BLACK MOON CIRCLE-FLOWING INTO THE 3RD DIMENSION.
Black Moon Circle-Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
Label: Crispin Glover Records.
In mid-2105, Trondheim-based psychedelic space rockers Black Moon Circle, announced that they planned to release a trilogy of studio jams. This was, without doubt, the most ambitious project of Black Moon Circle’s career so far. Just over two years later, and Black Moon Circle have recently returned with the final instalment in their critically acclaimed Studio Jamms series, Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, which was released by Crispin Glover Records. The release of Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, which featured a guest appearance by Motorpsycho’s guitarist Snah on Waves, marks the welcome return on of one Norway leading space rock bands, but also marks the end of another chapter in Black Moon Circle’s career. It began five years ago, in 2012.
By 2012, brothers Øyvin and Vemund Engan were ready to form their own band, in their home city of Trondheim, in Norway. This was where the Engan brothers’ musical career began, when they joined the punk rock band The Reilly Express. After a tour of duty with The Reilly Express, the Engan brothers were more than ready to form their own band. This wasn’t going to be another punk band though. Punk was firmly in the past for Øyvin and Vemund Engan.
Instead, the Engan brothers decided to form a new psychedelic space rock band, which they called Black Moon Circle. Øyvin would play bass, guitar and take charge of vocals, while his brother Vemund also played guitar. All that the nascent Black Moon Circle needed was a drummer, and this would be the start of a new and exciting chapter in the Engan brothers musical career.
Before long, Black Moon Circle’s lineup was complete when drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen joined the band. He was the final piece of the musical jigsaw. Black Moon Circle then began to hone their sound.
Gradually, Black Moon Circle’s sound began to evolve. It was essentially a combination of lengthy jams, searing and blistering guitar riffs and a myriad of effects added to the bass and guitar. This Black Moon Circle described as psychedelic space rock, which soon began to find an appreciative audience.
Now that they had honed and tightened their sound, Black Moon Circle made their first tentative steps onto the local live scene. Although they were the newest addition to Norway’s thriving and vibrant psychedelic space rock scene, their music soon found an appreciative audience. Black Moon Circle’s timing was perfect, as space rock was growing in popularity throughout Europe. Flying the flag for Norwegian space rock was Black Moon Circle, whose music was about to find a wider audience in 2013.
Black Moon Circle.
That was when Black Moon Circle made their recording debut. The band entered Nautilus Studios during 2013 to record Plains, American Eagle and Enigmatic Superbandit which would feature on their mini-album album Black Moon Circle.This would mark the debut of the Trondheim-based psychedelic space rockers.
Black Moon Circle wa released in February 2014 by Space Rock Productions, the label run by the Øresund Space Collective from Copenhagen, Denmark. The release of Black Moon Circle introduced the band’s music to a new and wider audience, and launched their career.
After the release of their mini-album, Black Moon Circle were already making plans for the future. This included recording their much-anticipated first full-length album. Black Moon Circle weren’t the type of band to let the grass grow under their feet, and the recording began in the spring of 2014.
Psychedelic space rockers Black Moon Circle returned to the studio in April 2014, where they began recording their debut album Andromeda. By then, Black Moon Circle had been together the best part of two years, and were tight band who were capable of seamlessly creating genre-melting music. Black Moon Circle worked quickly and efficiently, seamlessly creating genre-melting music. As a result, the five songs on Andromeda were recorded in one day. Six months later, and Andromeda was ready to be released.
Black Moon Circle’s sophomore album, Andromeda which showcased their psychedelic space rock sound was released to critical acclaim by Crispin Clover Records in October 2014. A great future was forecast for the Trondheim-based trio. They were already hatching a plan that sounded like something from the seventies, the golden age of rock.
The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky.
What Black Moon Circle had in mind was to release a trilogy of studio jams. This was something that harked back to the seventies, when rock was King. It seemed that this was Black Moon Circle’s way of paying homage to the golden age of rock which had influenced their music. Black Circle announced their intention to release a trilogy of studio jams in mid-2015. This was by far, the most ambitious project of Black Moon Circle’s career.
The first of the trilogy was The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky. Fittingly, for the first album in the trio’s trilogy, the album featured three tracks. One of the tracks was recorded during the first jam session in April 2013, while the other two tracks were recorded in 2014. These three tracks became The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky, which was the second album to showcase the hugely talented Trondheim trio, Black Moon Circle who were joined by Scott Heller a.k.a. Dr. Space who played synths.
Critics hailed The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky as the finest album of Black Moon Circle’s career. It features their unique brand of psychedelic space rock with elements of electronica, experimental music and free jazz added for good measure. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new and innovative. It’s cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and as Øyvin Engan says; “intense.”
