Tim Bayes has been releasing music as Schuster since around 1986. He has also made and released music under the names Zilverhill and Ideas beyond Filth; Zilverhill have released 3 albums so far. Ideas Beyond Filth is Bayes earliest and most well known project and it was active between 1985 -87. Ideas Beyond Filth released a few cassette albums that were recently reissued on vinyl by the Harbinger sound label. Schuster is Bayes most prolific project with The Circle of Angst being the seventh Schuster release.
1.4 opens with a brief passage piano melody which then gives way for ambient drones to take precedence. This is at once atmospheric, dark and dreamlike; as if performed underwater. Drones and vacuum like vortexes of noise pass though the work, which shifts through different passages, it consistently introduces new sounds and removes and returns other sounds into the mix as if to keep 1.4 consistent and not allow it to move away from itself completely. It functions as well executed dark meditating music. Things begin to rumble and resonate subtly higher towards the end, before a distant piano closes the track.
2.4: Distant booms thud away ominously; keyboard drones can also be heard around the booms. These combined sounds then move to the foreground slowly like an approaching nightmare. This track seems a lot more floating in it’s ambience with the booms beginning to function as a slow beat. Keyboards come in, leading with a slow repeated melody, combined with other ambient sounds which progress and build as things begin to darken further. Melodies are overtaken by random metallic clanging and shouting that eventually makes way for the piano again to signal the tracks’ end.
3.4 An ambient passage field recording that sounds like a sink in the process of draining is given sonic treatment to blur its’ edges as if to become the sound of sea waves crashing against the shoreline; this changes to a repetitive sound area of electronic drones. The introduction, removal and replacements of sounds is powerful as the combination of sounds working together at one time is kept minimal to around three. A slurping/scraping sound oscillates in gradually increasing waves; drones tease distantly within those oscillations. The oscillations struggle and groan as the prolonged drones tease more. This dissipates and drones are left alone with small sounds that also tease them and carry things on into the next track.
4.4: The remnants of 3.4 linger for a brief time until new ambient rumblings and sounds begin to emerge. Sounds circle around occasionally meeting as if to interlink different nightmarish soundscapes into one. This is a strong example of an artist pulling different passages of work into one by skillful use of lone sounds that seem to hang in the air, yet serve as essential bonds between different passages of sound uniting them into a longer more detailed sonic journey. Darker larger arching drones begin to initiate a big rise in the depth and levels that the track reaches. 4.4 breaks itself down when it reaches higher plateaus of sound and structure in order to gradually rebuild itself again with different combinations of sounds. However it always interlinks it by keeping sounds from previous build ups. This track develops into a haunted nightmarish rumbling carousel ride.
This is a well thought out album that shifts rapidly between using a minimal and a full palette of sounds, these are used effectively to evoke a strong sense of ominous visuals. Circle of Angst is powerful in its build ups that threaten yet never fully attack. This is a strong journey that never reaches a big climax or final assault; it rises to several peaks in its repeated expansions of sound and very rapidly reduces to minimal sounds and levels to keep Circle of Angst consistently varied and interesting as an album. Schuster proves to be another Bayes project highly worthy of further investigation.