Inspired by “the beauty of circles,” Janne Hanhisuanto’s 10-part suite Circles in 3D is a cool, constantly shifting batch of ambient, electronica, prog and, at just the right time, a shot of reggae. Hanhisuanto hits every one of the styles spot-on; he’s never out of his comfort zone and so never takes the listener out of theirs. The disc opens with a smooth, classic quiet-music piece made of simple rise-and-fall pads, then turns the sound with watery tremolo and playful electronic accents and nature sounds. Part 3 is where Hanhisuanto throws his first entertaining curveball, splitting open a downtempo feel in chiming tones to unveil a reggae tempo and gorgeous string melody. Jennifer Zheng’s voice slides in to chant about “The right to feel…”–it’s a cool little trope that Hanhisuanto later revives to create a nicely anchored through-line for the suite. Part 5 is a wildly catchy piece that sounds like Jean-Michel Jarre got his hands on the Dr. Who theme. Jarre fans will catch very distinct echoes of Oxygene in the jaunty rhythms and the tone of the synths here. Toes will tap, bodies will rock. It’s inevitable. Carry that momentum into Part 6, a Euro-pop-flavored joyride that has Hanhisuanto eventually unslinging his guitar and briefly letting fly.The disc quiets and darkens then, through the shadow-drawn stretch of Part 7 and into the hushed kinetic potential of Track 8, where a bass pulse seems constantly ready to rise up. Hanhisuanto plays beautifully with a sense of expectation here, and hints of old Tangerine Dream nudge their way forward. Part 10 closes out the disc in a hush and brings the circle around to its beginning. Needless to say, this disc loops well.
Circles in 3D is an absolute pleasure to listen to. It showcases Janne Hanhisuanto as a diverse musician with a lot to say and the chops to say it very well.
Available from Auraltone.