Review Summary: Russian Circles creates instrumental music that you can sing on this album. Every song is a masterpiece of its own with little flaws. There just a three piece band but have some of the most creative music around
Russian Circles band out of Chicago whose music is difficult to compare to. Its soft and soothing then explodes to create some of the most intense sounds that you can imagine making it difficult not to tap your foot or bob your head to the complex beats that Dave Turncrantz is creating on his 4 piece drum set. Colin DeKuiper, playing bass is not just a instrument to provide a mimicry of the guitar just in a lower octave, it’s a crucial tool to there music, and has many moments of lead instrument. You can hear the bass in every song and the songs would be completely different songs without the bass. This is not the case in many bands such as Metallica, where you cannot even tell if the bass is playing. Talking about the drums and the bass is just one side of the story. The other side is the guitarist Mike Sullivan who has more creativity in this guitar and loop pedal than you could find in a modern orchestra. You listen to this music and you assume that they have two or three guitar players but when you finally see them live you realize that its actually just one long haired little man wearing a hat.
Russian Circles is:
Colin DeKuiper - Bass
Dave Turncrantz - Drums
Mike Sullivan – Guitar
These three people was the band who introduced me to instrumental music. Since then I have expanded to find many different styles and genres of instrumental music but I can never compare them to Russian Circles. They are there own style of music that is hard to follow because of the creativity, which cannot be taught. The pure talent of every member of this and also is a joy to watch and listen to. The drumming is the best I have seen live. Putting a light behind his bass and a fan below him to create a crazy look of hair flying and lightened drum set. He brings so much energy to the music that it makes you want to watch this till you cannot keep your eyes open. The use of his high-hat is purely one of the best things I have ever seen. In the song Death Rides A Horse near the end is a simple drum solo which explodes into an intense breakdown ending the song. This minute of madness is one of the greatest moments in there music. It is the 2nd shortest song on the album being only 5:46 but is one of the best instrumental songs I have ever herd. It uses dissonance and consonance perfectly and makes your heart skip a beat. In songs like Carpe, which is the first song on the album, Mike Sullivan taps almost throughout the entire songs. He uses a loop pedal so there are also other melodies but for the most part it is tapping. you think of metal instrumental bands like Russian Circles or pelican to just have long breakdowns as individual songs, but Russian circles creates something even better as shown in Carpe. There are no vocals but singing would ruin it anyway. You think of Post-Rock as slow music which eventually builds up to intensity, and this is almost an example of that, but it uses complexity instead of intensity. Yes, the end of this song is just a few power chords with a tremolo guitar in the background but the drums are going a mile a minute. He uses every part of his drum set equally and creates a magic sound. Only having a single bass pedal you expect nothing special but he does not need a double-pedal to make heavy beates. The songs Micah and Enter are the typical Post-Rock song but much heavier than bands like Explosions In the Sky, or Mogwai. You occasionally hear the clean reverb guitar but for the most part its overdriven tapping or heavy power chords creating this sound. Micah starts and ends with the same guitar melody but with different effects on the guitar, and the drums are added to create a masterful beat in the outro. There is little tapping in Micah, just many different chord progressions
The drumming creates fills that you just sit and wait for in a song. When you know a song on this album front to back you anticipate these drum fills between the guitar and bass rhythms. The same also happens with tapping or hammer-on fills by the guitarist. You can’t help yourself to sing with them when they arrive. Russian Circles being instrumental is probably the best thing for them. Vocals could kill this music and would most likely extend the songs to outrageous song lengths. They play music that you can sing. The usage of the tapping and dissonance is magical in a way. Every song flows to each other and there is not a bad song on the album. They go piece by piece like a puzzle. There is not keyboard player, no strings, just three guy’s play a major role in the band.