Circle Guillotine

Being known as the "Finnish Can” is no small moniker to live up to, but since Circle make it seem like producing gritty and entrancing Krautrock-style rhythms is second nature to them, it’s a fitting one. Given that this ensemble has been releasing albums since their inception in the early ’90s, it’s a small wonder they haven’t gained more recognition over the years. Hopefully Scratch’s reissue of this 2003 album will change this for the better. Guillotine moves with ease from funky yet tense Can-meets-Fela Kuti workouts like "Metsan Henget” and "Teraskylpy” to the more free-form avant-psych onslaught territory found in "Armo” and the various interludes throughout the album. Though bandleader and singer Jussi Lehtisalo’s demanding voice (at times similar to that of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s) might at times ward off many Western listeners, he only rears his pipes on a few tracks here, and the instrumental interplay between the band’s members is both engaging and intense enough to intrigue fans of Krautrock and experimental music. Prog-rock experts will be glad to hear that there isn’t even a hint of European cheesiness here; some of the interludes are even downright frightening in their unhinged intensity, but tight grooves are what Circle spin best. (Scratch)