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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pulsar - Görlitz – Pulsar was perhaps the best French band in the mid-70s. In fact they were the first French band to be distributed by an English label. From 1975 to 1977 they released three albums culminating with...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues