Thank you SO MUCH, “Poppa Shane” P. Shane McAfee, for this super cool, GREAT review of CircuLive::NewView, on your “Auditorium One channel!!
Here are some excerpts of the transcript……
“…..bands like Rush, Kansas, and the Dixie Dregs have been in my music collection for years.
After a nice introduction, Circuline goes into Soleil Noir which, to my ears, seems like the next stop from Rush’s YYZ and gives a great first auditory view of how well the band members of Circuline mesh together as a unit. Natalie Brown goes into the song One Wish with a voice that is equal parts of Grace Slick, Marty Balin, and Annie Lennox.
Sharing the lead vocals is Billy Spillane whose range and vibrato are somewhat reminiscent of Dennis De Young especially on the song Forbidden Planet which would be perfectly in place on Styx’s album Equinox. This is, of course, in addition to the rhythm guitar layering provided by Spillane throughout the set. Actually, I would say that Forbidden Planet and Summit are two standout songs where the band really shows some of their best work as a unit both vocally and instrumentally.
Bassist Joel Simches leads the listener into the song Nautilus with a cool bass solo intro that is equal parts of Andy West, Jack Bruce, and Jaco Pastorius.
Guitarist Alek Darson provides great layering by instinctively knowing when to lay back and when to lay it all on the musical table. Darson’s guitar work is like listening to Jeff Beck play with Neal Schon.
Drummer Darin Brannon provides great support throughout the set without using a bunch of busy fills or drawing too much attention to himself. This only changes when Brannon and Andrew Colyer do some head cutting on the simply titled Piano Challenge.
At the end of their set,keyboardist Andrew Colyer introduces the band members to the audience, Circuline closes the set with Stereotypes. Every band has that one song that makes a great set closer and Stereotypes is definitely the one for Circuline.So, if one were to ask me what were the standout tracks from New View, I would say that Forbidden Planet, Summit, and Stereotypes were the ones that melted my face off. I would go so far to say that any live concert Circuline does would be incomplete without those three songs in the set list.
One thing that comes across very clearly is the theatrical quality of Circuline’s live sound. New View sounds like it could easily be a soundtrack for a rock musical. This is no surprise given the ties that some of the band members have to the world of theater. This includes their cover of the Sound of Contact song Pale Blue Dot; a song that made me think of Zaphod Beeblebrox entering the Total Perspective Vortex.
Circuline have definitely acquired a new fan in me with the release of New View which I rate as an absolute SMASH! This album will be right at home alongside my other albums such as Dixie Dregs Bring ‘Em Back Alive and Rush’s Time Machine. I have had the digital copy for 3 days now (as of this writing) and I have listened to it every day since I got it. If you are a fan of any of the bands that I mentioned such as ELO, Jefferson Starship, or Kansas, I recommend you go to Circuline’s webs site at https://circulinemusic.com/ and get your copy of New View. If you aren’t familiar with those bands and want a well orchestrated soundtrack to any given day, check this album out!
I want to give a last bit of kudos to the band for the tiered level pre-order bundles they offered leading up to the release of Circulive: New View. It was a brilliant move within the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their current audience engaged and acquire a wider fan base. The end credits of the Blu-ray as well as the liner notes in the case provide great amusement from serious musicians who don’t take themselves as seriously as they do their music.”
Again – thank you so much, “Papa Shane” and Auditorium One for this FANTASTIC review!
Thank you so much to Geoff Feakes for the glowing review of CircuLive::NewView – a score of 8.5 out of 10!
“The vocal arrangements give Circuline’s sound an extra dimension…..an appealing combination of vocal melodies, that have a contemporary, mainstream rock vibe, and retro-prog instrumental sections…..Natalie and Billy dueting superbly…..blistering guitar accompaniment…..a masterclass in guitar and keyboard dynamics…..Natalie proves you can dance to prog.
