Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe photographed live by Hillel Zavala in Bologna, Italy on October 14, 2013 at their sold out Locomotiv Club show part of their European co-headline tour together. See full photo set HERE.
SEE ALL RUSSIAN CIRCLES TOUR DETAILS HERE
Pre-Order a Russian Circles limited edition Dwarfcraft Devices “Eau Claire Thunder” Pedal
Wow, the pedals are all now SOLD OUT with a long waiting list - we did not realize how much you all would like these. Perhaps we will do another edition down the road.
The first and final tracks on post-metal band Russian Circles’ new album show what the band could be it wanted to conform to more conventional expectations for popular music.
The Chicago-based three piece is deliberately without a vocalist and its new album “Memorial” commences with an instrumental. The band reprises the song at the end of the album, but Gothic folk singer Chelsea Wolfe provides a buried melody that gives a taste of what the band would be if it followed a more traditional path.
“Memorial” is a darker affair than 2011’s “Empros” but it is not bleak. Now, the drums are more in focus. Textural guitars work on a scale that suggests mountain landscapes and grey skies. The bass provides both counterpoint and drone, drenched in fuzz.
Russian Circles’ sounds come from guitarist Mike Sullivan, bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz. On “Memorial,” they augment their sound with strings, piano and electronics.
We’ve long been fans of Chicago instrumental trio Russian Circles, but their new album, Memorial, might just be our favorite release from them yet. Bleak, brutal and beautiful, it moves from blackened metal to haunting, ethereal layers on a compelling journey that offers a complete experience, rather than just a collection of strong songs.
It’s one of our favorite albums of 2013, so naturally, we wanted to probe the creative mind of their amiable guitarist Mike Sullivan on everything from mini amps to fully collaborating with a vocalist.
Your last album, Empros, had its dark moments, but there are parts on Memorial that are a whole new shade of black for the band. What was the mindset for this album compared to its predecessor?
"Once we finished Empros we were terrified because we were worried how the album sounded with the fidelity limitations we were working with. While that album was written in the studio and changed around – and was my favourite record up to that point – we knew we could do better. We knew we could get better tones, better sounds, get our ideas across clearer. We thought that album was going to screw us; we were proud of the songs but we weren’t sure whether it came out the way we wanted it to be.
Seattle’s Line Out : Album Review and Interview with Brian Cook
The music of Russian Circles’ fifth album, Memorial, banks and pans through a series of cliffs and cliff dwellings. The release is out today on Sargent House, and its instrumental sonics could be soundtrack for an Andean condor searching the altitudes over a cathode tundra. Sections of stretched melodic stasis fall steeply into dives pulling massive distortion-washed G’s. Guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist/keyboardist/Stranger contributor Brian Cook adeptly rivet titanic emotive velocities to quieter movements of melancholy. Chelsea Wolfe guests, lending her expansed vocals to the title track. The album alternates fire/ice, high/low, living at times on the centrifuge of Turncrantz’s hi-hat, 16th note piston-code. Once Memorial begins, it’s hard to stop. The album ends and begins itself again, floating and careening with immense weight. Russian Circles, what an epic triangle they are. Brian Cook spoke from Birmingham, England.
How are you? What’s going on? I think you’re about to go to Germany. What are you thinking about?
Russian Circles “Memorial” available everywhere today - October 29, 2013
Chicago’s Russian Circles has been described as instrumental, metal and even post-rock but any characterization abandons the subtle nuances of their music between the loud and soft or the chaos and redemption. The new album Memorial, their fifth full length in total, captures this ideal even more so than before where the beauty lies in transition.
Ghettoblaster recently spoke with Russian Circles’ Mike Sullivan and Brian Cook about this new record, the music scene in Chicago and even how Step Brothers should have won an Oscar. This is what they said.
There seems to be a harder and more emotional edge on this album than previous Russian Circles works. Can you explain where your mindset was during the making of this record?
I don’t think there’s much to explain, really. We don’t write records with a preconceived notion of what we’re going to create. There are some minor variables that might be considered on the front end — in this instance I know there was some talk of emphasizing groove over technicality — but generally it’s just a matter of finding sounds that resonate with us at the time and I don’t think that’s something we can usually articulate.
Heavy “Bass” Interview with Brian Cook
Brian Cook is a name that should need little introduction, but for those that need it he is the bass man with acclaimed noise-mongers Russian Circles and is formerly the bass player with Botch and These Arms Are Snakes. Alongside this already impressive musical CV, Brian has also contributed to recordings by Mouth Of The Architect and Mamiffer.
Many will be well aware of Russian Circles - A true tour de force of musical power. The wall of sound that comes from 3 men on a stage is rarely rivaled by what Russian Circles are capable of. Dark, brooding, ambient, but crushing and at times, truly devastating.Check out Russian Circles live:
- How long have you been playing bass, how did you get started and why is the bass your instrument of choice?
ADVANCE: Full Album Stream “Memorial” now live
Russian Circles “Memorial” is now streaming in full on Pitchfork’s Advance a week before release date HERE and features a slide show of photographs by Ryan Russell.
All vinyl and cd pre-orders of Memorial from the bands store are shipping immediately. To order go HERE.
