Record Review - 8 June 10 2004

For those who subscribe to the “glass is half-empty” philosophy, it’s easy to argue that Twilight Circus’ records all sound the same. The same globules of bounding bass and laid-back dub/reggae tempos have undulated unshakably throughout a full decade of releases from Ryan Moore — formerly of Netherlands-based psychedeliacs the Legendary Pink Dots. For those who feel the “glass is half-full,” TC’s cosmic grooves are as boundless as the universe itself, forever sprawling into the outer reaches of time and space. Dub from the Secret Vaults unambiguously supports both positions.

Compiling 20 years of tape experiments and songs — some of which predate the Twilight Circus moniker — Moore proves above all else that he’s impeccably consistent in his approach. Despite numerous leaps in time and technology between tracks, as each song shifts to the next, the tone and production qualities maintain a steady, head-rattling mellow.

None of the songs are endowed with specific recording dates or other historical markers, leaving any distinguishing characteristics in the TC timeline to be determined by the ears of the beholder. From the establishing pace of “The Groove” to the bombastic drums of “Achou,” and the scenic blips and beats of “Bassie Dub 1,” each song is driven by a twisted natural high. After all, dub spelled backwards is bud, and even though a mental adjustment from the Jamaican national flower isn’t necessary when sneaking into Moore’s Secret Vaults, it’s certainly par for the reverb-drenched course.

Twilight Circus plays the Echo Lounge Fri., June 11 at 9 p.m. $15.