Welcome back, dear reader! It’s been a few weeks of year end posts around these parts (if you haven’t listened to Dan and Chris’ excellent and exhaustive podcast episode, please do yourself a favor and check that out first), but we’re back, cracking open a fresh new year that promises to be chock full of some seriously good non-metal releases. First up, we have quite an interesting listen from the wild ether, courtesy of the enigmatic dark ambient artist Circulatory Garden and their cinematic, mega-creepy EP Primordial Circulation. Hop below the cut to get started on a wild journey.
While I could go on and on trying to describe the exact sound and feel of Primordial Circulation, why not take it straight from the artist themselves? According to principal songwriter The Witch of Endor, Primordial Circulation is “a mythical, philosophical and deeply meditative yet anxious trance-inducing entity which serves the speech of the inner planes towards oneiric sonorities using diverse organic mediums of experimental musicalization.” So there you go! What else do you need me to say? If you had to spend some time perusing a dictionary after reading that last quote, let me break it down for you: Primordial Circulation is a dark ambient soundscape that loosely tells the story of the fall of man from the Garden of Eden through the use of eerie, downright unsettling and creepy samples of strings, horns, and field recordings, coupled with the lightest touches of guitar and percussion. All of this is in an attempt to convey a primal understanding of the evil and chaos that inherently lurks in the hearts of humankind. And it most definitely does exactly what it sets out to do, with gusto.
The most striking feature of Primordial Circulation is just how powerfully cinematic it all feels. Each individual track has a life and identity of its own, but they all come together into a cohesive, transcendent whole that feels like the soundtrack to an avant-garde silent horror film. “In Barren Soil Rests an Eroded Palace” sets the tone with ominous whines like an air raid siren, strings and deep, dark tones that reverberate in a metaphysical place in the mind. “In A Ridden March Towards River Mist” reminds me of a scene in Lord of the Rings, with pounding footsteps and deep horns receding into harsh static and disturbing ambience. “Hope of Humanity is Forged in Insidious Thoughts” features a repeated electric guitar motif over whispers and heartbeats, surely recalling the temptation of the biblical first humans. The whole affair is drenched in a thick sheen of the occult, with prominent whispers and organic sounds laying the backdrop for the pops of sinister washes of noise and obscuring orchestration.
While it feels like this is an album that should have been entirely influenced by the previous year, Primordial Circulation was actually written and recorded back in 2019. There’s something to be said for premonition there. The EP is Chapter I of an unknown number of parts, and while it is only a small taste of what is to come, it leaves me very intrigued about what the next chapters are going to be like. More occult themes? More travels through ancient history? Something completely different? Who’s to say. All I know is that I’ll be keeping an eye out for the follow-up sometime in the hopefully not too distant future.
Primordial Circulation is available now on Trepanation Recordings. For more information on Circulatory Garden, visit their Facebook page.