It’s about to get real weird in here, y’all. When I first heard Circles of Sighs‘ music, it was when “Narci”, the title track from their upcoming release, was first posted. I was immediately in love; that track has a wild, unrestrained structure to it and the video that came with it channeled those same unbridled energies. It has blast-beats, gutturals, noise, and a maddening amount of groovy riffs. I knew I wanted to be a part of this release but I also knew that there wasn’t really a way for me to know what the next track from the album might sound like. I knew it would be psychedelic, heavy, and experimental but I had fast learned that it wouldn’t be anything I was expecting.
Lo and behold, I was correct; “Spectral Arms”, which we are proud to premiere here below, is not what I saw coming but I love what it ended up being. That is, to be precise, a sprawling, ten-minute, psychedelic epic, stewing in creative juices that draw as much from bands like Pink Floyd and Motorpsycho as they do from the doomier, more sinister side of progressive music. At its core, the track is driven by a beautiful and forlorn piano line, accompanied by heartfelt vocals, and lush synths. But on the outskirts of this core sound, you get heavier, doom passages (replete with harsh vocals hovering on the verge of a growl), the ambient intro passage, and more besides. It’s sort of like progressive rock in the style of the bands cited above (especially Motorpsycho, near the end of the track, bnefore the massive outro hits) but seen through a dark, obscure glass. Oh, and it’s accompanied by one of the best animated videos I’ve seen in years. OK, enough words; let’s get to it!
The video artist in question is Costin Chioreanu (who has worked with bands like Opeth, Voivod, and Napalm Death, to name just a few) and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. The video delves deep into the concept behind the track (more on that in just a bit) and brings forth the psychedelic, otherworldly journey at the core of the music. Couple that with the weird intro, the faint hints of unwinding, truly bizarre notes throughout the track, and the disturbing, disintegrating outro and you start to see the weirdness that drives Circle of Sighs. The Spokesperson (don’t look at me, that’s what I was asked to call them) expands on these ideas:
“Spectral Arms” was inspired by Ernest Becker’s book, The Denial of Death. Specifically, it is about mortality sentience and what Becker referred to as our “immortality projects.” In other words, the things we self-aware humans do to ensure we’re remembered after we are gone. Some of these things are good. For example, most artworks — even this song frankly– are really just immortality projects. Some of these things are quite bad: wars, mass shootings, fascism. But at the center of them all is ego and ego function happens to be the overarching concept of our forthcoming album, Narci.
As to how the video came to pass: We had seen a number of animated videos that we found intriguing and thought this style would mesh perfectly with the album’s leadoff song, “Spectral Arms.” As we investigated further we discovered that all of these videos were actually created by the same artist, Costin Chioreanu. So we emailed Costin and found that our creative approaches really gelled. He’s not just a brilliant visual artist but also a brilliant musician, so he had a particular sensitivity to what we were trying to achieve sonically and visually. We agreed that we should approach this not as just a “promotional asset,” but as a standalone work of art. A short film set to music. We gave no real direction to Costin, just a set of lyrics and the elevator pitch for the album’s themes. We wanted him to explore these themes in the way that best made sense to him. Needless to say, we were blown away by the results.
Narci will be released on June 4th and if you’re a fan of expansive, mind-broadening, and disturbing music, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You can head on over to the band’s Bandcamp to pre-order it. I mean, just contrast “Narci” and “Spectral Arms”; you know more madness lurks within the album itself.
Also, can we talk about that cover art? Holy shit.