% like this release – Do you?
The towering opener, “Circle One,” does much more than simply reaffirm the indelible character of Elektro Guzzi's sound. Yes, it shares with the trio's other recordings thrust and muscularity, but it also dramatically brings out an African dimension that had heretofore only been hinted at in the group's music. And that “Circle One” lasts 29 min doesn't mean that the trio simply drags out a jam to its limit; instead, the music unfolds with the same kind of logical purpose as a regular Elektro Guzzi piece but in this case for a longer spell. And a spell it certainly is: the longer playing time bolsters the hypnotic effect of the music by allowing the listener to surrender to its gyroscopic whirl without pause. Powered by Schneidewind's pulsing throb, Breuer's percussive invention, and Hammer's psychedelic flourishes, the material unspools with the dizzying drive of a feverish African dance.
The Wire (UK)
The best way to approach Elektro Guzzi’s Circling Above is in a state of ignorance. When you’re deep into its electronic, trippy-trance grip, a dancefloor haze of Ricardo Villalobos-esque Minimal Techno, that’s the moment to learn that it's all played live by an Austrian guitar/drums/bass trio. As you pick your jaw up off the floor, you can ponder the discipline and determination of Bernhard Hammer, Bernhard Breuer and Jakob Schneidewind, and the immaculate production that encases their metronomic grooves. It’s not just that they’ve turned into machines, à la Jaki Liebezeit, because with Liebezeit you can still enjoy the playing, the in-the-pocket-ness of the performance. Elektro Guzzi have gone further: they no longer sound like three musicians but one laptop. Is this a good thing? I’m too stunned to decide.
Beyond the concept, which is amazing, the music is pretty fantastic as well, a mesmerizing mix of woozy cyclical melodies and muted pulsing rhythms, total late night bliss out techno, that sounds digital but is purely analog, apparently even the label didn't believe this stuff was actually being played until they watched a live rehearsal video. No loops, no overdubs, but somehow, it still sounds loopy and dubby, hypnotic and heady, all the sounds wreathed in an organic crackle, the sound raw and organic, but somehow sculpted into something that sounds impossible electronic. We love these guys, and these 3 tracks are just more of what we love. Everyone who Elektro Guzzi's Live P.A. record, are gonna want this too.
Bei Elektro Guzzi hilft es, sie schon mal spielen gesehen zu haben - das geht einem dann auch nicht aus dem Kopf, und es verknüpft auch bei "Circling Above" die beiden Hörpfade [die Eigendynamik repetitiven Spielens und die maschinelle Akkuratesse] bzw. das wilde Wechseln zwischen ihnen. Elektro Guzzi spielen Techno-Tracks mit mehr oder weniger konventionellen Instrumenten ein. Und wenn man das nicht weiß, hört man kaum einen Unterschied zu regulären, von bestimmten Programmen und auf bestimmten Rechnern generierten Techno-Tracks. Da man das aber weiß, hört man anders. (Diedrich Diederichsen)
Vital Weekly (NL)
All of this was recorded live which means it's not entirely flawless but I think that's the beauty of it. Sound like a laptop with glitches: what more do you want as a band?