This intensity is deliberate, and comes courtesy of the three members of Black Moon Circle. They deployed layers of fuzzy guitars, spacey, lysergic synths and a mesmeric rhythm section on The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula In The Sky. However, for their fourth album, Sea Of Clouds Black Moon Circle add two new ingredients to their successful musical formula.
Sea Of Clouds.
With The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula In The Sky recorded, but not yet released, Black Moon Circle’s thoughts turned to their fourth album. This wasn’t going to be another instalment in the Studio Jams’ series. Instead, what became Sea Of Clouds found Black Moon Circle changing direction slightly.
Having written four new tracks, the Trondheim based trio returned to the studio in June 2015. They were again joined by Scott Heller who played synths, while Magnus Kofoed played keyboards. During the course of just one day, Black Moon Circle recorded the four lengthy jams that became Sea Of Clouds which featured Øyvin Engan’s vocals. This was a stylistic departure for Black Moon Circle.
When Sea Of Clouds was released in April 2016, critics were won over by another album of Black Moon Circle’s hard rocking brand of psychedelic, space rock. Black Moon Circle revisit what’s by now a familiar sound, but one that combines elements of heavy metal, Krautrock, avant-garde, free jazz and post rock. Black Moon Circle have also drawn inspiration from Black Sabbath, Can, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Hawkwind, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, Moster, Motorpsycho, Radiohead and Yes. These disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new and innovative on Sea Of Clouds.
The music veered between dramatic, futuristic, moody, otherworldly and gloriously rocky. Sometimes, Sea Of Clouds finds Black Moon Circle at their hard rocking best, and features an intensity that has always been an intensity to Black Moon Circle’s music. It’s as much a part of Black Moon Circle’s music as the layers of fuzzy guitars, spacey, lysergic synths and futuristic sci-fi sounds. That was the case throughout Sea Of Clouds, which shows another side to space rock pioneers Black Moon Circle, who were already preparing to release the most accessible album of their career.
The Studio Jams Volume 2.
Seven months after the release of Sea Of Clouds, Black Moon Circle returned with their eagerly awaited fifth album, The Studio Jams Volume 2. It had been recorded in June 2015.
The Trondheim based trio returned were joined in the studio by Scott Helller a.k.a. Dr. Space on synths. Black Moon Circle recorded two epic tracks Serpent: The Head and Serpent: The Tail, which would become The Studio Jams Volume 2.
Just like previous albums, critical acclaim accompanied the release of The Studio Jams Volume 2. It found Black Moon Circle fusing the classic rock of the sixties and seventies with psychedelia and space rock. To this, Black Moon Circle add elements of avant-garde, electronica, experimental music, free jazz, Krautrock and post rock. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new, exciting and innovative. It’s also cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and features Black Moon Circle’s trademark intensity.
This intensity was deliberate, and has always been part of Black Moon Circle’s ‘sound’. To create this, they deploy layers of fuzzy guitars, spacey, lysergic, futuristic, sci-fi synths and a mesmeric rhythm section. Together, they create two “lengthy jams” which features “heavy riffage and the extensive use of effects.” They’re used extensively on The Studio Jams Volume 2, where Black Moon Circle reach new heights on what was the finest album of their career. The final instalment in The Studio Jams series had a lot to live up to.
Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
As 2016 drew to a close, Black Moon Circle celebrated releasing two successful albums during the year. The second of these albums, The Studio Jams Volume 2 had been hailed by critics as the finest album of Black Moon Circle’s career. This was something to celebrate. Already though, Black Moon Circle’s thoughts were turning to their next album, which would be the third and final instalment in The Studio Jams series. Although
The Studio Jams Volume 2 had set the bar high for the third and final instalment in The Studio Jams series Black Moon Circle welcomed the challenge, and were determined to reach new heights on their next album.
Earlier in 2017, Black Moon Circle returned to the studio complete The Studio Jams series. They planned to record two lengthy jams Barnard´s Loop and Waves. As usual, Øyvin Engan would play bass and guitar, while his brother Vemund added another layer of fuzzy guitars. Joining Øyvin Engan in the rhythm section was drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen who would provide the heartbeat. Completing Black Moon Circle’s lineup was the newest recruit, Scott Heller a.k.a. Dr. Space. The four musicians recorded Barnard´s Loop together, but when it came to record Waves, Black Moon Circle were joined by one of the legendary figures in Norwegian music, Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan a.k.a. Snah, who is Motorpsycho’s guitarist. With Snah onboard, Black Moon Circle recorded Waves which features on side two of Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
With Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension completed, Black Moon Circle recently released the album on Crispin Glover Records. The release of Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension marked the end an era, but Black Moon Circle had saved the best until last.
