The tiny nation of Finland (population:5.4m) has certainly outdone itself in servicing the rest of the world with out-there musical magic in recent years, altered wonderment from Es, Kiila, Kemialliset Ystavat and others spreading dopey grins across Europe and the US via labels such as Fonal and Ektro. The latter label’s proprietor Jussi Lehtisalo is also the face of that juggernaut of seminal Finnish kosmische, Circle. Formed in 1991, Circle’s release schedule has been as urgent and insistent as their live shows. Subjecting themselves to continual reinvention, Circle are as likely to deliver a krautrock-heavy series of Steve Reich-inspired phase rock or dark psychedelia as they are riff-drenched stompers that Judas Priest would be proud of. On record and on stage, Circle are the consummate entertainers.
As The Quietus described them, CircLE are “Playful, preposterous, virtuosic, relentless: these adjectives only go some way to describing the multifarious beast that is the Finnish experimental rock band Circle…their early live performances were rituals “to do with nudity, symbolism and blood…sometimes the whole band would perform in [fluorescent] body paint”, and the glacial post rock of their debut album Meronia (Bad Vugum 1994) was distinguished by his unique “Meronian” vocals, “a kind of onomatopoeic uttering that has a meaning for those who want to understand”. Their reputation as a live act is second to none: led by the fearsome presence of bassist/vocalist Lehtisalo and the banshee wail keyboardist/vocalist Mika Ratto, Circle’s ability to integrate the outer limits of improvisation to their thrilling riff-based rock forms earned them a legion of devoted fans around the world.”