Tabs Out | Stephen Molyneux – Wings and Circles

Stephen Molyneux – Wings and Circles
4.24.17 by Kat Harding


Stephen Molyneux, from Denver, put out a tape in February on No Kings that is a relaxing foray through folky improvisation. “Wings and Circles,” with beautiful radar and map views printed in orange and blue on cream paper, is a work of art both inside and out. A map of the night sky graces the inside of the art work, with the Stuart Friebert quote “My body wants the place where the wings and circles are.”

“Wings and Circles” hums awake with tones from an electric organ. The tape was recorded in a basement, which usually brings dark connotations, but this is a warm and welcoming place. Dulcimer, melodica, pan pipes, banjo, lap steel, and percussion all make appearances in the music. It’s engulfing and relaxing, like a warm summer day, or a thick blanket in the winter. The tones echo and vibrate through the space, with clinking bells punctuating the song randomly, like they’re blowing in a gentle breeze. The track is divided by lengths of silence, but it doesn’t feel like we’re switching songs. It feels like we’re taking a breath before continuing the same track, just a different verse. The gentle purring of the organ carries us through the track and it’s more than 16 minute length is perfect to lull you into a trance.

Side B starts off with sharp banjo and lap steel, already louder than side A, but still relaxed. This is a front-porch pickin’ side, with an adept player experimenting with a familiar instrument. The clear chords disintegrate into humming and echoing, like an amp buzzing after the last verse. At about six minutes in, the organ picks up in full effect, giving serious church procession vibes. While we contemplate our sins, the organ continues, with clanking bells twinkling through. With the organ as the backbone of the song, the track meanders along, adding new sounds layered on top. Both sides add to give you more than thirty minutes of soft organ music to unwind to. Prime listening spots include hammocks, beach towels, couches, beds, or any other place to get a moment’s rest.

Get a copy of the C32, an edition of 100 copies, on Molyneux’s Bandcamp page.

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