Exposé Online banner

Circles — Circles
(Guerssen Mental Experience MENT001, 1983/2016, CD/LP)

Circles — More Circles
(Guerssen Mental Experience MENT002, 1984/2016, CD/LP)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-06-03

Circles Cover artMore Circles Cover art

Circles was the obscure German electronic trio of Dierk Litert (synths, sequencers, drums, bass, guitar, voice, saxophone, and flute), Mike Bormann (guitars, bass, and synths), and Busch Buchweitz (drums, percussion, and trumpet). They were an inventive multi-instrumental group who released three albums in the mid to late 80s and then went on to other things. Often aided by guests, Circles continued to record music in the spirit of Cluster, Harmonia, Liliental, etc. All three of their albums were privately released on their tiny Einhorn label and therefore very rare. Today Guerssen on their imprint label Mental Experience have legitimately reissued first two albums on both vinyl and CD.

The first salbum, Circles, features nine instrumentals where they experiment with dark chords, drones, slow rhythms, voices, old 78 rpm records, dissonant chords, electronics, and Krautrock. This album is quite a mixed bag of tunes. The Krautrock tunes (“Rockcola,” “10° unter Null,” “Tropflut,” “Reibend,” and the epic “Woistich-Umgedreht”) are in the Harmonia / Cluster vein, while the other tracks can be abstract electronic soundscapes with dissonant chords. In addition, “Chant” made me think of Der Plan and Die Todliche Doris. For me, the outstanding tracks are “Rockcola” with its motorik beat and two-chord sequences, and “Woistich Umgedreht” with its repeating sequences, abstract electronics, and eerie cyclic themes.

More Circles continues with an additional 10 tracks that are similar in approach, but completely different. There are still the Harmonia, Cluster, and Neu! influences, as well as more extreme sonic experiments. The disc opens with the short track “Minimal Instant” with its repeated Harmonia style four-note sequence and leads into the mammoth “Several Steps Leading through Different Rooms - Escapades.” Over the course of 13 minutes, Circles goes from electronics and street noises with a slow two-note sequence to faster rhythmic tubular Michael Rother guitar that becomes Frippian, merging into TV, running water, and train sounds followed by more guitar and abstract sounds, clock chimes, and closes by becoming very surreal. Each of these shifts must correspond to a different room. Then we have the short tune “Tripletwin” that reminds me of Bill Nelson’s early solo work, perhaps “Mr. Magnetism Himself.” Then they take off into the cosmos with “Paris Cut,” which sounds similar to Louis and Bebe Barron’s Forbidden Planet soundtrack. “Mental Dart” is even more abstract and experimental with whispers, droning voices, and analog synths. “Trio Atonale” is another experimental piece with random trumpet notes and short runs. “Tranquilo Gonzales” is more ambient, but with electronic snippets, whispers, and slow chords. “Sequences” is back to Forbidden Planet territory. When I read the title “Consequences” I thought of Conrad Schnitzler, but the music bears no resemblance. Instead there is an eerie cosmic / sci-fi / horror feel to this piece. And the disc closes with the excellent Harmonia-influenced “Spiral Dance.”

All in all, two obscure gems from the 80s are now available to a greater audience, especially those who enjoy approachable experimental soundscapes, augmented by some superb Krautrock.


Filed under: Reissues, 2016 releases, 1983 recordings, 1984 recordings

Related artist(s): Circles

Latest news

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Änglagård - Gånglåt från Knapptibble – The long-awaited new Änglagård single has finally hit the shelves as part of the latest Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine. In each issue (a grass-roots psychedelic/underground offering published in the...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues