Circles - Structures LP
Label: Bureau B
Latecomers to the krautrock party, Circles created a manifesto of frenzied inertia in the late 1980s, swimming in the same gene pool as Cluster and Popol Vuh. Ambient music for the end of time does not get any more authentic than this. The Structures album is a time capsule unlocked, containing previously unreleased recordings from 1985 to 1989. Music that blends the extremes of end-times foreboding and drifting lightness to beguiling effect. Music that succeeds in sounding more contemporary in 2016 that it did when it was made. Its time has come.
Mike Bohrmann and Dierk Leitert's duo first saw the light of day in 1983. Krautrock's twilight phase flickered with a few final successes before sliding into obscurity. For a relatively unknown project like Circles, finding a distributor was virtually impossible, in spite of all the time and effort they had invested in their third LP. "We had already pressed up the album and we didn't want to bin it," explains Bohrmann. "So Dierk simply painted roughly 100 white sleeves and we left the other 400 covers blank. Then we visited all the record shops in the Rhine-Main region and gave the LPs away." Collectors are likely to tear their hair out just thinking about the prices such a krautrock rarity can fetch nowadays.
With little prospect of success, further recordings disappeared into the cupboard, unreleased – until now. The shining treasure of Structures has been opened up and dusted off. Right from the start, the first song decelerates ceremoniously into tones that resound for minutes on end. Guitar figures exude a lightness as they complement and carry the track. Sweeping variations are rare and excursions into harmony even rarer, yet everything connects in a perfectly balanced arc of tension. Each of the following tracks has a magic all its own.
Electronic keyboards and guitars are the dominant sound sources. One can hear a Korg Trident, a much-prized analog synthesizer noted for its string and brass section; "for the warm, deep layers and harmonies in the upper ranges and bass," recalls Bohrmann. They also used a monophonic analog synthesizer, the Moog Source – a classic of space-age industrial design considered by some to be the most beautiful synth ever built.