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Circle - Fraten CD (album) cover

FRATEN

Circle

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 7 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Lately I've listened to several more albums by CIRCLE (one of the most productive Finnish bands here) and I am little by little forming a picture of their massive output. Some albums have been rather tiresome disappointments while some sound more interesting and fresher. This one belongs to the latter group. By the way, don't ask what language are the words after the Finnish words and the = mark on the track titles (words such as 'krimen', 'areend' and 'gastus'), most likely they're just invented, which wouldn't be unusual in the anarchistic CIRCLE universe.

In the 2012 re-release Tommi Harrivaara, the bassist '96 - '98, shares some thoughts and memories of the time. There had been many changes in the line-up which naturally led the band's "music to new paths. Since then, the same has happened over and over again." "Although Fraten (or Circle in general) may outwardly appear musically simple and based on repetition, it nevertheless contains numerous layers of increasing subtlety." Also Harrivaara was free to express his ideas; "there were both fretless and fretted electric bass, and double bass played with fingers and the bow." Compositional ideas came from e.g. Bernard Herrmann, Witold Lutoslawski, Arnold Schoenberg, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

Fraten is instrumental, as the majority of Circle's music. The opening track 'Korko = klague' features siren-like background singing from Harrivaara's current wife, and is among the most beautiful and delicate tracks by this band. The second track is firmly rooted in the endlessly repeated rhythm pattern, but the sonic colourings by keyboards make it sound interesting. 'Hissi = festum' has nice, slow rhythm, and keyboards & guitars weave hypnotic atmosphere to this relatively soft track. 'Katolla = katoll' features a didgeridoo and is another great, soothing track. 'Isaak = gilded' approaches nine minutes and features some male background singing.

The general sound of Fraten has clarity and room to breathe. Some tracks (of 10 in total) aren't necessarily special in their rather usual repetitive CIRCLE style, but many have fresh sonic ideas to make Fraten one of the most recommendable and accessible starting points to this band, and why not a fairly good album for the acquainted listeners as well. It's considerably lighter than many other albums, but also it's more solid - and less narcotic - than several others. Try this if you fancy minimalism-influenced instrumental art rock somewhere between FAUST and OZRIC TENTACLES.

Matti | 4/5 |

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