Geist | Decreasing Circles

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Rock: Folk Rock Pop: Pop/Rock Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Decreasing Circles

by Geist

Pop/Rock with a violin. Melodic, powerful, intelligent and charming.
Genre: Rock: Folk Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Steam Trains and Long Hot Summers
2:42 $0.99
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2. Twenty-Five
3:14 $0.99
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3. Your Rituals
4:23 $0.99
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4. Untitled 8
3:30 $0.99
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5. Decreasing Circles
3:42 $0.99
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6. Untitled 9
3:31 $0.99
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7. Fine
5:23 $0.99
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8. No More Tomorrows
2:59 $0.99
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9. Jasmine
4:17 $0.99
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10. A Night On The Town
3:51 $0.99
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11. Victory Spoils
8:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
So, things progress: lately we are getting asked, with increasing regularity, what we're all about.
'Your songs are all different. How're we supposed to fit you into one of these pigeonholes we've got here?' 'Who are your influences?' 'What's your story?' 'You're a bit like, ooh, I can't work it out...' Unfortunately the boxes and pigeonholes would appear to be full.
So we have planning permission pending on our own pigeonhole. What we're all about is songs; songs about stuff; stuff that happens whether we like it or not. We have always written them down, because they're there. Now we're recording them too and people seem to be liking them. Maybe it's because they're good; maybe it's because they're honest; maybe it's a bit of both; maybe it's something else entirely. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter much. Anybody's welcome along if they want to come and, whilst we'll go anywhere to play (you only have to ask), we won't be appearing in OK Magazine or on 'Please Look At Me, I'm A Celebrity' to try and convince you that we're important. We have some stuff to say and some songs to play, and we're just getting on with it. We hope you like them.
With regard to the rest of the world, from which 'celebrity' (please check dictionary definition) is being the most self-obsessed in front of the naughty paparazzi lenses, to which magazine for 'lads' or 'babes' is the biggest waste of paper; from whether any of the reality TV shows contain any reality, to every half baked cash-in autobiography on the shelves of your local book shop; from the question of R&B's descent from 'Rhythm & Blues' to 'Repetitive & Bland,' to the twisted idea that 'The X Factor' has anything at all to do with music; from our glorious leaders' inability to say anything useful, to why someone other than the individual should be choosing how much and where one can drink, smoke or wear salmon on one's head should one feel the urge; from the da Vinci fraud to every other religious lie and misappropriation; from terrorism to totemism and from socialism to Satanism:
We're shhurely all aware on some level that all this is nonsense. Yet we entertain it and allow it in turn to entertain us. Meanwhile, the little space around ourselves that we actually have some influence over maybe could do with a little more of our time. Makes you want to chew your own foot off doesn't it?
The story so far? We're still daydreaming of better weather…

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Reviews


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P. T.

Charm. Honesty. Real. Rare.
I spent the last two days listening to Decreasing Circles. It brings back so many things for me - mostly a reminder that music can be honest and innocent even when the era we inhibit isn't. There is something rare and good going on in that CD. Something really rooted in what is real and truthful. Something that harks back to when music was communal and about people - not mere soundbites and swivelling hips and vacant-headed machismo. I am such an admirer of this folksy honesty. Here's a band grounded in a real place. Filled with real people. So rare now. Love it.
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Tom Franks

Definitely not background music, the album demands to be listened to
I don’t know about you, but I find it increasingly difficult to locate an album that satisfies all my critical faculties and emotions from beginning to end. Usually it’s a case of a couple of decent tracks with indifferent filler in between. Not so with Geist, who with Decreasing Circles have come up with a second album that makes this listener a very happy bunny indeed. Like a good movie or favourite piece of literature this is music that stays in my head, from the opening bars of Steam Trains and Long Hot Summers to the fade out of the anthem-style Victory Spoils. Beautifully paced, the album appears to cater for a wide variety of tastes. Geist aren’t easily pigeonholed, but I reckon if you like a mixture of rock, blues and violin usually all in the same song, then this is for you. Definitely not background music, the album demands to be listened to right the way through, paying attention to strong lyrics that convey an overall sense of nostalgia, missed opportunities and regret. If this album were a movie it would be film noir. If that sounds downbeat let me assure you that the music is sublime. Acoustic and electric guitar, violin, piano / organ, bass and drums drift, shift and engage with each other in harmonic compositions so artfully constructed that no single instrument ever dominates the whole and yet we get to hear and identify each one. Although their music is totally original, Geist artfully acknowledges the influences along the way and if you have listened to rock music for any length of time there is great fun to be had in detecting occasional side references that appear and disappear in the twinkle of an eye. This band can put one line of a do-ron-ron chorus into a song and get away with it. The opening track switches from modern rock to hoedown banjo to castanets and Spanish guitar and back to rock again with assurance and style. Mike Oldfield would be proud. As the final guitar echoes fade on the final track I find myself wishing there were more but……….if you’re patient, there is a nice little coda that modestly asks for our opinion
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Dennis Alstrand

If, one year from now, Geist has not reached stardom based on Decreasing Circles
My cats are fighting, the buggers. As for Geist’s second album, Decreasing Circles, there could be two reviews to this album:

Short version:
If, one year from now, Geist has not reached stardom based on Decreasing Circles, then it was only because it was not marketed correctly.

