Monday 3 October 2022

Full Circle

Full Circle is the latest album by Cate Brooks, working under the pseudonym of The Advisory Circle. It's the sixth album she's produced under the name, the first, Mind How You Go, going back to 2005.

Brooks' music has always owed as much to the music of 1970s public information films as it has to the world of kosmische musik. Poignantly impersonal, and with an edgy sense of unease, it invokes that 1970s world of electronica, sci-fi film and library music. It seems to hover between the past and the present and it's easy to see how it came to be labelled hauntological, evoking an imaginary present, based on the past, that never came to pass.

If you want to know what 1979 felt like, play this music on a Sony Walkman and close your eyes. Part of the magic then, I think, came from the fact that electronics back then had not quite lost its mystique the way it probably has now: people today tend to take it for granted that a chip in a smartphone can hold 170 billion transistors, but back then, a simple circuit using a couple of transistors could invoke a sense of wonder. A synthesizer was something else.

Full Circle is still intent on exploring the hauntological world of uneasy nostalgia explored in the first Advisory Circle album. This is not intended as a criticism: indeed, my first impression is that this album might well become my favourite of the six Brooks has produced so far. Perhaps one could describe it as meta-hauntological? Listening to it, I must say, as much as the 1970s, it invokes for me a poignant nostalgia for the early 2000s and a future based on that time which has never come to pass. Perhaps this is intended. Perhaps the clue is in the album's title?

Full Circle is issued by Ghost Box Records.


  1. Yes, this does bring back the late 70s and early 1980s which, for me, was mostly about Laurie Anderson and Meredith Monk. At age 30, I returned to finish my college degree in 1980 and heard a lot of electronic music during that time in and around my art classes. I'm recalling now that Meredith Monk gave a most memorable performance on one of the small stages on our college campus.

    1. Thank you for mentioning Meredith Monk! I haven't listened to any for a while, but keep meaning to. I will now you've reminded me!

  2. Very interesting. I did not expect to like this, but as it played, I saw that it was the sort of thing that would engage your brain while you did other things. It was not unpleasant.

    1. Yes - you could call it "wallpaper music". I play it sometimes when I'm working in the kitchen. It's nice to focus on it, too.


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