Circle Traps, Obelisk EP

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Photo by Margaret Durow

[Five Easy Pieces]


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Circle Traps display a deft understanding of both melody and muscularity on their new Obelisk EP. Crackling, submerged, and driven, it is an ever-present sense of progressive melody that drives these tracks and sets them apart from much of the more stripped-back material in the current bass canon. And while a sense of melancholy is always near the surface, it’s tempered by imaginative, unpredictable arrangements that keep any overwhelming gloom at bay.


Circle Traps, “Obelisk”

“Heatwave” is a foray into beefy psychedelics, its waves of synth washes set off by a strange off-kilter kick pattern. A drunken arpeggio breaks through the mix, but the overriding feeling is a sense of arrested motion — a fitting opener. “Open Cube” features a stop-start vocal snippet against rising synths and a cavernous, Objekt-esque beat that sits somewhere between skippy garage and warehouse techno; elements enter at irregular intervals, lending a staggered feel to what is already a lurching roller. “Pop” provides an interjection in the form of lighter beats and skittery woodblock percussive elements, while shifting white noise is also used as a percussive device as cinematic stabs abruptly interject to add raw drama.

Perhaps most arresting is “Obelisk.” Epic rave stabs are offset by a pounding kick and layers of stern sub. But what could have wound up a dark workout is tamed by colorful synth flourishes and a long, hazy breakdown. “Redshift” closes the EP with a woozier jam, all velvet textured flourish for the wee small hours. Circle Traps are growing ever more adept at working languid grooves that are constantly arrested and morphed by unpredictable arrangement and an exciting sound palette. “Obelisk” is a mature set that will no doubt excite those who enjoy a smattering of cinematic romance alongside their low-end rumble.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds September Charts 2013 – Little White Earbuds  on October 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM

[…] [Hessle Audio] 09. Tessela, “Nancy’s Pantry” [R&S Records] 10. Circle Traps, “Obelisk” [Five Easy […]

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