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Forest continues Circle's "difficult" period (a two or three album departure from their tongue-in-cheeky "New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal" self-branding) with a four-song collection that could best be described as Circle's "blues" album. But, as is always the case with these Finnish sonic pranksters, blues is only a term to define the jumping off point: from there, the band goes where only Circle dare tread. The aggressive Krautrock rhythms have been jettisoned in favor of a more gentle propulsion of percolating keyboards and acoustic guitar playing their familiar circular patterns, and the unintelligible quasi-metal vocals have been replaced with English-language, blues-derived utterings that call to mind the stream of consciousness improvs of Malcolm Mooney from Can, one of the bands to have the largest influence on the Circle motif. Riding in on a slow, low drone, opener "Havuportti" is almost an ambient track for the first couple minutes, but the musique concrète element finally subsides enough to admit a faerie folk rhythm of exotic percussion, hypnotic bass plucking, distant synth swells, and vocals ranging from guttural chants to distorted gurgling that evoke the mystical woodland setting of the album's title, meandering on for nearly 13 minutes before dissolving into the ether. The second track, "Luikertelevat Lahoavat," begins with a repetitious blues riff augmented by primitive percussion (bongos and beer bottles?) and noodley sci-fi keys, until monk-like chanting and more of the free-form bluesman ramblings hijack the proceedings. The same demented blues rants continue on through "Ydinaukio," where the narrator laments his lost loves, "the booze and the chemical tools" over Mississippi Delta-via-Lapland guitar passages, synth squiggles, and rudimentary percussion. And the album closes with "Jäljet," which spends its first three minutes as a patient (and patience-testing) study in found-sound collage and avant-garde abstraction which literally accelerates into the album's most compelling track, a summation of all that came before and a re-introduction of the singular Circle Motorik groove. To those more familiar with Circle's "speedkraut" format, this album might be a bit inaccessible, but in the context of the band's entire oeuvre it's merely a brief diversion. To quote the band's official bio, "Since a strong belief in the divine nature of making mistakes informs the project, there have been many stylistic detours, digressions and fecund tributaries to follow during this musical odyssey, but the basic pulse and impulse have always remained."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 12:40 SpotifyAmazon
2 9:11
3 6:16 SpotifyAmazon
4 17:52 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick