Circle Traps – Obelisk EP (Five Easy Pieces)
London trio, Circle Traps, release their new EP and Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates is on hand to review.
Obelisk is one of those things that you want to like. Five tracks combining ambience with drone and the promise to equal the success of the debut EP, Fjord.
‘Heatwave’ opens with a backdrop of drone and what appear to either be random chime-like sounds, or, a calculated attempt to purposely play a tune out of synch. The percussion also doesn’t necessarily suit, but, there’s a feeling that after two or three listens, it will all fall into place. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and, the theme continues for the remaining four tracks.
There’s no doubt that Portico Quartet’s Jack Wyllie and Duncan Bellamy, with the addition of Will Ward, are striving to be original. There’s also no question that there are interesting sounds and effects used here, (the beginning to ‘Open Cube’ being case in point), but they just don’t seem to gel.
At times, the tracks sound like there are two or more separate melodies being played at once and can become slightly frustrating. At little over two minutes, ‘Pop’ could well be the EP highlight. Simple drone with the addition of an interest semi-drumbeat makes for easy listening with enough variance to keep it engaging. Any comparisons to Four Tet can be made here as the track fades away from whence it came.
The title track and ‘Redshift’ close the EP with very much of the same, staggered stalling. The later attempts to forge a distinctive melody, but, doesn’t necessarily meet its goal. ‘Obelisk’ too promises much but falls just short of the mark.
There are ideas on Obelisk EP, but sometimes, originality at the price of a good track isn’t always the objective. You get the feeling that the EP is just one or two steps from being something rather special, and, there’s no doubt that there are great things up Circle Traps’ sleeves. Unfortunately, just not yet.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.