Spectacular Review in Germany’s Rock Times for “CircuLive::NewView”

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.

Prog with pleasure in jam, euphony without kitsch and theatrics without fuss. I’ll be there!

Circuline Guest Guitarist #7 of 7: Doug Ott (Enchant)


Circuline is excited to announce the last of the Guest Guitarists for the second album, “Counterpoint”.

Guest #7 of 7:  Doug Ott (Enchant).  Doug is the co-leader, chief songwriter, and rocking guitarist for the progressive rock band Enchant.  Enchant have spent more than 25 years in the progressive rock scene, with an 11-year hiatus in studio album discography between 2003 and 2014.  They returned to the studio and live performance with their recent release, “The Great Divide”.

Andrew Colyer met Enchant keyboardist Bill Jenkins on the Moody Blues Cruise and Cruise to the Edge in 2014.  Bill was performing with Sound of Contact,  and Andrew was performing with the Prog Rock Orchestra.  Bill and Andrew met up again in 2015 at the 12th international Rites of Spring festival (RoSfest) where Enchant was performing, and got introduced to Doug.  Andrew and Darin Brannon were impressed with Enchant’s live performance and new album, and when Circuline needed another guitarist for their second album, they called Doug.

Doug is contributing guitar tracks to the song “Who I Am”.  We’re excited and grateful to be working with him!

Circuline Guest Guitarist #6 of 7: Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance, The Fringe, Pink Floyd Experience)


Circuline is excited to continue announcing the Guest Guitarists for the second album, “Counterpoint”.

Guest #6 of 7: Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance, The Fringe, Pink Floyd Experience).  Randy, one of the most prolific musicians out there, recently returned from a European tour with the Jane Getter Premonition, then left immediately to go back out on tour with the Pink Floyd Experience.  He and his band The Fringe will be performing this May at the Rites of Spring festival (RoSfest), where they will be having their CD release party.

Andrew Colyer met Randy on the Moody Blues Cruise and Cruise to the Edge in 2014.  Randy was performing with Sound of Contact,  Andrew was performing with the Prog Rock Orchestra, and when Circuline needed a singer-songwriter for their first album, they called Randy.

Randy contributed lyrics, melodies, and vocals for “Return”, and is again contributing lyrics and melodies for the seven vocal songs on this upcoming album, “Counterpoint”.

Randy is also contributing guitar tracks to the instrumental piece “New Day”.  We’re excited and grateful to be working with him!

Circuline Guest Guitarist #2 of 7: Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact, Beth Hart)


Circuline is proud to continue announcing the Guest Guitarists for the second album, “Counterpoint”.

Guest #2: Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact, Beth Hart).   Andrew Colyer performed on keys/vocals with the Prog Rock Orchestra on the 2013 Moody Blues Cruise and YES Cruise to the Edge, sharing the bill on both cruises with Sound of Contact.  Andrew and Matt got to hang out quite a bit during those two weeks at sea, in addition to SoC’s North American spring tour in New York City and RoSfest 2013.  That connection evolved into Matt playing bass on five tracks and mixing  Circuline’s entire debut album, “Return”.  Matt also flew out to play some live gigs with Circuline on the U.S. east coast in November 2014.

Matt is contributing guitar tracks to the song “Summit”, and we’re grateful to have him on the album!

Circuline Debut Album Promo #1

This video features Circuline band members Andrew Colyer (keyboards/vocals), Bill Shannon (guitars/vocals), Billy Spillane (lead vocals), Darin Brannon (drums/percussion),  and Natalie Brown (lead vocals).

Guest Artists include Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact) on bass, and Randy McStine’s (Lo-Fi Resistance)  songwriting on lyrics and melody lines.

Video recorded at Vinnie’s Garage (Vinnie Martucci, engineer), Coldbrook Productions (Julie Last, engineer), Thid1 Productions (Matt Dorsey, engineer), and the Dover Brick House (Dover, New Hampshire).  Special thanks to Linda Roberts and David Young for their iPhone videos!

Photos taken at Putnam Den (Saratoga Springs, NY), Keegan Ales (Kingston, NY), Enigma Dance Hall (Milan, NY), Ralph’s Rock Diner (Worcester, MA), and the Dover Brick House (Dover, NH).  Special thanks to photographers Denise Romano Bright and Greg Thompson for their professional photos used in this first video!

Also special thanks to Bob Larkin and Lori Schladebeck for the fantastic light show where we got some of these great photos!

Art direction and graphic design:  Bill Shannon

Video editing:  Darin Brannon

Band booking and marketing:  Andrew Colyer

Assistant booking and logistics:  Tom Palmieri

Much needed sarcasm and general snarkiness:  Natalie Brown