffs not worth building songs on, this has all the worst aspects of krautrock. PASS ON THIS