BLACK MOON CIRCLE-THE STORY SO FAR.
Black Moon Circle-The Story So Far.
Just seven years ago, brothers Øyvin and Vemund Engan founded the psychedelic space rock band Black Moon Circle, and since then, this talented band from Trondheim, in Norway, have released seven albums. Not many bands average an album a year, but not many bands have the talent that Black Moon Circle have. Their story begins seven years ago.
The Black Moon Circle story began in the city of Trondheim, in Norway, in 2012, when brothers Øyvin and Vemund Engan decided to form their own band. It was a case of needs must, after the demise of their previous band, the Trondheim-based punk rock group The Reilly Express, where the Engan brothers served their musical apprenticeship. With The Reilly Express now consigned to musical history, the Engan brothers decided to form a new band, which would allow them to head in a new direction musically.
In The Beginning.
Having made the decision to form a new group, which the Engan brothers named it Black Moon Circle, which was going to play psychedelic space rock. Øyvin would play bass, guitar and take charge of vocals, while his brother Vemund would also play 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, and now Black Moon Circle could begin to hone their sound.
After spending time honing their sound, gradually, Black Moon Circle’s trademark sound started to evolve. Initially, it was a combination of lengthy jams, searing guitar riffs and a myriad of effects added to the bass and guitar. This was Black Moon Circle’s now unique brand of described as psychedelic space rock, which soon found 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. While they were the newest addition to Norway’s thriving and vibrant and thriving psychedelic space rock scene, their music soon started to find a receptive and appreciative audience. That came as no surprise.
It wasn’t just that that Black Moon Circle was a talented band whose popularity was growing, but by then, space rock’s popularity was growing all over 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.
Although Black Moon Circle had been together less than a year, they had already decided to record a mini album at Nautilus Studios. Black Moon Circle recorded three tracks Plains, American Eagle and Enigmatic Superbandit, which would mark the debut of the Trondheim-based psychedelic space rockers.
The mini album Black Moon Circle was released as a limited edition of 300 in February 2014 by Space Rock Productions, the label run by the Øresund Space Collective from Copenhagen, Denmark. 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, and this included recording their much-anticipated debut 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.
When Psychedelic space rockers Black Moon Circle returned to the studio in April 2014, they had been together the best part of two years, and were already a tight band who were capable of seamlessly creating genre-melting music. Black Moon Circle worked quickly and efficiently, recording the five songs on Andromeda in just one day. Six months later, and Andromeda was ready to be released.
Black Moon Circle’s debut album, Andromeda which showcased their psychedelic space rock sound was released to plaudits and praise by Crispin Clover Records in October 2014. Critics forecast a great future for the Trondheim-based trio, who 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.
Black Moon Circle had decided to release a trilogy of albums featuring studio jams, which 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. In mid-2015, Black Circle announced their intention to release a trilogy of studio jams, which was by far, the most ambitious project of their career.
The first of the trilogy was The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky, where Black Moon Circle were joined in the studio by Scott Heller a.k.a. Dr. Space who played synths on the album. It was released in August 2015, and was the start of a new era for Black Moon Circle.
Critics hailed The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky as Black Moon Circle’s as finest hour as they fused psychedelic space rock with elements of electronica, experimental music and free jazz. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new and innovative that was cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and as Øyvin Engan says: “intense.” However, for their third album, Sea Of Clouds, Black Moon Circle added 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 next album, which wasn’t going to be another instalment in the Studio Jams’ series. Instead, Black Moon Circle changed direction slightly on Sea Of Clouds.
When Black Moon Circle recorded Sea Of Clouds in June 2015, they were again joined by Scott Heller who played synths, while new guest artist Magnus Kofoed played keyboards. During the course of just one day, Black Moon Circle recorded the four lengthy jams that became Sea Of Clouds.
When Sea Of Clouds was released, critics were won over by another album of hard rocking, psychedelic space rock that was futuristic, moody, otherworldly and featured Black Moon Circle’s trademark intensity. Sea Of Clouds was a carefully crafted fusion of avant-garde, free jazz, heavy metal, Krautrock and post rock which had been inspired by Black Sabbath, Can, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Hawkwind, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, Moster, Motorpsycho, Radiohead and Yes. All these bands had influenced Sea Of Clouds, which was another ambitious and innovative offering from the expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle, who were about to record 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 fourth album, The Studio Jams Volume 2. It had been recorded in June 2015 by Black Moon Circle who were joined by Scott Heller a.k.a. Dr. Space on synths
Just like previous albums, critical acclaim accompanied the release of The Studio Jams Volume 2, which 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 one on another album of ambitious, exciting and innovative music. It’s also cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and features Black Moon Circle’s trademark intensity. However, The Studio Jams Volume 2 was also Black Moon Circle’s most accessible album, and was the perfect introduction to the Trondheim based musical pioneers, who were about to square the circle.
The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
This came when the four members of Black Moon Circle entered the studio early in 2017, to record the last instalment in their trilogy of Studio Jams, which featured two epic jams. When the time came to record the album closer Waves, Black Moon Circle were joined by Hans Magnus Ryan a.k.a Motorpsycho’s guitarist Snah.
With Snah onboard, the expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle ensured that the Studio Jams’ trilogy ended on a high with a genre-melting opus. Black Moon Circle took psychedelic space rock as a starting point, and added elements of avant-garde, Berlin School, blues rock, classic rock, electronica and experimental music, improv, Krautrock, post rock and progressive rock to the two epic jams on The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension. Black Moon Circle had saved the best until last instalment until last on their Studio Jams’ trilogy
By the time Black Moon Circle released The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, the band had already recorded their next album Psychedelic Spacelord. It had been recorded during what Øyvin Engan described as “a spaced out session in March 2017” by an expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle.
