In 2004, Savannah based experimental post-hardcore group Circle Takes the Square turned the scene on its ear with the release of their critically heralded, ferocious debut full-length, As the Roots Undo; Seven years later, the band has made their long-awaited return to the studio to record their highly anticipated follow-up, Decompositions Volume 1, which they will self-release this fall on their newly formed label Gatepost Recordings.
Since the release of As the Roots Undo, Circle Takes the Square have been far from idle. In 2007, dueling vocalists and core members Drew Speziale (vocals/guitars) and Kathleen Stubelek (vocals/bass) recruited former Mare drummer Caleb Collins and longtime friend David Rabitor as the second guitarist to round out their current lineup. Following a tour with Thursday and Portugal the Man, the band posted a live demo of new material online which sparked rumors of a new album. Although Speziale and Stubelek had a handful of new material they were inspired to forgo recording to explore new ideas with Collins and Rabitor.
“The process of creating Decompositions Volume 1 was lengthy and trying, to say the least, but ended up being an extremely educational and musically horizon-broadening experience- of particular value for a band that has always challenged itself and attempted to occupy a space beyond the bounds of its own limitations,” says Speziale. “The first phase of our songwriting sessions was to generate raw material in the form of short collections of riffs that we would jam together and organize into loose outlines for songs. We considered these to be “sketches”, and by the end of 2008 we had manifested the basic musical vocabulary that would define our evolving sound. Then, the task of structuring the final versions of the lengthy songs we were creating began. For the next year and a half we attempted to balance the important and demanding developments within our personal lives (three marriages, an engagement, and two of us relocating to another region of the country), while still working on our music and making as much progress as possible with our songs.”
Despite complicated logistics and personal demands, Circle Takes the Square finished writing Decompositions Volume 1 through intense, long-distance writing sessions and convened at Rockstudio on January 1, 2011 in Brunswick, GA with As The Roots Undo producer Anthony Stubelek to record the album.
“From the very beginning of the writing process, our mission statement was to comprehensively explore the musical themes that we were creating,” Speziale adds. “We set out to build upon the stylistic foundation we had established with As the Roots Undo, but were determined to provide ourselves with the room to experiment, and try our hands at more repetition, variation and management of space in ways we hadn’t attempted before. We decided not to let song-length or other logistical limitations inhibit the sprawling arrangements we were crafting, and ventured to grant each individual idea within our multi-movement songs its own chance to meander and evolve: sometimes in linear ways, and sometimes within the framework of more traditional progressions. Our emphasis on fine-tuning, experimenting with, and expanding our approach to song structure enabled the creation of the three fully-arcing, musical story-lines that will make up Decompositions Volume I (which has a running time of 50-plus minutes).”
Circle Takes the Square will reconvene the first week of April for their next studio session. Keep track of the progress and news about Decompositions Volume 1 on the band’s blog (http://ritualofnames.blogspot.com/), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Circle-Takes-the-Square/55315444310) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/circletweets).
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