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)

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