Like with any group of tireless, fearless, infinitely creative artists, to discuss one album by Circle is to discuss a snapshot. In the course of over 20 years, and over 30 albums, the Finnish band has explored more genres than most people can name. They have been savage metalheads, trippy prog disciples, deftly accurate Krautrockers and purveyors of otherworldy folk.
In other words, to hear one record is to hear a moment static in time that may possibly never be revisited again. The moment here is Miljard, a 2006 instrumental album where the band chose to push themselves further than usual by assuming the form of ascetics working in the sparse realms of ambient music.
There is no form here, at least none that can be picked up casually. The opening melancholy keyboard line of ñParmaleeî illustrates the heart of the record: simple webs of melody used to stitch together brooding, fractured, disparate sounds that meander, skitter, rumble and squeal through all ten tracks.
Each one has been recorded to impart a sense of mood and theme. The slow builds and recessions; the moments of mania that disappear like delusions; the depth of field between the instrumentation; they create a fully realized atmosphere whether a song is only few minutes or runs to over twenty.
No single photo can define someone, and each Circle record only grazes their sweeping, stunning career. But as a stand- alone piece, Miljard fascinates, challenges and confounds every time you revisit it.