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circulatory system
Circulatory System
Self-Titled
Cloud Recordings

click for Real Audio Sound Clip

Buy it at Insound!


A mere two years ago, the Elephant 6 collective was a mighty, paisley-clad army, tossing off one brilliant psychedelic pop album after another. It seemed as if they could do no wrong; Robert Schneider, Andrew Reiger, Jeff Mangum and William Cullen Hart garnered praise from critic after critic after critic after critic as they marched their troops onward towards their rightful place in pop music history. But somewhere along the way, the collectiveís victory trot turned into a torturous death march that left many of their most successful and prominent artists wounded and seeking shelter. That first winter was indeed the toughest, and when it concluded, only The Apples in Stereo and Elf Power were able to continue, forced to leave their comrades Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control behind, fully expecting to never see them again. Fast forward two years; we've heard only minor rumblings from the souls that were left behind that fateful spring. But the first major uprising is now upon us...

Circulatory System has risen from the ashes of the mighty Olivias. This slightly stripped down (relatively speaking) version of that once-great unit has arrived to reclaim their kaleidoscopic destiny.

An unofficial follow-up to 1999ís Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume 1, this self-titled album was brought to you by the same cast of ragamuffin characters (except for Bill Doss) you have come to know and love via such albums as On Avery Island and First Symphony for Nomad. Former OTC members William Cullen Hart, John Fernandez, Pete Erchick and Eric Harris form the core of this extended musical family; their carnival-styled musings are the foundation of Circulatory Systemís gingerbread house of capricious pop fancy. Their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sound is a familiar one: dense rhythmic structures layered with elegiac organ drones, toy piano, fuzzed-out acoustic guitars, scratchy cellos and Hartís unmistakable elfin croon. They recall their golden days on "The Lovely Universe" and "Outside Blasts", then expound upon their ramshackle ways with "Inside Blasts"' chanted refrain and bizarre time signatures. But for all the new ground Circulatory System covers, their best moments surface when the gang returns to their old tricks. The short but sweet "Fingers" suggests an opium-dipped Simon & Garfunkel, and "Stars" is a jaunty, vaudeville-style romp through a fertile countryside, while the grand cinematic sweeps of "A Peek" sound as is an orchestra comprised of crickets, grasshoppers and the odd praying mantis manned the chairs. Circulatory System requires listeners to look to the future, while keeping their feet planted firmly in the past.

Bold, adventurous, whimsical and witty, this debut offering from Circulatory System proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are still signs of life to be found in the Elephant 6 collective. You just have to look a bit harder to find them.

-- Jason Jackowiak
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