Piano Challenge reveals itself to be a face-off between Colyer and Brannon as they playfully attempt to outperform each other with their joint piano skills…..For me, it’s the highlight of the show and it also goes down well with the appreciative ProgStock audience.
The Drum Feature at the end of Forbidden Planet is a visual treat with a skin-thumping display from the entire band (with the exception of Natalie who sticks to tambourine). It’s a throwback to the stage theatrics of Gentle Giant and Yes‘ live performance of Ritual.
Like CircuLive::Majestik, this is a fine, and thoroughly recommended testimony to Circuline’s stagecraft and their superb material. Newcomers Darson and Simches are real assets, raising the already impressive musicianship to a new level. The performances are tighter, as are the vocal arrangements. Despite the absence of new songs, the arrangements sound fresh and the Piano Challenge and Drum Feature are entertaining additions to the set. Although the musical comparators mentioned above are all British and very 1970s, Circuline compare favourably with contemporary, home-grown acts like Glass Hammer, Spock’s Beard and Kansas.”
Thank you so much, Michael Breuer, for this FANTASTIC review! We are reprinting it here IN FULL, and if you want to read it on their website, the link is included at the bottom of this post.
~ I deliberately and deliberately kept this discussion until the end of my current sampling; not only because the album was in my mailbox well before the release date. This experience is one of my biggest surprises of the year, as the band was completely unknown to me. Being a scribe has its advantages.
Circuline are a progressive band, but unlike many relatives, they leave their music a lot of time and space for improvisation and jams, which of course gives me a lot of pleasure as a self-confessed mulehead. Where the Neo Prog live often sounds exactly the same as the studio versions, the charged tension of earthy rock music crackles at this live event from the first second, the moments do not develop according to the schedule, but from the gut. And in the course of the concert we will see that we are dealing with virtuoso instrumentalists – but also two equal voices full of power and dynamism. Theatrically yes, but not through exaggerated behavior, but simply through the captivatingly fascinating gift of Mother Nature. In it Brannon gives a furious testimony of his keyboard skills when Andrew challenges him to the ‘Challenge’ on the electric piano. For the ecstatic end to this great improvisation, Joel Simches changes from bass to heads, no problem and later, in the ‘drum feature’, the entire six-member band is there and together they hit everything that people usually do Invented drums. The joy of playing and total devotion are, in addition to the technical possibilities and the sophisticated compositions, an outstanding feature of Circuline.
By the way, they call their music Modern Cinematic Rock. Well then…
The rich, dramatic-ambience keyboard intro and the pleasing following solos in “Soleil Noir” are misleading, because here I feel very close to the English guys from IQ who really wouldn’t be a bad address. But we won’t get any more neoprogressive sounds. Instead, it becomes quite bulky at times, regardless of the neat chants. Emerson, Lake & Palmer somehow often resonate with them and here and there you can find technically sophisticated gadgets, like those Van Der Graaf Generator have mastered so perfectly. But these moments are rather rare, the songs are carried by the harmonies for all their exuberance. And if Alek Darson sets the tone with his guitar, then things really take off, his edgy, gripping attacks stand for cracking rock music rather than dreamy prog. This complexity is another advantage of the music.
“One Wish” offers the first major appearance for the female lead. Natalie Brown convinces with an almost operatic timbre without any eccentricity, a great voice full of expressiveness. The almost threatening, sparse piano break is itself broken down by wild guitar riffs and rebellious keyboards. The tension amplitude swings higher and higher until one returns to the vowel lines, which are now much warmer and more confident.
“Nautilus” with its mumbling, gurgling bass, which spins over the piano in an almost jazzy way, follows on stylistically from the previous one. Cool hooklines and exciting insertions, all in an unexcited medium tempo, the song has a great groove.
Did I mention that the album was recorded at the first International ProgStock Festival in New Jersey in October 2017? Around this time, Circuline toured with, among others, Glass Hammer , who are a big hit in the States.
