The original distribution format of this album was cassette tape. Not kidding. If you visit Not Not Fun Records, you can pay for the album via PayPal and they’ll ship you the cassette in the mail. I think that fact, better than anything I’ll say below, does a good job of communicating the feel of Motor City.
Sand Circles is the project of a Swede named Martin Herterich who seems devoted to making gorgeous electronic music using old-school methods. Perhaps the single most distinguishing feature of Motor City is that every song features a healthy dose of analog tape delay, which is instrumental in creating the ominous heavy vibe that mutates the happiest of synth progressions into sinister melodies. There are few artists in music today that use analog tape delay anymore because it’s a hell of a lot easier to use computer production software that has built-in delay processing algorithms. The advantage of using the non-digital method is that analog delay machines employ vacuum tubes; vacuum tubes create a warm texture that computers just can’t duplicate.
The title track, embedded above, is one of the standouts on the album. “Innercity Haze” is another. Songs are simple, effortlessly developing combinations of overlapping synth lines and classic Roland-style drum machine sequences. The power lies in the overall atmosphere of Motor City; it could function as the soundtrack to a sci-fi movie created in the early 80s that’s set in the year 2300.
The good news is that now, no cassette player is needed. Motor City is currently available on iTunes UK and iTunes US.