Great Circles made a real impression on me when I covered the Philadelphia imprint in January. Coming from an ashen and disused space, this label of post-industrial leanings has a raw and unrelenting style. Chalked chords are dashed against disturbing drum patterns and blistered bass. A new name to the collective is, Chaperone is home-grown talent introducing himself with P O N D.
Grit, an accumulation of dust and echoes of activity permeate the EP. Memories of happier times ruminate in “Get Ghost.” Slow, bordering on Ambient, the track clanks and whirls. Draped across the corrosion is a forgotten and overcast funk, a radio relic bleeding into vacuum. Skeletal beats are used to support an arching heaviness. But it’s not a punishing weight that characterizes the likes of “Cough into Auditorium Can’t Tell Me to Nod Now”, rather a fogged wooziness, a half drunken half sleep-deprived leadenness. Techno foundations are employed to build lost landscapes, ones once filled with voice and song. Only reverberations are left. The flip is a remix mirror. Guarding the entrance to this reflected realm is imprint boss Westov Temple and his Surrender mix of “Get Ghost.” The straining steel and flaking iron of “Get Ghost” is restored. Pistons once again pump as the fizz of the conveyor belt drones out a crushing rhythm. A darkened dancefloor begins to form under this B-Side, audio artisans reworking the haunt and howl of the A. Hero/Victim take on “Cough into…” The sonic spectre of the original cannot be exorcised, instead this ghoul is feed gravel to amplify the abrasion and analogue abstraction. Thug Entrancer closes and does “All Your Emergencies” proud. Snipped claps change the palette. The Software veteran swirl’s Chaperone’s colors, pads buttress while 303 skirls pierce for this excellent interpretation.
P O N D is a clear cross section of what Great Circles is attempting; the production a new techno tale from the past, and specifically an American past. Industry and “the dream” groan under the waking realism of the present. Anger and acceptance, pain and passivity, regret and reverence. Smoke and soot cling to sorrow, grease and grime smudge synths. But within this dirge and machinery din there is honesty, within the hardship there is the everyday and there is life. An electronic elegy for the factories and plants that built an empire, glory refracted in distortion, nostalgia and broken glass.
Robbie Geoghegan - Igloo Magazine