Mamiffer + Circle: Enharmonic Intervals (for Paschen Organs)

mamMamiffer & Circle have combined to create a joint production, Enharmonic Intervals (for Paschen Organ), a project which is experimental and completely different than what one would normally associate with the works of either Mamiffer or Circle separately, such as Mamiffer’s piano sketches or Circle’s metallic sound. This collaboration is largely lacking the characteristics that make these bands good separately and overall they should have just stuck with what they’re good at, thus maximizing their strengths together. The new production was meant to be experimental and minimalistic and while it’s possible to agree with the first part, ‘minimalism’ instead turned out as a complete lack of substance in several of the tracks. This void was instead filled with shrieks and noises, which seemed completely random and probably were as much of this was an improvisation recorded at a church in Circle’s hometown of Keski-Porin Kirkko, Finland. Enharmonic Intervals was recorded in a single day, which is about what you’d expect after hearing some of it, but at the same time it’s not clear whether this should be a positive or negative review since this album does have two strong points. “Tumulus” and “Vaso Luna” were melodic and unique, but the rest was simply boring or downright unpleasant.

The first your interest is captured, the tone is ominous and gloomy and the organs sound eerie and different. Soon high-pitched noises begin, some disturbing scratching sounds, and in case you missed the mood before this now evil laughter commences, just to make sure you got it. Now they begin screaming some gibberish, which continues throughout the rest of the track with a similar backdrop. The second track at first peaks one’s optimism, but listening longer the only optimism retained is that this would be a great track for anyone planning to organize a haunted house or trail this Halloween…but that’s about it and there’s a good reason why we only hear this stuff once a year in that setting. Later we hear slow steady drumming and Coloccia chanting some omens, with what sounds like the periodic slashing of a knife. At this point it’s easy to grow weary but then began the third and fourth tracks, which were more promising, more melodic, and substantial. However, these two were the exception to the rule and certainly not redeeming enough to save the album. The female vocals, which weren’t limited to shrieks of terror this time, should catch your attention for a moment and overall the mood is more contemplative and liturgical.

But as it is, the good stuff doesn’t last long and unfortunately the album finishes with a disaster named “Kakksonen 2 (Artemesia)”.  If you didn’t know this was a track playing on your computer, record player, or where have you, you’d never guess you weren’t hearing the scratching of nails down a chalkboard. It was painful, and this is meant literally; it will leave you with your ears throbbing and ringing. To throw in at least a little positivity this track comes highly recommend to anyone with a deer infestation in their yard because you’ll never see a live animal within a five mile perimeter of your home again.  The leaving take was that the tracks on this album are either good or bad with no grey area in between. It could have been better if Circle and Mamiffer utilized some of the signatures of their usual music, because while the intent of something avant-garde was good in principle, it would have been a greater success if they used their strengths to maximize them instead of tossing  all of that out to create this album. To sum it up in one word, “tolerable”, but hardly worth $23 for an LP. If they had stayed in the sauna of the Lehtisalo family cottage in Finland quite a bit longer to brainstorm and fine tune and it’s possible this would have had more potential.

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MAMIFFER + CIRCLE: Enharmonic Intervals (for Paschen Organs)
Score: 3 / 5

Written by Kristyna