Keys (2007 – 2018) is a really interesting collection of sounds from Chris Page aka Closed Circuits, a Portugal-based experimental musician, gleaned from his back catalogue of ten years. Seemingly taking some inspiration from sources such as Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Coil, Closed Circuits has pushed the levels of experimentation in composition over the past decade, resulting in a collection of extraordinary songs.
Tone and resonance play a big part in his compositions, Asylum Harbour features warping orchestrations and humming bell-tones with Page’s laconic croon floating above the sonic patterns.
Ascender is trance-like with sounds that swirl and unfurl with spacey reverb, while The Willow Tree is a gentle, neo-classical lullaby. Cain features some beautifully delicate pizzicato strings and warm drones, allowing Page’s quiet baritone time to punctuate the space created throughout.
The Supercollider, Sirens and Janitor Of The Arcades are more minimal pieces focusing on Page’s voice. There is so much of The The’s Matt Johnson throughout this collection, from the arrangement and feel of the pieces to Page’s easy baritone croon.
Rex is incredible, all harsh noise and dissonance. Page’s voice is a wail in what seems like an echoing void. The slow build creeps with instruments seemingly flung to the bellowing wind, caught in ascending spirals of sound debris. Saxophones are torn asunder to the march of throbbing beats as Page screams in coiling agony, his voice increasingly frayed and ragged. This is wrought of heaving, sobbing pain, his cries of “no, no, no…” come from somewhere primeval and are utterly devastating to listen to.
Final track The Ships is a beautiful and heart-worn ballad, driven by a sparse echoing beat and warm, lush strings. There is a mournful, melodic quality as once again Page’s voice is pushed to the fore as he gently sings “…you carry me down, into the night, the words so easily fall apart, beneath the lights”.
Throughout, Keys (2007 – 2018) is awash with swept strings and echoing tempos, bathed in subtle electronic drones. Page’s voice is shrouded in darkening emotion giving each song a personal and corporeal aura. This is, at times, a heart-wrenching but ultimately rewarding listen as Page takes us on a trek through some of the darkest forests and brightest valleys of his psyche.
Keys (2007 – 2018) by Closed Circuits is out now on In Finite Records