Reviews

Flange Circus


Haunting ‘Flange Circus’ new single ‘Diabolical Bird’
released 2/12 on Analogue Trash

Flange Circus play hauntronica – an unnerving concoction of electronics and the phantasmagorical. They are fascinated (some would say obsessed) with the absurd, the otherworldly, the strange, the supernatural, the spooked and the eerie. The resulting compositions are an edifying journey through soundscapes, field recordings, neo-kraut, drones, industrialism, horror soundtracks, and channelled samples.

Formed in 2012, and hailing from the environs of Manchester, Bury and New Mills, Flange Circus released their first EP, Ekranoplan, in July 2014 (then as a four-piece). The EP revealed the band’s diverse influences and styles, and introduced their now-renowned bizarre song titles, such as the epic glitch-rock of PUBC (Paper Shoes Vibing on Cat’s Piss’) and the ghoulish stomper, Pork Parade (In a Gold Lamé Suit).

In 2015, the band released their second EP, Overexposed. Named after the crash site of a USAF B-29 Superfortress in the Peak District near Bleaklow, on this release Flange Circus’ desire to chart and explore uncanny and bleak landscapes in sonic form began to materialise – particularly on the chilling and icy Disko Bay that honoured the bay of the same name in Greenland.

It was on their debut album, Abandoned Glow, released October 2017, that the band fully discovered their hauntronica sound. Across the 10 tracks (with titles such as Great Divisions, Homunculus Gardens and Moloch by the Sea) the band conjured everything from horror prog to sinister techno, supernatural cinematic bombast to ghostly drone, all-out fuzzed industrial stompers to unearthly krautrock.

The album left reviewers delightfully disturbed: “Erected from a labyrinth of grotesque and menacing sounds it exudes an almost constant sense of unease and at its most friendly sounds like some sort of gnarly late-night solo venture into psychedelics … [it’s a] bonkers release” (Echoes and Dust, 2018).

The second album from the band, Rural Eerie, released July 2020, marked an ambitious venture to explore the darker and sinister experiences of the countryside. A themed (don’t say concept) album of soundscapes, field recordings, and spoken word performances from poets and writers was the result.

Initially performed live to much acclaim at the Manchester Gothic Festival of 2019, with spoken word from the likes of Richard Skelton, Emily Oldfield, Helen Darby and Andrew Michael Hurley, the resulting album sought to unearth different ruralities – real, half-remembered, imagined, absent and present – and make us think differently about the countryside and banish the rural idyll.

The Folk Horror Revival (2020) website declared that “the album plays out as an inspiring, evocative, and at times mesmerizing tapestry of music, sound, spoken word, and poetry … This is an ambitious project, and the results are fantastic.” The album was also transformed into a short film by the band (and released on a limited-edition DVD) and was shown online as part of Repeater Radio’s K-Punk Marathon in honour of the late cultural critic Mark Fisher.

Flange Circus have performed in and around Manchester and Derbyshire (supporting English Heretic in Belper). Their live shows involve analogue electronics, haunting visuals, and (bird) masks, wherein they seek to both disorientate audiences and make them dance.

Spectral and illogical, weird and chimerical, Flange Circus wish to envelop you.

Flange Circus – It’s A Tree

Flange Circus – Mouldy Heels (intro)

Flange Circus links:
Band/Artist location – Manchester, UK
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