The Circular Ruins "Pathways" 2xCD
"Pathways" double CD album was recorded during 2015-2016 and released during December 2016 together with another 9 double sets by various other artists on the Dutch Databloem label to celebrate their 15th anniversary. It's packaged in a rather simple, but very elegant glossy 4-panel digifile, featuring cover image by Anthony Paul Kerby, the artist himself, who acts as The Circular Ruins (and also as Nunc Stans, Lammergeyer, Fiction And Poetics or together with Robert Davies as The Winterhouse) and who is also known as the mastermind behind the dataObscura label, based in London, Southern Ontario, Canada. It's quite obvious The Circular Ruins was one of the selected artists, because Anthony Paul Kerby used to run dataObscura side by side with Dennis Knopper's Databloem until the beginning of 2008, when they decided to go their separate ways. And The Circular Ruins' debut "Realm Of Possibility", released in 2002, was the second official release by Databloem ("Collection 1: Opening" by various artists was the inaugural release by this label). If I count correctly, during the last 15 years, between "Realm Of Possibility" and "Pathways" The Circular Ruins project has released another 19 solo and collaborative albums, mostly on dataObscura.
The first disc fires up with the title track "Pathways", which at 4:22 is also the shortest one on the first part of the set. It immediately attracts with an array of translucently polished pulses and bleeps backed by subterranean echoes and mildly expansive blankets. I would call this hypogean cybertronica at its most delicate!!! On the contrary, the 15-minute "Walking Away" is the longest composition on this disc and it shifts into more tranquil and immense realms, where warmly gliding and gorgeously nuanced placid horizons are fastidiously bridged with persistently swirling gauzy signals, while additional weirdly twisted granular subtleties clandestinely percolate across. Attentive headphone listening is a real treat here! "Gain Turn To Loss" drifts into enigmatic terrains permeated by transient contemplative tinkles and auxiliary longing curtains. The next piece, "Satisfaction Of Knowing", merges winding ruminative cinematic landscapes with intangibly ascending distant fragments. "Morning Fields", another longer composition reaching 10-plus minutes, keeps on the path of poignant introspectiveness, quietly cascading and counterpointed by impalpable sequences, glimpsing remote cyber-biotic trimmings and ephemeral urban environments. Monochromatic drone announces "Let Them Speak", but picturesque motif along with exotic fragranced strings, titillating clinks, buzzing transitions and elusively peculiar vocoder-charged chants sneak in. A truly exceptional aural splendor by this Anglo-Canadian wizard!!! "Obscure Destiny" closes the first part with sadly enveloping circles, where gently eclectic outbursts commingle with a variety of transitory microscopic ornaments and sinuating reflections.
"When All This Was Real" opens with ear-tickling flute calls, but soon weeping bowed strings steal the center stage with pensively expressive undulations, ringing contemplations and gossamer chinks. 10-minute "Vanishing Shore" delves deeply into nebulously colored terrains, where calmly droning horizons commingle with seashore euphonies, quietly crescending vistas, and pellucidly microscopic scraps. "Into Distance" is navigated by humming flatlined drone desolations, here and there perforated by subterranean ambiguousness, industrial ephemerons and cyber-biotic solitudes. Shorter "A Curious Memory" quickly metamorphoses from hissy yearning passages into subterrestrially galloping sceneries. "Multiple Destinations", the longest piece on the second disc, covering 11 and a half minutes, grippingly keeps on exploring labyrinthine underground territories, driven by static mysterious vibes, ghostly squeaks, organic traces and intricately ascending meridians. A genius loci awaits you, enter now for fully rewarding listening experience!!! "Wait And See" veers into sorrowfully-driven graceful drone expanses counterpointed by a potpourri of elusive undercurrents such as assorted shrilly fragments, contemplative clinks, longing shimmers and eerie groans. As much magnificently sweeping as delicately sophisticated! "Captive" completes this amazing journey with spaciously drifting texture magnified by hissy infusions and spiraling percolations before unforeseen transmogrification into oscillating drone scenario pervaded by exaggerating magnitudes and surging dissonances. Throughout the second half hovering grooves join the stage along with curving climaxes and boisterous thunder vistas with cybernetic vanishments. Wow, this is a truly jaw-dropping, 9 and a half minutes long, sonic chameleon!!! Bravo APK!!!
"Pathways" double album is an all-intensive, 114 minutes long creative accomplishment by The Circular Ruins, which certainly requires a deeply dedicated ear, but as soon the total immersion is achieved, the magic is fully unfolded and Anthony Paul Kerby perpetually delivers his infinite mastery in embellishing his soundscapes with earmarking crystalline curiosities. I won't hesitate to say "Pathways" is another milestone in applauded discography by Anthony Paul Kerby aka The Circular Ruins, and obviously one of the pinnacles of 2016, but keep in mind, this guy is active also with his other, above mentioned projects, which I highly recommend as well!!! Thank you, APK/The Circular Ruins!!! And last but not least, kudos to Dennis Knopper of Databloem for releasing this sonic jewel!!!
Richard Gürtler (May 11, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Explore "Pathways" here...
@elloambient #elloambient @ellomusic #ellomusic #ambient #music @elloelectronic #elloelectronic #ambientmusic #art #elloart