For Circe, two-thirds of Sigur Rós (Georg Holm and Orri Páll Dýrason) have partnered with composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Sigur Rós’ touring guitarist Kjartan Holm to create something truly special. Circe is a journey of sound — the team succeeded in creating a Narnia of effects and soundscapes that are truly brilliant, especially in the order in which they are presented.
Though the tracks are long, they are never boring. They progress and move tirelessly, but still have the same laid-back, Sigur Rós-esque vibe that makes the group so popular. Interestingly enough, this venture utilizes a few more synths, glitches and overall deeper house effects than the group usually employs. This makes for an album that’s populated by sweeping string quartets, rolling synths, gorgeous melodies, deep house beats and eerie refrains.
Circe is simply interesting. There’s almost no other way to describe it. From the beginning of the album, which thrusts the listeners into a beautiful whirl of sound, to the the next track — all tribal and bass — it’s clear we’re in for a treat. There is not a moment in the album for boredom; the artists don’t give us enough time.
“Ladies, Gentlemen, Boys and Girls,” the first track, is the perfect launch point for the rest of the album. It’s truly the masterpiece of the record. With all its twists and turns, we can use this as a baseline, and even neck-deep in weird effects, we can be assured they’ll return to the sweeping grandeur of this song. Another notable track, “Torture,” is so tender it makes the heart break. The effects, especially nearing the end, give one the impression the music itself is weeping.
There would be more to complain about had there been any vocals included with this music. Circe is vocal-less, and with good reason. Any words or other messages not capable of being conveyed through the music would just overload the audience. The melodies are complete in their musicality, there’s never a dull moment, and there are no tracks that feel incomplete. This group, however hodgepodge they may seem, have done a wonderful job with Circe. Listening to this album is an experience, one any listener will remember long afterward.