Release Date: Jun 24, 2014
Record label: Cloud Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
1. So, musical parallels. Take Broadcast and The Focus Group’s Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age, which frames songlets within droplets and shards of noise, blur, hiss, and smother, occasionally resolving into a direction (i.e., a momentum that’s outwards, not inwards), before parting back again into the miasma of someone else’s trip. This is like that, but it also isn’t.
Not quite halfway through Mosaics Within Mosaics, Circulatory System ringleader Will Cullen Hart delivers this cryptic little chestnut: "Funny how long it's been for the young rocks on the shore. " Circulatory System—Hart and most of the rest of the much-beloved Olivia Tremor Control, minus the late, great Bill Doss—have always seemed like a band in the loosest sense of the term, touring infrequently and recording sporadically. And frontman Hart's multiple sclerosis—and the attendant bouts of exhaustion—have further affected their output: "I want to write more songs," he told an interviewer last year, "but I get sleepy and go to sleep.
Whether working with Olivia Tremor Control or Circulatory System, psychedelic songwriter Will Hart has always embraced a fragmented approach to pop music. His records were often broken up into short chunks of Beatles-inspired melodies, airy chamber pop, and found-sound samples weaving together like tiny patches into a larger audio quilt. Studio albums were often supplemented with companion pieces that strung together audio collages of remixed material, demos, and scraps not used in the proper albums.
Will Cullen Hart’s music has always felt like chasing the White Rabbit down his hole, though perhaps a sedated version of the cartoon bunny. The Elephant 6 co-founder’s whimsical, busy mind is always half a step out of reach, and he keeps up the pace with plenty of psychedelic shape-shifting. Whether with The Olivia Tremor Control or later with Circulatory System, Hart takes bits and pieces of fragile psychedelic pop, field recordings, sound experiments, and more, then pieces them together into an adorable jigsaw puzzle at the end of that trek, or perhaps after catching the title of Circulatory System’s new album, a mosaic.
For two decades, W. Cullen Hart of Athens, Georgia, has been one of indie rock's great psychedelic visionaries – recording two cult-classic LPs with the Olivia Tremor Control in the Nineties, then plunging even deeper into the dream with this band starting in 2001. Circulatory System's third proper album, their best since their debut, is a leisurely suite where kaleidoscopically sweet vocal melodies and folky instrumentation drift in and out of focus, occasionally resolving into songs that you'll swear you've been humming for years ("Do You Know What's Real?" "Elastic Empire Coronation").
W. Cullen Hart's latest Circulatory System LP—a collage of Beatles-eque pop experiments and other sound scraps—offers a handful of inspired snippets mired in too much sluggish, avant-garde muck. Highlights include the whimsical "Aerial View of a Heart (From Above)" and "If You Think About It Now"—this project works best when Hart is dabbling in Sgt.