Boomkat Product Review:
Not a great deal is known about Nine CIrcles, one of the more obscure bands from the early 80's New Wave scene. The group formed in 1980 by the Dutch duo (and couple) Lidia Fiala and Peter Van Garderen and went on to produce a small handful of recordings that have gone on to exert a disproportionately large influence on crate diggers and followers of the Minimal Wave scene.
This collection brings together some of those rare recordings and early versions alongside a hitherto unreleased radio session from 1982 - and really is one of the most impressive discoveries from the era we've heard yet. It's hard to wade through the seemingly endless number of Synth/Wave reissues doing the rounds these last few years without wondering whether some of the material would have been better left consigned to posterity - especially when archival imprints like Minimal Wave and Vinyl on Demand do such a good job unearthing, licensing and repackaging the good stuff, but this one here really is a little bit special. Underpinned by the unmistakable DR-55, alongside minimal analog delay and bass accompaniments, plus Lidia's remarkable vocal and endlessly inventive synthlines, listening through the 20 tracks here it's perplexing how this material isn't better known.
The standout "What's There Left" is just a perfect dystopian anthem, slightly depressive/detached art-pop that's really as good as some of the biggest tracks of the era, while "The Rose" sounds like a proto-version of Depeche Mode's "Something to Do" with a synth arrangement that in hindsight could almost be described as Drexciyan. "Looking For" is one of the oddest and most forward tracks included - all minor chords and unusual vocals (by Van Garderen this time), it reminds us of everything from early Human League to Matias Aguayo's Closer Musik - but is ultimately impossible to place.
Highly recommended to followers of the era still on the lookout for the special stuff.