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Circulatory System - Signal Morning

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Artist: Circulatory System

Album: Signal Morning

Label: Cloud Recordings

Review date: Sep. 16, 2009

Brevity is the soul of many things. Wit just crowds the limelight. And Signal Morningís most immediate quality is its length, or lack there of. Brevity itself isnít always a virtue, but when itís in the service of being conceptually and aesthetically manageable, it certainly is. There are sprawling artworks and massive musical projects that require time and energy and cognitive capital, but in many cases this sprawl can be a detriment to a piece of art, something that definitely hurts Olivia Tremor Controlís albums, as well as Will Cullen Hartís first Circulatory System LP.

Hartís tendency for protractedness most likely comes out of the kind of music he makes. Psyche-pop is a form driven by an internal contradiction, and the way OTC wrote their albums, as singular aesthetic experiences, there was always this tension between the Ďartierí elements and the elements that were pure fun. This isnít to say that sound collages arenít fun, but they tend to be more intellectual than visceral, and what popís always been good at is making anything visceral. Those OTC albums move from music to sounds to hybrids in a way thatís both disconcerting and completely natural. And over 60 or 75 minutes, it can grow wearying.

Signal Morning isnít radically different in content from any of Hartís other albums, but the fact that itís at least 20 minutes shorter makes it feel like something quite different: more ephemeral, more something that needs to be taken in immediately, not background music to catch here and there.

It seems trivial for album length to be the crux of what makes Signal Morning work, but with oneís attention less spread out, less diluted, Hartís musical strategy becomes that much more powerful. Itís the old showbiz adage: always leave Ďem wanting more.

By Andrew Beckerman

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