Circadian Rhythm Section is the solo project of musician Derek Jones. Jones has been making music for years now in Cemetery Gates with Gene Priest. Cemetery Gates sounds the way you’d imagine, but better. Dread-inducing electronic music that savors analog synths, classic horror films, and the scores that made them so damn good. Left to his own devices in Circadian Rhythm Section, Derek Jones drops deep into the heavy synth/Komische world of 70s electronic. Like Priest in Skeleton Beach, Jones uses his time alone wisely. He displays a knack for deep grooves, hazy melodies, and a tip of the hat to early 80s Tangerine Dream.
Safety in Numbers, the debut album by Jones’ Circadian Rhythm Section, is an all out heavy synth opus. The songs are dense, dark, and inspired; mixing elements of horror and film scores, but really going for something more far reaching. Names like Froese, Schulze, and Jarre come to mind. But also contemporaries like Timothy Fife, S U R V I V E, Harglow, Videodrones, Skragn and Jonas Munk. Simply put, Safety in Numbers is a hell of an album.
Though there’s not an apparent theme or concept to the album, it flows like a continuous musical narrative. There’s a dream-like quality to the songs; a slow motion rhythmic pulse that carries through the 9-track album. And despite an “overcast day” sort of vibe, the mood is more melancholy than dark. More of a stroll thru a cemetery as flashes of memories hit your frontal lobe, making you look back. As opposed to looking back and seeing someone chasing you with a hatchet. This is heavy synth malaise.
The album is essentially one dream-like track after another. “Misophonia” builds beautifully from bits of notes and sequences. A persistent melancholic vibe envelopes you, bringing to mind the best of both 70s horror scores from Rizatti and Frizzi to Tangerine Dream’s masterful Firestarter score. “Bruxism” keeps that vibe going, but adds a touch of Jean-Michel Jarre. The nine minute track ends up floating in space somewhere in the darknes. Truly stunning. “Default Mode Network” is all deep space drift and dizzying panning back and forth. A song like this is why you buy a decent pair of headphones and a bean bag chair you can melt into. “Like Floating In The Air With My Eyes Closed” is all slow motion drift and a sense of sublimely letting go into the void.
One of the standout tracks here is the beautifully hypnotic “DMT”. Opening like some of John Harrison’s best work on Day of the Dead, but quickly taking shape as a dense Berlin School affair, “DMT” is one of those kinds of songs you can just get absolutely lost in. There’s a sense of dread that comes over you as the song carries on, ultimately dissipating into the air like mist. “Imposter Syndrome” is another standout here, creating a kind of baroque quality in the somber notes and heartbeat rhythm in the background. In some of the best electronic/synth albums, there’s this sense of chamber music. The idea of a composer playing to a small group of people on a harpsichord. That’s the feeling I get listening to this track, and ultimately throughout Circadian Rhythm Section’s debut.
Safety in Numbers is a fine addition to Grief Thief Records roster of amazing releases. Circadian Rhythm Section, aka Derek Jones, has established himself as a solo artist to watch and look forward to with his debut album. Yet another stunning heavy synth album to get lost in as the days grow shorter and the leaves fall.
8.2 out of 10
Safety in Numbers is currently only available to Grief Thief Records subscribers. It will be available to the public on November 1st. To be a subscriber, hit up Grief Thief Records here.