Opening Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension is Barnard´s Loop, a near twenty-five minute adventure in sound. Effects-laden guitars are unleashed, and take centre-stage, showcasing Black Moon Circle’s trademark ‘heavy riffage” Then as feedback briefly howls, the rhythm section add to the drama. Meanwhile synths unleash futuristic and otherworldly sounds as this uber rocky soundscape unfolds. Still the drama builds, as a vortex of sci-fi synths, blistering guitar riffs and the powerhouse of a rhythm section combine. They create a powerful and potent brew that Black Moon Circle have perfected over the past five years. By then, Black Moon Circle is in full flight and at their hard rocking best. Playing a leading role are the rhythm section who provide a thunderous, hypnotic heartbeat, while synths swirl, howl, bubble and provide a futuristic backdrop as searing, screaming and wah-wahing effects-laden guitars are unleashed. Later, the tempo rises as the rhythm section power the arrangement along. Still,the guitars steal the show with some fleet-fingered guitar licks. They’re fast and furious and join sci-fi synths and the hard rocking rhythm section as Black Moon Circle prove rock is alive and well, and in safe hands on this Magnus Opus.
With Motorpsycho’s guitarist Snah onboard, Waves becomes a twenty-six minute roller coaster. Guitars reverberate and feedback briefly howls, before machine gun guitars are unleashed at breakneck speed. They’re joined by swirling sci-fi synths and the rhythm section who drive the hard rocking soundscape along. It’s a glorious fusion of blues-rock, hard rock, avant-garde, improv and psychedelic space rock, and before long Black Moon Circle’s expanded lineup is in full flight. Snah’s addition means a wall of searing, screaming and screeching guitars assail the listener. The guitars play a leading role and are played with speed and accuracy. Augmenting the guitars is the hard rocking rhythm section and sci-fi synths. Later, the guitars become fuzzy as effects are deployed as Black Moon Circle draw breath. No longer are they in full flight, as the rhythm section provide a mesmeric backdrop as this lysergic soundscape meanders along. Buzzes, beeps, squeals and sci-fi sounds are emitted, and effects are deployed as Black Moon Circle create an atmospheric and futuristic backdrop. Even when a guitar roars, Black Moon Circle resist the temptation to kick out the jams. Instead, this epic soundscape heads in the direction of post-rock as it becomes moody, dramatic, futuristic and ruminative as if Black Moon Circle is creating the soundscape to a film documenting the post-Trump apocalypse.
It’s fitting that Black Moon Circle have saved Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension until last in their critically acclaimed Studio Jamms’ trilogy. Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension is, without doubt, the best instalment in Black Moon Circle’s Studio Jamms’ trilogy. It’s also the best album of Black Moon Circle’s career, and finds the band reaching new heights on Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
Black Moon Circle seem to mature like a fine wine, as each album surpasses the one that preceded it. That is the case on Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension which was recently released by Crispin Glover Records. It’s another genre-melting opus where Black Moon Circle fuse psychedelic space rock with avant-garde, Berlin School, electronica and experimental music, Krautrock, post rock and progressive rock. The classic rock of sixties and seventies has also influenced Black Moon Circle during the final instalment in the Studio Jamms’ trilogy, Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension. So has sixties psychedelia, and the unholy trinity of hard rock Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin plus Pink Floyd, Can, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Hawkwind, Henry Cow, Iron Maiden, Motorpsycho and Radiohead. All these influences can be heard on Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension which features sonic pioneers Black Moon Circle at their very best.
The two epic soundscapes on Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension find Black Moon Circle in full flight at their hard rocking best. However, the soundscapes are also dark, dramatic, ethereal, futuristic, moody, otherworldly and ruminative. They’re also lysergic and cinematic, which has long been a feature of Black Moon Circle’s music. Especially, on Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, which is the final instalment in Black Moon Circle’s Studio Jamms’ trilogy. This marks the end of a chapter in Black Moon Circle’s career.
When Black Moon Circle return with their next album in early 2018, they’ll be a five piece band. The newest recruit is Magnus, who plays organ, mellotron and Fender Rhodes which the rest of Black Moon Circle believe will fill out and complete their sound, as they embark on a new chapter in their career.
Closing this chapter in the Black Moon Circle is the finest album and hardest rocking album of their five-year career, Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension. It’s another ambitious and genre-melting adventure in sound with Black Moon Circle. Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension is also a reminder that the future of rock is in the safe hands of pioneering and hard rocking psychedelic space rockers Black Moon Circle, as they prepare to embark upon yet another journey into sound.
Black Moon Circle-Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
Live Photos Courtesy of Thor Egil Leirtrø.
- Posted in: Avant Garde ♦ Berlin School ♦ Experimental ♦ Free Jazz ♦ Krautrock ♦ Nordic Wave ♦ Psychedelia ♦ Rock ♦ Space Rock
- Tagged: Andromeda, Øyvin Engan, Black Moon Circle, Crispin Glover Records, Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, Snah, Vemund Engan