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The Circular Ruins and Off the Sky "We All Fall Down"
A wonderful collaboration between two of the genre's brightest stars!

As any fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups will tell you, sometimes an unlikely combination will yield wonderful results. And one can't help but think about Reese's Peanut Butter Cups when one considers "We All Fall Down", a collaborative release by Anthony Paul Kerby of The Circular Ruins, and Jason Corder of Off the Sky. Kerby is well known for lush and full environments of sound, while Corder is more glitchy and abrupt in his approach. Stylistically those don't seem like very compatible sounds, but in the hands of such talented artists as these, it proves to be very successful. "We All Fall Down" is an absolutely fabulous release that brings together two very distinct talents to create something new and beautiful.

"5000 Visions" opens the disc with vaguely glitchy, irregular snatches and bursts of sound overtop a steadily building pad. It's the sound of many voices and it sets the tone well for what is to follow.

Track two, "Your Unknown Hand", has a very fluid feeling to it, hydraulic tones intertwining through eachother, swirling around in a bubbling cauldron of sound. This is the sort of beauty that I associate with more glitchy musical forms, a chilled robotic music that is shiny and brilliant.

Throughout "This Final Place" a quivering melody blends in with a variety of processed sounds and tones, rising and falling patterns of noise and steam. Are those voices in the distance? It's too hard to tell...

The title track "We All Fall Down" has an air of largeness, a feeling of size and drama, a soundtrack to the biggest Hollywood epics all put together in a blender to create an appealing smoothie of sound. Tones drift through, rising to the surface and falling, and it's all quite beautiful.

"Giving to you" has snippets and elements of lounging and lazing chill, the suggestion of coolsville before jeteeing back to the known. A single beat here, a bass pulse there, it all reminds me of the best clubs in town if only for a second. By contrast it leads directly into "Hide and Seek", with choked sounds rising and falling through the ether to be stifled and brought down again. It's quite a contrast, but it works well in this case, a testimony to the talents of the artists involved.

Track seven, "Running After Rainbows", is a pulse driven piece that swirls and echoes around itself, percolating and shimmering, very nice. In a similar vein, "Through Solid Shadows" is a space-y synth driven piece, with irregular bell tones and steam sounds mingling with voices and sounds overtop a steadily evolving series of pads.

"Burn For Those Who Are Silent" features a series of melodically used pads, metallic sounds shining and sweeping throughout. About halfway through a horn flourish breaks the stillness, creating a sense of drama and movement. It's a moving track, very emotional.

"Some Final Things" returns us to space, the sound of static and lost radio transmissions. Tones vibrate throughout and there's a very lonely drift, the sound of isolation and lonelieness. It's kind of tragic in it's beauty, the sound of lonely moons and other satellites orbiting dead worlds and lost dreams...

"And then I remember" follows with sound rising up from the waves, climbing up through memory and thought towards the clarity of the tangible. A pneumatic pulse gains clarity and a pad sails around the soundfield. A wonderful blend of sounds and ideas in this one.

"Unlike Any Other" returns to a more glitchy approach to the disc, bringing us round full circle to the beginning again. A blend of the irregular and the beautiful, pulsing and humming and padding and sweeping.

"Lasting Impression" closes the disc, a summation of ideas, a final conclusion to a musical essay. It's an interesting mixture of sounds, an appealing closer. Glitch and ambience and rising tones and more, very impressive and a succinct summary of everything that has gone before on the disc.

Clearly "We All Fall Down" is a very strong release by two very distinct voices who have blended together to form a powerful new voice. The Circular Ruins and Off the Sky are an inspired collaboration and a pairing that works on a number of levels, much like peanut butter and chocolate. And much like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, when the disc is over I want to hear more. I very much hope that this is the first of many collaborations between Kerby and Corder. And in the meantime I will savour the greatness of this release.

rik - ping things

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last updated 05/22/11