Traveling Circle - Escape from Black Cloud - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Traveling Circle - Escape from Black Cloud

by Amy Putman Rating:9 Release Date:2013-04-06

I'd like to mention that my housemate really liked this album. She actually came and knocked at my door to find out what it was (and no, it wasn't on super loudly - she'd been loitering in the hall outside my door... Or "cleaning" as she likes to put it) because she liked it that much. So you all have that under advisement; an outside opinion; a Member of the Public; a General Bystander.

That way if the trust is lacking in our relationship, if you suspect I exaggerate, warp, twist, or bias beyond the bounds of my honest opinion, even if you think I'm going behind your favourite music's back with other genres and spinning in favour of my studly fling, then you won't miss out on this album. General Bystander has spoken and I, for one, salute her taste, go marching for a while, get out my rifle, fire off a few rounds at some poor bastard with a rucksack and then spend my downtime buffing my kit... Mmmm.... Buffing.

This album is one that everyone should own. It's not the best I've ever heard or the most original, but you need it in your collection because there will be times and moods when nothing else will do. Trippy stoner rock is a genre born, raised and asexually split to increase the population in a puddle of sweat, dripping off the back of prog-rock and then spread and mutated by early, pre-trance experimental mood music, but the entire population has a time-warping, pre-existence, ancestral memory full of nostalgia for the 1960s. It hits a spot that nothing else produced today can reach. It's an aural back-scratcher for people who kind of wish they'd been a hippie while feeling very rooted in the now. For people who like to experience music, not just listen to it; to float around and bob in the murky, marbled black, oil-slick rainbow of the sound.

If this genre is that memory-ridden, salty pool, slick with daring, glinting glossily in the shadows of the stage, then Travelling Circle is that precocious puddle's hazy wet-dream of Led Zeppelin. It is the kind of splooge that starts civilisations in parallel universes; at once earthy, tangy, fruity and all about the physical vibrations, yet spiritual, otherworldly, the sound of distant gods.

Travelling Circle are, in short, the best of their kind. They don't try to emulate their gigantic predecessors, they just listen and learn and add their own twist to the gene pool. Their sound is musically deep, with beautiful spools and riffs. There are bursting tangents like exploding sun spot arcs, but these dance their way across a well-formed liquid surface of solid musical ability, like lightning forking on a plain.

I won't say there's nothing like them, but there's nothing else as good as them at what they do. Sure, you could go back to the origins, to greats you've heard a thousand times before, but Travelling Circle do something different for you. It's not just the joy of hearing really well made, beautiful new music. Although it's a derivative genre, there is still progress, experimentation; mutation... Evolution into a new beast.

Like the raptor becoming a bird, this music contains both the primal and the gently considered. This is not just an endless repeat, it is the kind of innovation that fits the pace of the genre. There's an occasional horror-film-nursery-rhyme twang to the vocals, for example, which stirs me in all kinds of ways.

Go and buy it today, or I'll have to send General Bystander after you, and trust me, that is one mentally evolving experience you want to avoid. Better just to get some happy-make-feel-nice-green, sit back and let Travelling Circle do their thing all over you. Not that their offering is only fit for stoners or being stoned. Far from it.

This music will touch places you barely knew you had. Its usefulness will be individually, personally unique, so I will refrain from spending hours on an exhaustive list of all potential scenarios. Suffice to say, I have heard the mellow future and I know you need it in your home today.

Comments (1)

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Ha! I love your description of stoner rock.

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