Joining the core lineup of Black Moon Circle was keyboardist Magnus Kofoed, who had previously featured on Sea Of Clouds. Magnus Kofoed returned and played Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, Hammond organ on Psychedelic Spacelord. Øresund Space Collective violinist Jonathan Segel was the other guest artist who joined Black Moon Circle when they were recording their sixth full-length album. Later, vocals were overdubbed onto Psychedelic Spacelord, and added what was finishing touch to this much-anticipated album.
Psychedelic Spacelord is a much-anticipated album, with critics and record buyers wondering what the future holds for Black Moon Circle in the post Studio Jams era? However, what nobody expected was for Black Moon Circle to return with an album that features one epic track that lasts forty-six magical minutes, and is spread over two sides of vinyl and the CD that accompanies the LP. Quite simply, Psychedelic Spacelord is the most ambitious album of Black Moon Circle’s career and is the perfect way to begin the post Studio Jams era.
Psychedelic Spacelord was the first album of the post Studio Jams era. It finds the expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle sounding better than they’ve ever sound, and rocking harder than ever on Psychedelic Spacelord which is a very different album to everything that has gone before.
There’s only one track on Psychedelic Spacelord, albeit last forty-six incredible minutes where psychedelic space rockers take the listeners on a magical mystery tour as this genre-melting track reveals its secrets. Although psychedelic space rock is the basis for Black Moon Circle’s music, they also combine elements of avant-garde, blues rock, classic rock, electronica, experimental music, heavy metal, improv, Krautrock and post rock on Psychedelic Spacelord, which is a musical roller coaster. During the forty-six minutes the music veers between dark and dramatic, to atmospheric, cinematic and futuristic as sci-fi sounds assail the listener before the music becomes anthemic and uplifting and other times, lysergic, trippy and for much of the time hard rocking. Indeed, Psychedelic Spacelord features Black Moon Circle at their hard rocking best.
Freak Out In The Fjord.
Nearly a year after releasing Psychedelic Spacelord, Black Moon Circle return with Freak Out In The Fjord their collaboration with Øresund Space Collective. The story begins on Friday the 17th November 2017, when Black Moon Circle and Øresund Space Collective were booked to play a show in Trondheim, Norway billed as Freakout in the Fjord, where they were joined on the bill by the local band, Red Mountains. This was the perfect workout for Black Moon Circle and Øresund Space Collective who left the show to a standing ovation and were perfectly prepared for the recording session that was about to take place the next day.
On Saturday 18th November 2017, Black Moon Circle and Øresund Space Collective were booked into one of Trondheim’s top studio where they were about to record a jam session. The two bands made their way to the Øra studio, where they began setting up their equipment, which took time. There was the small matter of three drum kits, two basses and two guitars in the rhythm section alone. Drums, basses and guitars were positioned right and left, just like the recording for the recording of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. The rhythm section was augmented by a modular synth, Fender Rhodes and Oberheim synth. When the equipment was setup. Black Moon Circle and Øresund Space Collective worked their way through four tracks lasting two incredible hours.
The four genre-melting jams were recorded by recording engineer Magnus Koefod, who watched on as Black Moon Circle and Øresund Space Collective open the album with the futuristic, rocky, psychedelic and dubby Rendezvous In The Nebula where heavy riffs are the order of the day. It gives way to the Miles Davis inspired Afterglow In The Sea Of Sirens to Dinner With Greg A and Jerry G which pays homage to the Grateful Dead. Closing this two hour genre-jumping and melting journey is Freak Out In The Fjord which is a tour de force of heavy space rock. With that, Black Moon Circle and Øresund Space Collective take a well deserved bow on their first, and hopefully not their last collaboration.
Just a year after their career defining opus Psychedelic Spacelord, which was a reminder of the golden age of rock, when hard rocking groups like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin were among the most successful bands in the world, Black Moon Circle make a welcome return.
They were joined by Øresund Space Collective on Freak Out In The Fjord, where they drive each other to even greater heights. The two bands fuse disparate musical genres including classic rock, fusion, jazz, Krautrock, psychedelic rock and space rock on the genre-melting collaboration Freak Out In The Fjord. Billed as OSC Meets BMC, the two pioneering groups unleash their own brands of innovative and inventive music on Freak Out In The Fjord, which draws inspiration and pays homage to some of the legends of music. These influences can be heard throughout Freak Out In The Fjord.
Black Moon Circle’s story began seven years ago, and since then, has seen Trondheim’s finest winning friends and influencing music lovers across Europe and beyond, with their inimitable, groundbreaking and genre-melting music.
Black Moon Circle-The Story So Far.
- Posted in: Avant Garde ♦ Electronic ♦ Experimental ♦ Free Jazz ♦ Improv ♦ Jazz ♦ Krautrock ♦ Prog Rock ♦ Psychedelia ♦ Rock ♦ Space Rock
- Tagged: Andromeda, Øresund Space Collective, Øyvin Engan, Black Moon Circle, Jonathan Segel, Magnus Kofoed, OSC Meets BMC, Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, Psychedelic Spacelord, Scott Heller, Sea Of Clouds, Space Rock Productions, The Studio Jams Volume 2, The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky, The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, Vemund Engan