New day at Cubist Castle?

The Olivia Tremor Control's offshoots and side-projects
By SIMON W. VOZICK-LEVINSON  |  June 6, 2006

Circulatory System

Back in the ‘90s, the retro psych-pop Elephant 6 collective was known for bands who shared members and configured themselves into new groups. When in ’99 the scene’s flagship act, Olivia Tremor Control, split, most members just called in some friends and reassembled as Circulatory System. But that band seemed to vanish after Cloud released their intricate, introspective homonymous debut in 2001. Recent reports suggest that their long-promised follow-up won’t be done until 2007. In the meantime, disappointed devotees can enjoy these free hors d’œuvre from the inevitable slew of side projects.

The New Sound of Numbers, “Seed Split Open” (Streaming audio via MySpace)
Circulatory System percussionist Hannah Jones played most of the New Sound of Numbers’ upcoming debut, Liberty Seeds (Cloud), herself, and the tracks streaming on-line are a revelation. This one’s a dark, driving incantation with alluringly flat Kim Gordon–style vocals. Who knew an Elephant 6er could pull off art-damaged post-punk?

The Instruments, “Branches for Many Birds” (Streaming audio via MySpace)
Heather McIntosh’s otherworldly cello parts haunted every corner of Circulatory System. Her bow takes the lead on this sleepy, rural waltz; it’s vocal-free, but the swirling sonics show the influence of her CS mates — all of whom appear on the Instruments’ roster.

Elf Power, “All the World Is Waiting” video (QuickTime)
An unseen line-up that includes three Circulatory System members backs Andrew Krieger as he strolls smack into a quirky circus of cuddly oddballs in this clip. He strums his acoustic and sings innocently over a makeshift choir, and the melodies flurry out like rainbow sprinkles. Sounds (and looks) like the old Elephant 6 to me.
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