- Though the word "derivative" was never far from reviews of Circle Traps' debut EP, Fjord, the consensus seemed to be that the end product was so strikingly beautiful that it didn't matter. The Mount Kimbie comparisons will be out in force again here, and understandably so. Debts are also due to Four Tet's sparkling melodies and Burial's half-asleep atmospherics, but in Obelisk, the trio (two of whom also play in Portico Quartet) have another release capable of standing on its own merits.
All five tracks are built on seductive bass and various twinkling synth melodies. "Heatwave" lounges in a gorgeously sleepy blanket of drone. Its pretty synth chimes initially appear at such an unexpected moment that I initially suspected an Soundcloud/iTunes soundclash, but by the end the combination made perfect sense. "Open Cube" opts for more muted synths and distant-thunderclap percussion, while "Pop" is a squeaking two-minute rush of ambience. The title track blends cushioned beats with charming synth flourishes, and closer "Redshift" ratchets the starry synth squalls up further before settling into a driving pulse. Obelisk isn't wildly varied or original, but Circle Traps have again pulled off what they do with skill.
B1 Open Cube