Circle – Mac
Genre: Dream Pop, Alternative Rock, Alt Pop
As you read more biographies of famous rock bands, you start to notice that the all-powerful rock stars had a lot of people that they needed to answer to. The music producers, in particular, dictated the sound that ended up on records and could, on occasion, even veto certain artistic directions. It’s fantastic that Circle must only answer to the artistic impulses that power the Australian band’s music.
Every single musical artist, when speaking in interviews, must go on at length about the personal struggles that they faced during their life and how these shaped their music. Each new single can’t simply be presented as a catchy hook meant to produce money. Instead, it is flogged as some kind of personal revelation. These pop stars, of course, forget to mention their army of songwriters, producers, and managers who also help shape the direction of the music.
Circle’s “Mac” does not sound like music created by a committee or approved by a board of music people. It is an emotional glance back at the past. It relates a personal story with warmth and without glossing past the trauma of it. It’s a soft dream-pop sound that is constructed as a vehicle to best tell a story rather than as an event meant to encourage you to buy a product. Circle doesn’t need to answer to anyone for this.
Jens Gustavson – Söndag 14° dis
Genre: Dream Pop, Lo-fi Rock, Psychedelic Rock
The ancient Yogic texts clearly state that any man who has opted to embark on a spiritual journey needs a guru, a teacher, and someone to inspire them while on their travels. But does it need to be a righteous man, a wise man, or one that’s found the proverbial light? Not really. It can be anyone as long as the student is ready to learn to take on the teacher’s best traits and disregard the faults.
Jens Gustavson has taken on Nick Cave as a teacher, but has pushed the boat further up into the stream than their musical predecessor would’ve allowed it to go. The result is music that settles to the ground like a mountain of white, heavy snow. It’s a sound that, if you accept it, will guide you to a story that is not your own and from which you won’t be able to leave until it’s over.
Jens Gustavson’s “Söndag 14° dis” is a meditative, poetic exercise. It’s a song that acts as a veritable travelogue through Sweden’s beautifully haunted expanse. The music is driven forward, slowly, by a melancholy-ridden guitar. This, echoing through the use of a violin box replacing a plectrum, ends up sounding like a mellotron. The drums are introduced later and intervene shyly, almost trying to avoid startling the listener. Gustavson’s music owes something to Cave’s recent forays into atmospheric poetry-rock, but its sorrowfulness is all its own.