“Hollow” is then a real sound monster of a good ten minutes and will please all those who enjoy David Sylvian or Steven Wilson . Andrew is allowed to let off steam with relish in the middle section, challenged by the perfectly laid-up rhythm section, but in the end the fascinating harmonies and chants always prevail. A nice interplay of emotions. The spooky and very beautiful ambiance finale combines a little of the very early Genesis with a floyd rule guitar and thickens the end a real highlight. Great number.
The short acoustic piece “Return” sets a second break in the set after the tense piano battle and at the same time proves that not only the individual voices are used very effectively. Especially the wonderful three-song with Andrew as the third voice hits every note and every mood. Good for those who have such potential.
The next section of the concert does not come up with a dark, threatening sound scenario for nothing, as the song is called “Fallout Shelter”, atomic bunker. The rocky, but relatively short instrumental number clearly lives from the duel of the guitar that creates goosebumps and the sizzling elaborate beat. As an exception, the keyboards only lay a dark carpet of keys in order not to drive the guitar into the parade. Atmospherically a big number and atmospherically a bit with Porcupine Tree .
“Pale Blue Dot” is then a cover title by Sound Of Contact , takes up a much more optimistic style again after the experimental excursion into the realm of darkness and is more like catchy tune.
A long, mystical keyboard solo opens for the forbidden planet and I remember the rousing science fiction film from the seventies with the same title: “Forbidden Planet”. But when the keyboard comes to rest, the song changes into an almost ballad-like harmony with very melodic hook lines. It’s quite romantic here and Natalie’s background chants awaken thoughts of a less forbidden celestial body near us and its dark side. The end to this song is then the final break, because now everyone is drumming for almost two minutes.
“Inception” is another feel-good song, the architecture of which, based on the electric piano and the melodious voices, acts largely in a classic song structure and, in terms of mood, prepares the breeding ground for the longest number in the set. “Summit” is the summit of the concert according to the title and has a touch of fusion in its veins. Otherwise, the music stays with the attributes that have already been determined, the intermezzi are all playful and full of joie de vivre, we have left the gloomy passages like the nuclear bunker behind us. Keys and strings motivate each other to do all sorts of finger acrobatics, while the parties that determine the beat play once more with relish with the rhythm. Circuline play an encore, the beautiful and somewhat anthemic “stereotype” with a wonderfully extravagant guitar solo, where we then sniff a little at the atmosphere of the concert opening.
In the past few days and weeks I was able to present some exciting projects from the colorful world of Prog and already know that a real classic is waiting for me soon, because the gentlemen around Steve Howe have announced big things for the end of October. Here and now I have fallen into Circuline for the first time . The mixture of the supporting piano, wild keyboards, guitar sounds and the great voices has done it to me, the cheerful, free style of the presentation with joy in improvisation is exactly my thing. Sometimes a little bombastic, but without calculation, but always with heart and mind. And with a lot of skill.
The album is not just released on CD, but also on DVD and Blu-ray, which even contains bonus material. In addition, a very nice, large-format catalog with numerous photos of the band was included with the sampling – almost as if they had suspected that they would fall on a grateful breeding ground with me.
When I first read the name of the band, I first thought of a subway line in London. I now know who Circuline are and I am grateful that I was able to make this discovery.
Thank you so much, Laurence Todd and Classic Rock Society, for the cover listing, the kind words in the review, and the two-page interview with Circuline’s Andrew Colyer and Darin Brannon, for the CircuLive::Majestik CD/DVD/Blu-ray in Issue 229!
“Making something of a deserved name for themselves…..the quality of the musicianship….in the end it’s the songs and the music that counts…..all these elements combine together…..all these can be found in Circuline.”
“Extremely gifted musicians, whose skills blend effectively to make an impressive whole, greater than the sum of their parts. Progressive and melodic…..complex but always accessible…..ample testament to their potency as a band.”
“Quite a statement, with some epic playing and some great songs…..making people sit up and take notice of them.”