An ambient instrumental project, Thistle Sifter has shared powerful new record ‘Circles’

  • 2 min read

The ambient instrumental post-rock project by English musician Pete Barnes, Thistle Sifter is arguably one of the most engaging and under-appreciated creative forces around today. After delivering a monumental performance with 2022’s debut album ‘A Spectral Moon’, Pete has continued to explore raw and deeply personal moments as Thistle Sifter, reflecting a period of hardship and chaos in his impactful new album ‘Circles’.

Released earlier this year, ‘Circles’ represents the various struggles Pete has been through in the last couple of years, after being literally catapulted into disarray by a serious cycling accident in November 2020. Injuries arising from this accident forced him to put his life on hold and reassess, resulting in a somewhat dysfunctional existence, as well as a growing sense of dislocation from many aspects of his life which had previously been taken for granted. A primal pull to be in the UK furthered this sense of dislocation and isolation, where Pete was restricted by his physical inability to travel, a situation which was made even more untenable by a worldwide pandemic as well as Brexit.

As a response to all this stress and strain, the new album naturally features a maelstrom of strong, often all-encompassing emotive moments, reflecting feelings of being lost and isolated. Textured through further influences such as Brexit, Covid and the difficult, ongoing path to recovery, ‘Circles’ is an undeniably expressive and powerful journey. With each song, Pete explores his circumstances, offering sprawling ambient tracks that draw you in and give a visceral glimpse into Pete’s ongoing journey. 

Throughout, shades of darkness flicker, flowing through each song with dark gothic guitars woven into deep, evolving melodies, while subtle textured and minimalist rock shades trickle through. It’s an engaging and often overwhelmingly emotional album, but it's also infinitely rewarding, with every listen opening up new space and allowing you to reflect on your own struggles, hardships, and eventual triumphs.

As an album, ‘Circles’ is a masterful ambient release that is filled with vulnerability and emotion, transporting the listener into a new world of Pete’s own making. Available now as both a digital release and on vinyl, where it is made with stunning  recycled wax pressings, the album is a poignant representation of the various struggles Pete has been through in the last couple of years.

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