Circuit Wound has had a number of releases dating back to at least 2003, and this C20 from Oxen is a live two-part recording from a set played at The Blue Lodge. Despite its relatively uniform 20 minutes, the full track is split across both sides of the tape.
The untitled offering finds Circuit Wound working through traditional harsh noise output, a smattering of crunchy static interspersed with lots of varying oscillating tones. Overall, it’s not overwhelmingly abrasive but it does run through a variety of tones with a high degree of variability throughout the 20 minutes, and as a (presumably) improvisational live work, it shows Circuit Wound as a master manipulator in his trade.
The one downside to this recording is that I would have rather seen the full track released as a sidelong piece, presented as either a one-sided tape or duplicated for both sides to preserve continuity. Other than that, this is particularly effective piece of harsh noise from Mr. Howard.
One lengthy track populates Patience Wears Thin from Circuit Wound, the noise project of Jay Howard. He’s got a lot of releases under his belt, so his seniority has been proven in the noise field. This release, which clocks in around 35 minutes, pairs drones with harsher noise as Circuit Wound molds the sound over the entirety of the track.
“Patience Wears Thin” begins with a light droning; a ringing tone pulses softly, sometimes changing pitch as other quiet tones enter. It’s all seemingly calm – not really the sort of thing one might expect from a project named Circuit Wound – and the peace stretches out over long minutes. It begins to drain on the listener – with one long track, it’s going to get pretty boring if this drone continues to repeat. And then the harsh blasts of heavily modulated noise kicks in, the heady blasts of very harsh and high-pitched static with the oscillating tones of knob twists and turns.
For the most part, this type of abstract and uncalculated noise isn’t my favorite, but in “Patience Wears Thin” the abrasive wallop of random bursts of noise works after the heavily repetitive beginning. It’s an obvious ode to the title; Circuit Wound waits and waits for the listener to slip into a comatose state expecting the drone to continue on, and then hits with a relentless assault. The layering of the cacophony, too, is some of the better harsh noise I’ve heard.
Everything eventually slips back into normalcy with an ending sustained note that carries us through. Circuit Wound continues to try our patience after each arc, continuing the same pattern just long enough for us to wish he’d move on – and then it does, to other avenues of exploration.