Magenta Circuit only has two songs, but the album spans nearly an entire 24 minutes minutes. Song, however, understates these works. Rhapsody seems more fitting. Even symphony might suffice. The attention to detail Hampus puts into his music allows a cohesion that no “song” of its length could achieve. Not only do the songs feel at their correct length and maintain interest throughout, but also the three songs play off each other with similar ideas. Still, Hampus employs his sounds in very contrasting ways. The songs feel connected yet their own entities, one of the most remarkable achievements of the album. For the most part, Hampus uses strings, piano, and Sine Waves as his melodic instruments, creating a core sound much like his Swedish contemporary Cease. In fact, even their concept of integrating glitchy paper samples into the sound is very much the same. Hampus just composes his music with more finesse, adding more depth to not only his drums but also his melodic content. From this core sound, Magenta Circuit burgeons into a work of art.Of the two tracks, “Onibi Dance” is certainly the more conventional one despite its superior length. By stating musical themes, expanding on them, and maintaining a homophonic sound with melody and accompaniment, it stays relatively similar throughout. In “Onibi Dance”, the drums make the song’s climaxes with offbeat accents, retardations, and delays everywhere. Even when the drums stay conservative, it feels as if Hampus is simply drawing back his sledgehammer for the big smash once again. Once the sine wave appears, Hampus moves into a completely different mood, especially mid-song. For a good ten seconds, he builds an incredibly suspenseful crescendo. Through rubato minimalist paper samples and haunting ambient sounds, the song grows and recesses relentlessly. Once everything finally resolves, the off-kilter accents and sudden delays go away, and finally everything can breathe. After the final resolution, representing the song’s overall climax, it becomes apparent that the first minute of the song simply build to that climax of gorgeous string counterpoint, paper samples, and driving various percussion. What stuns most about “Onibi Dance” is not any specific moment, but the fact that Hampus composed twenty-three minutes of self-aware music with obvious constant forward direction.>>32891865
“Dogma: Melchoir” feels much more spastic. Once again, the first few minutes describe a musical philosophy, one of constantly changing feels. For the most part, Hampus plays impeccable jazz synth and the drums accompany him, but the drummer may have run out of batteries. The drums constantly stop and get out of time. Only seconds later, however, a bea
utiful string chorale kicks in. In this song, Hampus does not lay out such a large concept map for the listener to follow. Instead, he composes a song that feels more interesting minute by minute but less rewarding at its culmination. It relies on the shock value of each individual moment, and since he composes so well, it works. Even though the instrumentation is nearly exactly the same as “Onibi Dance”, the two contrast each other so much in their format. Hampus makes use of off kilter accents, synthesizer effects, and ambient sound much more in the second song as well, so despite the similar instrumentation, he uses each instrument in a new way.
Magenta Circuit is one of the most intrinsically well-composed electronica albums I’ve ever heard. While difficult to navigate at first, only through multiple listens will the album begin to register and stick with the listener. Undoubtedly, it will stun on first listen, but every time, something new projects from the music. Hampus might just take his sledgehammer and knock down the walls of the genre completely, watch out.
Strong 9.5/10 BNM