Every music enthusiast around the world surely misses live concerts. It’s been 7 months since I last attended a show, and right now, it isn’t clear when that is going to change. I knew I missed it, but after viewing the latest live release by Circuline called “CircuLive::NewView”, now I am aware of just how much I need them.
In the meantime, Circuline gifted me with an hour and a half of pure musical bliss. I was not familiar with the band, so I did not know what to expect from the live album, which captures the ProgStock set they played almost three years ago. I found a compelling sonic journey full of melodic, dramatic, theatrical, entertaining, and unexpected turns.
Those responsible make up a rather peculiar group of musicians that, without any bombastic or pyrotechnic display of showmanship, elegantly own the stage. They do it by presenting a carefully curated selection of songs from the two studio albums they have released. The result is a collection of pieces that brilliantly flows between Prog’s golden age sound and a modern twist, providing highly harmonic, atmospheric, and complex passages.
It is always refreshing when a band allows themselves space for improvisation or other surprises instead of playing their songs note-for-note. Circuline seems to embrace this sentiment since they present a set that contains memorable moments, improvisation sections, and even a Sound of Contact cover.
Regarding the memorable moments, Circuline flaunts their musicians’ incredible talent by introducing a musical duel consisting of a piano battle between drummer Darin Brannon and Andrew Colyer, a keyboard player from Julliard. That must be unfair, right? Well, Brannon proves to be up to the task, resulting in a fascinating display of their musical prowess with a wide range of approaches that goes from the calmed and melancholic to the cheerful and frenetic playing. The battle quickly escalates to another level when guitarist Alek Darson joins the party, while drums are also played by bassist Joel Simches, leading the beat from which Darson leans on to deliver a brilliant guitar solo that closes the piano battle.
Another highlight comes at the final moments of “Forbidden Planet,” where the complete band becomes immersed in an unexpected percussion trance, creating a remarkable experience that anybody who was there surely remembers vividly.
The songs chosen by Circuline for this set reflects adequately their brilliant musical range through which they display tunes full of melodic hooks, exciting and surprising passages, complex arrangements, and notable lyrics that vocalists Natalie Brown and William Spillane sing with deep emotions, showing how well their vocal ranges complement each other.
It is clear that Circuline took inspiration from the classic prog acts. Still, their music contains appealing and surprising elements that allow the band to create a unique sound and concept that the prog community should receive with enthusiasm.
Once the show is over, I am not sure who had more fun, if the musicians performing on stage or the viewer. Circuline transmits unstoppable passion, and the joy that it seems they experienced is palpable. After viewing “CircuLive::NewView”, I believe that the band is composed of virtuoso players who, more importantly, seem to be music enthusiasts in the first place. The sincere and unpretentious manner they carried out the show, added to their way of understanding what audiences appreciate, makes this live album an enjoyable and highly recommendable experience to the prog fan and any rock fanatic who likes their music refined, captivating and challenging.
Released by: Inner Nova Music
Released Date: October 9th, 2020
Genre: Progressive Rock
- Andrew Colyer / keyboards, vocals, percussion
- Darin Brannon / drums, keyboards
- Natalie Brown / lead vocals, percussion
- William Spillane / lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion
- Joel Simches / bass, drums, acoustic guitar
- Alek Darson / lead and rhythm guitars
- Intro + Erosion
- Soleil Noir
- One Wish
- Piano Challenge
- Fallout Shelter
- Pale Blue Dot
- Forbidden Planet + Drum Feature
"CircuLive::NewView" is the perfect introduction to the compelling concept and interesting prog proposal accomplished by Circuline. Their newest live album is not only a great opportunity to endure the absence of live concerts, but also to immerse oneself into a sophisticated, complex, and beautiful experience orchestrated by brilliant musicians.