Download: Soft Circle, “Treading Water”


Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.

Hisham Bharoocha has been the reigning Brooklyn blissout champ since his days pummeling tom-toms in Black Dice’s dreamiest epoch. His solo project, Soft Circle, debuted in 2006 as a platform for feathery loops, meditative moan, and pulverizing cymbal crashes, a sort of sun-dappled nu-Boredoms where new-agey prayer chants meet good ol’ NY noise. But second album Shore Obsessed (out now via Post Present Medium) melds that spirit into something more fluid, propulsive, danceable. Bharoocha says he wanted to make music that would move him physically, and Shore Obsessed keeps his obsession with trancelike structures, only now his loops are looking less like Tangerine Dream and more like the DFA. With Town & Country’s Ben Vida turning the group into a duo, Soft Circle is now a venue for the crossroads of loop-pedal goop, cosmic disco, and full-blown indie-pop. First taste “Treading Water” sounds like Liquid Liquid remixing Up On The Sun-era Meat Puppets, Bharoocha heavy-house groove and squirty squelches providing a great juxtaposition to the tender, harmony-soaked hippie-punk chorus.

Download: [audio-1]

Q&A: Soft Circle’s Hisham Bharoocha

What is “Treading Water” about?

This song is about not letting your doubts drown you, that underneath negative-seeming experiences there is something to learn and to grow from. It’s sort of a self-help song. I wanted to have a balance of accepting how messed up the planet we live on is at the moment and more positive thinking as I feel both those feelings, of fear and love of what is going on in the world right now. There is a ton of negative stuff as well as positive things happening in culture so I want to show both sides, as that is the nature of the world we live in. Can’t have one without the other.

What inspired the song musically?

I really like trying to make hooks using less conventional sounds and it all started with the guitar riff that starts the song. I worked from there to create a solid, light and upbeat feel to the song. I think it ended up sounding more ’80s influenced than I thought it would be originally.

What inspired it lyrically?

A lot of what I talk about has to do with the simple games the mind plays with fear as well as love and the desire to control one’s own life. A lot of the issues we create happen when we don’t accept reality as well as our desire for what we don’t have materially and mentally. We need to remember that life is not always something that is logical and linear, but something that we should use to experience as much as we can and to push ourselves to destroy boundaries created by the mind.

What were some of your earliest, most formative experiences with repetition and trancelike structures?

I was always into folk music from around the world. Some of the first music I owned, scattered between Metallica CDs and Iron Maiden cassettes, was Native American flute music as well as folk music from Okinawa, Myamar, Indian classical, and so on. I feel all folk music from around the world has a trance inducing effect and similar cyclical motion to it. I grew up listening to a lot of metal and I feel death metal has a more jarring but similar cyclical, trance-inducing effect created by sheer density. The same with techno or any kind of dance music. It’s undeniably trance-inducing.

What’s the most memorable show you ever played in New York?

One show I played at Knitting Factory around 2002 with Black Dice was really memorable because many friends still talk about it to this day as being one of the loudest shows they have ever been to. I just remember being so excited that the show was sold out, and the audience wasn’t just noise dudes, but there were attractive girls there. How a weirdo band like us got to that point at that time is a bit of a mystery for me.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?

Qoo is a Japanese place I go to all the time a couple doors down from Knitting Factory, an amazing spot to get some real Japanese food. I like Zenkichi as well. Also Dumont Burger is a regular spot for me to hit up. Pies N’ Thighs is unreal, the chicken biscuit is to die for! I love Freemans but it’s too pricey to do on the regular. Five Leaves is right by my apartment and can be good as well but a bit pricey. I really want someone to open a good health food restaurant in Greenpoint or Williamsburg. Somebody make it happen please! Guilt free healthy food, could even be macro or raw… We need a healthy alternative to these rustic decadent places popping up all over.

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