Thank you so much to Background Magazine’s Henri Strik and Tracy van Os van den Abeelen, 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. 😀 ~
For many lovers of progressive rock living in the USA is Circuline a rather well known name. However for those living on the other side of the Atlantic ocean this name doesn’t ring any bells for most of them. They don’t know that they started early 2014 and released already two studio albums. Namely Return (2015) and Counterpoint (2016). This sextet from New York occasionally does some live performance in their country and also wants to climb the stage in Europe. But as with many bands from North or South America it is rather difficult to reach their audience outside their home country and see them face to face. Therefore it is sometimes a good way to come with a live release. This also occurs for Circuline. Therefore they decide to come up with a second live release in their career after putting out Circulive::Majestik back in 2018. So it’s now time to welcome Circulive: New View. It’s a release which is without any doubt a great bundle to own. Why? Because it brings out the audio and video on CD, DVD and Blu-ray in one package. How cool is that!
New View was recorded at the ProgStock Festival October 14th in 2017. It was done in a line up consisting of Andrew Colyer (keyboards / vocals / percussion), Darin Brannon (drums / keyboards), Natalie Brown (lead vocals / percussion), William Spillane (lead vocals / rhythm guitar / percussion), Joel Simches (bass / bass pedals / drums / acoustic guitar) and Alek Darson (lead and rhythm guitars).
The whole release is rather entertaining and gives us a cross-section of their already mentioned two studio albums. There is also one composition written by Sound of Contact, namely Pale Blue Dot. A great version if I may say so. Moreover we have the great Piano Challenge between Andrew Colyer and Darin Brannon. A medley with scraps of classical music as well as excerpts of Tarkus (ELP) and Awaken (Yes). Also nice is The Drum Feature that follows the soundscape-like Forbidden Planet. Instead of just letting the drummer go behind his kit on his percussion, everyone taps, drums or plays on a percussion instrument. Nice for variety and as a show element and is something which Gentle Giant and Lazuli have also done on stage.
For me it is the instrumental parts such as in Fallout Shelter, Forbidden Planet and Stereotypes that appeal to me very much because everyone has mastered their instrument well and radiates pleasure playing. In addition to the pointed but delightful guitar solos, the classical piano playing and the flashy bass playing on the Rickenbacker are particularly striking. Off course it doesn’t mean that the songs in which the two singers are included are the worst compositions done. Both singers have strong voices and add really something to the band.
All in all you can say that the keyboards stand out, and you can tell who is holding the strings here. But the guitar work is not neglected either and supported by an excellent rhythm group.
The DVD contains the same material as the CD, but the Blu-ray offers additional video content: concert with audio commentary, backstage and behind the scenes material, official videos, onstage photo slide show and concert poster slide show. So the fan gets a lot of material here and will be thrilled.
In the end Circuline offers the fan the best-off par excellence but also the perfect live album which will obviously delight all the followers of the group but which will also serve as a starting point for all those who want to discover this great American band. This is a real must for fans of Glass Hammer, Renaissance, Magenta and Yes! And of course for lovers of progressive rock in general! Well done indeed! Next time please get to the other side of the Atlantic!!!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Thank you so much, MUSIC IN BELGIUM and reviewer Philippe Thirionet, for this fantastic 4-Star (out of five) review! We’re reproducing the entire article in English, via Google Translate, below.
It is indeed an ultra complete Live box set that is given to us by the New York group Circuline which since 2015 has been navigating between progressive rock, cinematic rock or even crossover-prog and classic-rock with here near of 13 compositions available in 3 distinct formats. So let’s dive into this imposing preciousness with first of all the analysis of the CD opening on an intro then, the music of the group begins with first of all a nice bass sound that serves as a door to ‘entry to a rather classic rock-progressive with also modern and atmospheric synths which, offer a very melodic note to American rock … a progressive in fact where the synths twirl sometimes recalling the great Genesis . Between the songs it’s Natalie Brown who thanks the audience and suggests the songs that will be played. But enough talk, I therefore offer you two first ‘promo-clips’ to listen to, to discover the group and its music:
Where we perceive a rock both tinged with folk, progressive but also classic-rock since here, we find acoustic passages like certain more neo-classical moments, when the piano is heard. Overall this is a music that represents well it seems to me an accessible and multifaceted rock because obviously, the group is able to tack between genres while keeping in focus the will to build a Classic-rock where we feel the imprint of the seventies via the sound of the organs without counting, neo-classical or progressive scents see heavier passages come to flesh out the sound content of our Americans. And I have not yet talked about the vocal part where, the song of Natalie is regularly added to choirs carried by one or the other protagonist who accompanies the beautiful, song and vocal harmonies perfectly complementing the musical picture of this concert given in fact in 2017! In fact you could find other promotional extracts on YouTube but what I offer you is a complete composition resulting from this stage performance:
This will allow you on the one hand to see the impressive material on stage (you will be able to see it again of course when the DVD is broadcast) and on the other hand, a complete performance next to a song dating from 2016 with also beautiful instrumental passages! The whole album is in the image of a colorful performance where each protagonist is in his place, masters his subject and therefore offers a musical game and / or a vocal work without reproach while remaining in a rather classic niche. rock or progressive.
Other extracts are of course available, I offer you one by the way, with one of the last compositions of the concert captured for the occasion:
Clean and well done work that does not suffer from any false note, but let’s move on to the DVD which obviously offers us an additional dimension with the image of the scenic performance which shows us even better all the logistics on stage but especially all the professionalism developed by the whole group. The sound-image capture is impeccable and therefore worthy of a quality DVD, the same of course for the Blu-Ray version which perfectly complements a most complete and successful box set!
In the end Circuline offers the fan the best-off par excellence but also the perfect ‘Live’ album which will obviously delight all the followers of the group but which also, will serve as a starting point for all those who want to discover the American formation. In terms of classic-rock, classic progressive and American rock, this is a must!
This article was originally posted online on November 22nd, 2020:
It’s one thing to be included on a “Best of” Year-End List with the Neal Morse Band (#6), Grave Digger (#3), and Dream Theater (#2). But to be picked as #1?!? HOLY COW!!! We are so HONORED and HUMBLED by VIA NOCTURNA in PORTUGAL to have the CircuLive::NewView CD/DVD/Blu-ray selected as the #1 Live Release for 2020 !!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
“A prog rock based on theatricality and cinematography and which is oriented towards jazz, classical, and metal structures. The melodic lines are delicious, the solos are absolutely fantastic, and the vocal diversity denotes work, competence, and rigor. CircuLive::NewView is a disc that defines a band.”
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!