Russian Circles are on TOUR in EUROPE NOW - see all shows here
US Tour to be announced in the next few weeks…
Russian Circles live in Linz, Austria at Posthof - October 13, 2013
All Photos by: Christoph Thorwartl
See all show pictures here
Russian Circles are on tour now - See All tour Dates Here
Memorial live from Prague featuring Chelsea Wolfe.. Metal Sucks reflects
Russian Circles and guest vocalist Chelsea Wolfe recently performed the title track from the band’s new album, Memorial, and it sounded so beautiful that I wept as though I were Dave Mustaine in a therapy session with Lars Ulrich.
Russian Circles and guest vocalist Chelsea Wolfe recently performed the title track from the band’s new album, Memorial, and it sounded so beautiful that I wept as though I had invested in the film Through the Never.
Varied textures and technical proficiency are just about as common as a big chap grunting into a microphone in the modern metal world, but Chicagoan’s Russian Circles continue to break new ground. Over four previous albums they’ve stretched the boundaries of the genre and molded it as their own with some breathtaking arrangements and instrumental skill. Memorial adds further weight to their reputation.
You’ll again be wondering how the hell the bludgeoning sounds of Deficit could be created by a mere three piece while 1777’s juddering drums and contorted guitar turns the track into a genuine thrill ride. Soft cooing guest vocals from dark ambient chanteuse Chelsea Wolfe shouldn’t belong here at all, but not only do they work, the music adapts around them, and as the title track slinks to a close you could be forgiven for thinking a Mazzy Star number has been popped on by mistake. But that certain je ne sais quoi remains Russian Circles’ overall strength. [Stu Lewis]
Russian Circles start their European tour on 12th October 2013, keep up to date with all their shows here.
Russian Circles & Chelsea Wolfe European tour starts October 12th - Memorial Video of the Tour Poster printing
Sargent House presents: Russian Circles & Chelsea Wolfe on tour together in Europe. Each band will be playing full length sets both in support of their new albums “Memorial" and "Pain Is Beauty”. Above is a video of the silk screen poster process of the making of their European tour posters (available in limited numbers on tour only). Designed by Error Design with music by Russian Circles featuring Chelsea Wolfe on vocals from the album’s title track “Memorial”.
See All RUSSIAN CIRCLES SHOW DETAILS HERE
RUSSIAN CIRCLES, CHELSEA WOLFE — EU 2013 TOUR
Oct 12, 2013 — Prague, CZ @ Meet Factory
Oct 13, 2013 — Linz, AT @ Posthof
Oct 14, 2013 — Bologna, IT @ Locomotiv Club
Oct 15, 2013 — Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
Oct 16, 2013 — Fribourg, CH @ Fri-son
Oct 18, 2013 — Barcelona, ES @ Apolo
Oct 19, 2013 — Madrid, ES @ Shoko Live
Oct 20, 2013 — Porto, PT @ Amplifest
Oct 21, 2013 — Bilbao, ES @ Kafe Antzokia
Oct 23, 2013 — Paris, FR @ Divan Du Monde
Oct 24, 2013 — Brighton, UK @ The Haunt
Oct 25, 2013 — Manchester, UK @ Gorilla
Oct 26, 2013 — Glasgow, UK @ SWG3
Oct 27, 2013 — Dublin, IRE @ Button Factory
Oct 29, 2013 — London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
Oct 30, 2013 — Gent, BE @ Vooruit
Oct 31, 2013 — Karlsruhe, DE @ Jubez
Nov 1, 2013 — Utrecht, NI @ Tivoli de Helling
Nov 2, 2013 — Koln, DE @ Stollwerck
Nov 3, 2013 — Hamburg, DE @ Club Logo
Nov 5, 2013 - Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
Nov 6, 2013 — Helsinki, FIN @ Tavastia
Nov 7, 2013 — Oslo, NO @ Bla
Nov 8, 2013 — Gothenburg, SE @ Truckstop Alaska
Nov 9, 2013 — Copenhagen, DK @ KB18
Nov 10, 2013 — Berlin, DE @ C- Club
RUSSIAN CIRCLES ONLY
Nov 11, 2013 — Dresden, DE @ Beatpol
Nov 13, 2013 — Vienna, AT @ Szene
Nov 14, 2013 — Budapest, HU @ Durer Kert
Nov 15, 2013 — Belgrade, SR @ Club Fest
Nov 16, 2013 — Zagreb, HR @ Mochvara Club
Nov 17, 2013 — Munich, DE @ Feierwerk
Nov 19, 2013 — Moscow, RU @ B2
Nov 20, 2013 — St. Petersburg, RU @ Club Zal
Ghost Cult interview with Brian Cook about Memorial
For several years Chicago Post Metal instrumental act Russian Circles have been constantly charming us with their long winding complex compositions. With Memorial (Sargent House), their new album, they have taken a step in a different direction, moving from long epochs to shorter numbers that swing between the two extremes of emotion blended in their sound. Ghost Cult decided to have a chat with bassist Brian Cook.
What was the process of creation for this new album like, was it different from earlier albums?
In some ways, the creative process for this record was very similar to our older records. Mike wrote a bunch of parts, he and Dave worked out some arrangements, they sent me some rough recordings, then we all jammed together and totally reworked the songs. Over the course of the last several records we learned that we like to have enough time in the studio to make changes to the songs once we hear them back, so we allotted ourselves plenty of studio time so that we could make the inevitable edits. The process was different this time around in that we all knew how malleable the material was. We knew that things would take a different shape in the studio. One could say that we were less prepared for Memorial than any of our other albums, but I think the more appropriate assessment would be that we were just way more flexible with the material we had on hand. The songs changed dramatically in the studio—more so than on past records.