Long version:
Well, I wouldn’t take the time to write this review if I didn’t think that Decreasing Circles is a fantastic album. To get ready, I’ve listened to it probably 50 times. Home stereo, car stereo, whatever. I wrote and told John McDevitt that I like the new album better than Coldplay’s latest. I suspect it depressed him because Geist is not getting the airplay. Yet it’s always been that way in the music business. Talent and good music is not what sells. What sells is what the album promoters want to sell but if I had my way, some song or other from Decreasing Circles would be on the radio. I have a lot to say about the album, so let’s get going before my cats start fighting again.

Isn’t it true that everybody’s ear is caught by different things? My ear is caught by the great dynamics on Decreasing Circles. In fact, dynamics seem to come effortlessly to these musicians. They’re done so well, you might not even notice them, but give the album another listen and notice how the band will at one moment be in a full groove and, at the next moment, hardly playing at all. This is pro stuff.

I love great musical moments and there are many great ones on this album. The tremolo guitar on 25 and that MEAN sounding bass part at the end. Or, in Untitled 8, the lyrics “I love more than heaven but I just gave you hell”.

FINE BREAKDOWN
But put the CD on and let’s go to track 7, “Fine”.

Literally, everybody in the band shines on this song. How do I put this? Everybody knows when not to play and when to dance into the music and add a touch of magic.
Honestly, I recommend that you play this song through six or seven times and just listen to what each musician does. I’ve done this and the rewards were tremendous.

There is a very nice acoustic guitar opening from John that is reminiscent of Long Long Long (Beatles). The similarity ends there, and the acoustic guitars are masterfully done throughout the song, setting the mood.

Listen again and this time concentrate on the Stuart Francis’ cymbal work. Here he is riding nicely, and here he is pinging on the bell. He’s up…he’s down. Lord! Where do you find guys like this?

Now let’s follow the unsmiling Terry Hughes on bass. This is perfection, because he does not intrude, and yet he is right there at every moment, following the ever-shifting dynamics of the song.
And similarly, Long Dave Coston’s piano is played to perfection, with a sure allegiance to disciplined playing that I wish I could approach. As a piano player, I would bow low to this man but it’s difficult to type while doing so.

And now, for the little nuggets that first caught my attention with the song. These are presented by Neill Tupman and Anna Jenkins who breed tastefulness throughout the song (I hope there’s no offense taken by my use of the word “breed” with Neill and Anna. However, if they did breed, they would no doubt create the most tasteful musicians on earth). There is a thing that happens twice in the song that is so well done and yet so simple that I can only wish I would have thought of it myself. At 1:05 and again at 1:59, Neill plays a harmonic chord. From this chord grows Anna’s violin. It’s like hearing a flower grow. And one of the most amazing aspects of this is that – as far as I can tell – those are the first two times you even hear an electric guitar in the song. Who would ever have thought that an electric guitar player could stand idly by for a minute? It’s….it’s emotional. And they prove that NOT playing, and then adding something nice, is far, far better than constantly playing.

Both Neill and Anna give clinics in tasteful solos in this song. During Neill’s solo, at 3:19, there is a beautifully done harmonic bend. With these two musicians in the solo spotlights, Geist is in great, great shape.
The engineering done on the song (the whole album) obviously required a lot of time and effort. I think it’s clear that every chord strum was given attention.

Over all of this are swaying, thoughtful and emotionally delivered lead vocals, sung with room given to the band. To me, “Fine” is a perfectly recorded song. Just a moment, there go my cats again.

Okay, I’m back. Where was I? Oh yes. I can’t make this point strongly enough, so I’m going to make it the last point of this review: Every single musician in Geist realizes that the best way to show their musicianship is by being tasteful and dynamic. They do it in spades on Decreasing Circles. All of them. Damn! I wish they all lived in Hawaii so I could play with them. John and Terry (both of whom recorded it), Anna and Neill, Stuart, Long Dave and Ben (mixing and mastering): thank you. Clearly, many, many hours were put into this effort. I hope like hell this one busts you guys loose. And here’s yet another final note: I hope that your band is up for the countless hours of dedication it is going to take to put this album over the top. I’ll be over here on the sidelines watching and hoping.

Dennis Alstrand

PS: By the way, where the heck is Cattleprod? Is that the studio? If it’s a town, I want to live there. I want to live in….Cattleprod.
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