Circle of Sighs Premiere Video for Kraftwerk Cover “The Man Machine”; Debut Album Salo out June 19

circle of sighs

It is inevitable that the death of an artist brings out tributes, but the truth of the matter is Circle of Sighs both recorded and put together the video for the Kraftwerk cover “The Man Machine” before the recent passing of synth-pop pioneer Florian Schneider. Timely then, in a kind of unfortunate way. Circle of Sighs — a trio, if I discern the horned and masked figures in the photo above correctly — will release their debut full-length, Salo, on June 19 through Pillars of Creation Records, and sure enough the cover isn’t the only track on the nine-cut/52-minute cosmic cult doom offering to make use of keys or pop influences. “Hold Me Lucifer” is catchy and melodic to go with its weighted chug and overarchingly grim atmosphere, and though it gives over to a rousing vocal duet and more guitar-led fare and some harsh screams that call to mind a connection with Los Angeles’ High Priestess, whose Katie Gilchrest mixed, the beginning of “Desolate,” the intro to “Unicorn Magic” and the segue that follows (the third of three on the album) all utilize synth in considerable fashion. Likewise the closing title-track. At the same time, the nine-minute “Kukeri” follows a linear progression building from acoustic guitar to a progressive metal apex and dropping back again, so from opener “Burden of the Flesh” onward, the proceedings are hardly staid or repetitive as varying arrangement elements and moods come and go.

The three segues help build a full-length flow between some of these shifts of intention, but it is up to the songs themselves to ensnare the listener, and that’s done with an immersive depth of mix and an abiding art rock weirdness that, given the band’scircle of sighs salo imagery, one can’t help but relate to earliest Ufomammut or even a more doomed vision of California’s Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, whose progressive bent eventually consumed them and sent them into a universe unknown (actually other bands), but for Circle of Sighs, their commitment to heavy, crunching riffing and the other aesthetic elements at play throughout Salo may indeed save them from that grim fate in the longer term. That is, while Salo is a lot to keep up with, the foundation Circle of Sighs are building in their songwriting feels solid enough for them to work from going forward. There is a complex thought process playing out in this material. It is not haphazard when the keys return four minutes into “Desolate.” The title-track, safely tucked away after the 10-minute “Unicorn Magic/Segue-03” one-two, makes an attempt to tie everything together with progressive guitar and keyboards and electronic beats, and though it succeeds to some degree, there’s of course more left to be said. One suspects that perhaps that’s intentional as well.

But what unfolds across the broad path to get to that moment of closure is strange, purposeful and consuming enough to be considered progressive. On first listen, Salo plays out as a kind of wash of intent — it almost buries you in it — but subsequent playthroughs gradually reveal the nuance of the ceremony at work and the human drive for expression underlying what might seem at first to be otherworldly chaos. Left to their own figurative and literal devices, one suspects the blend of styles at work in these songs will continue to meld, reshape, be added to and subtracted from over time, as nothing here feels permanent in a “this is how it’s gonna be” kind of sense, aside maybe from the weirdness. It’s gonna be weird, and so much the better.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not sure if the below is a premiere or not. I tagged it as one above, and I don’t think anyone’s going to fight me on it, but I think maybe it’s been shared already. If that’s the case, sorry to mislead. These are confusing times and, well, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer to start with. So, you know. Apologies if you’ve been mislead. One way or the other, though, in visual and aural cues, Circle of Sighs‘ take on Kraftwerk offers a look a the band’s project as regards their debut album and perhaps their larger mission too. We’ll see about that over time, I suppose.

Until then, I hope you enjoy “The Man Machine”:

Circle of Sighs, “The Man Machine” official video

Occult-themed synth-doom collective Circle of Sighs comes wrapped in a veil of mystery. Their anonymity is by design. In today’s age of hyperinformation, the group prefers that the music takes the forefront (as well as the visuals that are a key component to their work). Thus, dear reader, you will not be getting soundbites. All we can offer is some vital information and a bit of history.

Their work began in 2018, as rough demo recordings were hewn by clandestine shamans and cosmonauts on a sub-rosa mission to merge the celestial and the terrestrial. The result of their effort was an album of existential heaviness that pitted synthesis against nature: Digital beats, downtuned riffs, harsh keyboards, and warm tube amps. Their genre-bending and -blending dredges the uncanny valley to cull a sound both strange and familiar.

For those willing to wait comes Salo. The nine-song opus, available on CD, cassette and digital download from Pillars of Creation Records on June 19th, is a fully realized work from a band that cut no corners to achieve exactly what they set out to do: In short, redefine metal. As evidence, look no further than the lead-off single, ‘The Man Machine.’ Their dystopian spin on the Kraftwerk classic pairs trudging doom guitars with ambient synths and vocoder harmonies, captured in a video that recalls the after-hours programming of mid-1980s MTV.

Circle of Sighs on Thee Facebooks

Circle of Sighs on Instagram

Circle of Sighs on Bandcamp

Circle of Sighs website

Pillars of Creation Records on Thee Facebooks

Pillars of Creation Records store

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply