On their first release, this international trio (hailing from the US, UK and Switzerland) approach the world of electronic improvisation from an organic and synthetic perspective, with home made electronic instruments played live and then resampled in real time, where one artists output becomes another’s raw material. The trio of Django Voris, Moritz Wettstein, and PJ Normal do approach the world of krautrock with a different strategy than most, and the results are both dizzying and compelling.
Opener "Complacency and Wasps" starts up with bits of voice echoing around various software patches, along with a lost techno recording being put through the proverbial ringer. The beats and synths are present, but almost completely unrecognizable, and eventually are brought a bit more out into the opening, only to be shredded and replaced with digitally harvested '70s funk recordings. What resembles a heavily processed bit of scum guitar noise and electronic rhythms also appears amongst the other elements. There’s some music in here somewhere, but it’s not easy to find.
The bitcrushed rhythms and rattles that open "F8 Bit Waves" give a consistent rhythm to the piece that are constant, but have a distinctly brittle and grimy sound, like beats that have been buried for years and, once excavated, must be treated with the utmost care. A fragile analog drum machine and a broken Rhodes organ come in and duet later, but all retains a mechanical, frail quality, with the entire piece sounding like it was being heard through a long metal pipe. The title track uses enough old school drum machine loops and overt synth sounds to channel Kraftwerk, and the rhythms stay rather traditional throughout, even with the laptop skitterings and warmer synth pop elements arising.
The fragmented analog loops and polyrhtyjms of "Paris Gun" push the short track into almost a Latin jazz realm, with a decided lo-fi processed sound at the end. The long, 12+ minute "99% + 1% Space" channels in hollow ambiance and machine gun drum machine swells at first, but the entire piece resembles prog rock inspired ambiance for its initial moments, while the closing bits of heavily processed disco, electro, and pop music, among other genres, sounds more like the death throes of an mp3 player spitting out pieces of files before reaching its demise. The closing "Washed Up On Sure" keeps a steady disco thump throughout, even with a digital glitch sheen over it. The beat stays consistent, but all of the other instrumentation around it is intentionally messy.
It is definitely not an album in the traditional sense, but Murky Circuits is unified by that consistent feel of sound being created and immediately dissected digitally, crafting a style that really requires full attention to be truly appreciated, but with a sound that is compelling enough to warrant focus.