Circle Traps

Circle Traps is a project between Jack Wyllie, Duncan Bellamy and Will Ward. Jack Wyllie plays sax and electronics and Duncan Bellamy plays drums and electronics in Portico Quartet. They have toured internationally and released three albums on Real World Records. Will Ward has a history in sound design for film and TV and has a handful of different releases through various labels under his belt.

Developed over the last year through an interest in production as well as a love of electronic and dance music; Circle Traps have arrived at a sound that marries the romantic textures of Bjork’s Vespertine to the glacial atmospherics of Thomas Köner to more fluid jazz-like explorations of rhythm. 

When playing live in Circle Traps, Jack plays keyboards (a Dave Smith Prophet 08 through a Line6 M9 multi effects unit) and uses Ableton Live to trigger samples; Duncan plays a sampler (an MPC 1000 through a Kaoss pad through a Line6 M9 multi effects unit). Will then takes these sounds into Ableton affecting them on the fly and introducing samples of his own. 

The live side of Circle Traps developed after the musicians released their debut EP (self titled on Opit Records), in order to play out to an audience the music that had been produced in a studio environment.

The band tap into their own instrumental skills to create the recordings and samples which they then trigger when playing live. They range from saxophones, synths, pianos and xylophones to samples of trains and a pinball machine collected over the last year. 

Circle Traps themselves explain:  “Some of this album then is about the live playing of prerecorded sounds and finding a way to combine our love of electronic production with live collective music making. The use of samples of live instruments helps create interesting textures developing a blend between acoustic and electronic music.

This recording is a four-hour session of improvisations and reinterpretations of original music that has then been whittled down to 45 minutes and mixed down over the course of a week. There are live remixes that go well beyond the originals as well as completely new tracks that have stemmed from jams and grooves we made while improvising together. There is no programming or click track, which gives the music a feeling of push and pull - a natural fluidity.

The influences range from Tim Hecker and Oneohtrix Point Never on the drone like “White Sun” to Actress and Burial on the dark and melodic “Kepler”. There is an over arching love of ambient and dance music that comes across in this recording; icy, dark and crystalline in its textures, it feeds off the space in which it was made, an industrial estate in the depths of Leyton.”

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