Aquarelle: Slow Circles
Rest and Noise

Composed of five electroacoustic settings of ambient-drone design, Slow Circles makes a strong impression as the fully-formed next chapter in Ryan Potts' Aquarelle story. Recorded and assembled over a three-year period (2006-09), the forty-five-minute album finds Potts processing multiple layers of acoustic (acoustic guitar, bells, and percussion), electric, and electronic instruments into immense cathedrals of sound.

In “Brill,”  acoustic guitar strums intermittently punctuate a heavily-textured, static-laden drone of Fennesz-like character that wavers and oscillates for an immersive eight minutes, with the strums dissipating the tension when they occur. Rather than building to an immense climax, “Everything Changes Into Itself” begins as a pulsating vortex of shimmering tones and brilliant tinkles that gradually decompresses. What starts out as an explosion of agitated sound gradually transforms into a slow-moving cloud mass that reaches an even more peaceful end of glistening tones and guitar strums. The album's zenith is reached in the culminating, fifteen-minute “In Days of Rust” when it trudges through a neo-psychedelic dronescape filled with flickering noises and acoustic sounds (organ, guitar, percussion), ascending all the while, until it reaches a towering height that brings with it a panoramic view of the surrounding expanse. Throughout this accomplished recording, Potts shows himself to be an artful and sensitive manipulator of his materials, and his skill at effecting the transformations within the pieces helps make Slow Circles stand out from its genre brethren.

November 2009