Few bands over the last couple of decades have been as prolific and unpredictable as Circle , the Finnish band who coined the term NWOFHM (The New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal) to establish its place in the firmament. While heavy metal has certainly been at the core of most of the group’s music, it doesn’t suggest Circle’s breadth, which has made room for its own spins on techno, prog, krautrock, drone, free jazz, and more in its massive discography (32 studio and live albums since 1994).
Trying to figure out where the band is headed next has been an enjoyable pursuit, but Circle’s quizzical demeanor goes berserk on a quasi-documentary called Saturnus Reality (finished in 2007 and recently released in the US by No Quarter Records . Made by Esko Lönnberg and shot during sessions for the group’s 2006 album Miljard at the band’s remote, lakeside studio, what starts out as a standard-issue music documentary turns into a nightmarish experimental film with irritating double, triple, and negative exposures, staged rituals, looped philosophical gibberish, footage of the band watching the Olympics on TV, eating, and, oh, yeah, playing some music. I was not convinced.
I can’t imagine anyone who’s not already a Circle fan would endure all 98 minutes, but you have your chance to view it for free at Sonotheque on Monday, March 9.
Various Artists, Carolina Funk 1968-1977 (Jazzman/Now-Again)
Sonny Criss, This is Criss! (Prestige)
Mark Pichelin, Xavier Charles & Ivar Grydeland, North of the North (Sofa)
Elton Medeiros, Elton Medeiros (Eldorado)
Mark Fry, Dreaming With Alice (Sunbeam)