It’s because I love you so much that I’m going to tell you about Circle AND Pharoah Overlord.
I know it quite beggars the belief, but it seems that Circle are not known by absolutely everybody. To try and go reductionist on this mighty entity, they are from Finland, have been releasing albums since 1994, and have more album releases than I can hope to keep up with. To try and describe their style is beyond impossible as it has shifted so regularly over the years, but things they have generally kept in common are repetition, hypnotism and experimentalism in their avant-stoner-psych-prog rock. Having said that, they have done the odd full ambient thing, and the odd full on noise thing. I think if you tried to explain the concept of a boundary to them, they would look at you quite non-plussed. And then they’d probably laugh at you, in Finnish.
Not happy with doing all of the above on a very regular basis, they have several offshoots too. One of them is Pharoah Overlord, who have been putting out albums since around 2001. Much more instrumentally focussed and much more minimalistic in their approach (essentially the repetition of a riff for 10 minutes at a time), they ultimately take you to a similar place as their parent band.
This year, Circle have released ‘Pharoah Overlord’ and Pharoah Overlord have released ‘Circle.’ Some people find this confusing. Personally, I wonder why they didn’t do it sooner. Seems perfectly logical to me.
It is my pleasure and joy to have bought both these albums, although I was unable to find them through my digital outlets again and had to send off for the CDs (unlike when I did this with Thee Oh Sees, I haven’t since found their digital stockist of choice). Maybe those of you who do subscriptions for your digital music will have better luck but I don’t do that sort of thing. Or maybe you want the CD or vinyl anyway.
And you should want them. They are both mighty, they both do what both bands are so good at, they both sit completely in place in their respective bands catalogues without sounding like anything else within them. I probably slightly prefer the album by Pharoah Overlord because it reminds me of Circle circa the Rautatie era, but its early days on both albums and the mileage I generally get from their releases can last for years.
I think I might have given you a preview here but here’s another one: https://soundcloud.com/ektrorecords/circle-kavelen-luiden-paalla
I was reminded of this being out when I got the fantastic news that Hey Colossus have another new album out this year, and the tune they had on preview reminded me more than anything of ‘classic’ Circle. (yes that was a shameless excuse to plug Hey Colossus again. Check out this video of them playing ‘Hey, Dead Eyes, Up!‘)