Review: Circulation of Light - Acheiropoieta (2012)


artist: Cir­cu­la­tion of Light
release: Acheir­opoi­eta
format: CD
year of release: 2012
label: Brave Mys­ter­ies
dur­a­tion: 40:00

Cir­cu­la­tion of Light is the solo pro­ject of Nath­aniel Ritter (Kinit Her, Wreathes), but will prob­ably be mostly unknown to those who haven’t been fol­low­ing his work or the small labels on which it has thus far come out. Acheir­opoi­eta is the first proper album, now released on Ritter’s own Brave Mys­ter­ies, and as one of the label’s first CD releases.

The musical base of the pro­ject remains the same: lots of min­imal piano melod­ies, some rel­at­ively straight-up, most heav­ily manip­u­lated to fill the low and high ends of the spec­trum and cre­ate misty back­drops and drones. How­ever, the tracks on Acheir­opoi­eta are richer in com­pos­i­tion and tex­ture than the earlier Cir­cu­la­tion of Light works, and Ritter adds his dis­tinct­ive drawn-out vocals to many of them as well.

What res­ults is an enchant­ing set of songs with poignant moods. The beau­ti­ful opener is deeply mys­tical, driven by low tolling piano notes, stretched out by reverb, whereas the first “Patience” track is more bright and open. Sim­ilar dynam­ics are main­tained through­out the forty minutes that make up this album, which reveals the diversity of Ritter’s clas­sical influ­ences. To me, this is par­tic­u­larly appar­ent in “Patience II” which makes excel­lent use of pipe organ over subtly shim­mer­ing back­ground melod­ies, and in the lovely baroque-meets-electronica-inspired tones of the clos­ing track “Dim­met”, which will please those who, like me, enjoyed Ritter’s earlier rework­ings of G.F. Händel’s Organ Con­cer­tos Op. 4.

We didn’t really need any more proof that the Wisconsin-centered musical fam­ily around Brave Mys­ter­ies is a hot­bed of tal­ent (see above­men­tioned pro­jects, as well as Burial Hex and Rain Drink­ers), but here it is any­way. Cir­cu­la­tion of Light’s first big­ger album is a thing of weird beauty, a magical fusion of influ­ences from clas­sical com­pos­i­tion, impro­visa­tion, and mod­ern elec­tronic music.

[vimeo 48915744]

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. A Per­fect Heart Is Like a Mir­ror (8:26)
2. Patience I (6:16)
3. Stone’s Sail (3:29)
4. The Death Desire (6:29)
5. Patience II (3:34)
6. Man­i­fold Grace (6:12)
7. Dim­met (5:34)