Circle of Dust
|Circle of Dust|
Flying Tart Records
Daren "Klank" Diolosa
John "og" Lopez
Circle of Dust was a 1990s Industrial rock band created and run by Klayton (then known as Scott Albert, his birth name) who is now more widely known for his solo band Celldweller. Circle of Dust was, along with contemporaries Mortal and Deitiphobia, instrumental in bringing industrial metal to the Christian alternative metal scene. Circle of Dust spawned numerous offspring projects such as Klank, fronted by Circle of Dust guitarist Daren "Klank" Diolosa; Argyle Park and Brainchild, pseudonymous side bands of Klayton's; and CHATTERbOX, which featured future members of Stavesacre.
The R.E.X. years, 1991–1995
Circle of Dust was formed in New York City by Scott Albert after his former late 80s thrash metal outfit Immortal (USA) disbanded. Albert recorded and produced all of the Circle of Dust material himself, and was signed to R.E.X. Records in 1991. The debut self-titled album was released in 1992 and has been described as "post-Pretty Hate Machine industrial pop". That same year, Albert also teamed up with the president of R.E.X., Doug Mann, to create a project called Brainchild while using the pseudonym Tox. The Brainchild album was released with the title Mindwarp in 1992 and was more extreme than Circle of Dust, showcasing dark cyberpunk-esque lyrics that were largely political in nature, and harsher, more thrash-influenced metal guitars. Part of the song ”Deviate” was used as the intro for a long time in the now defunct MTV Sports show. After the release of both albums, Albert also put together a compilation titled Metamorphosis. This compilation, released in 1993, brought together outtakes from Circle of Dust, Mindwarp, and Living Sacrifice's Nonexistent, on which Albert had done some programming work. The compilation also included remixes of songs from each of those three albums done by Albert himself.
In 1994, R.E.X. got a new distribution deal and pressed Albert for a new release. As a stopgap measure, he had R.E.X. re-issue Mindwarp as a Circle of Dust album, with the title of the album switched to Brainchild. The re-issue featured a newly recorded parts to update several songs as well as an new audio mix and altered cover art to reflect the change in band and title. After this, however, R.E.X. wanted a brand new album from Albert, who was busy with touring; he instead opted to completely re-record the debut Circle of Dust album, the sonic quality of which he had been strongly dissatisfied with. This re-issue, which came out in 1995, scrapped three of the old songs and included four new ones, but kept the same artwork. The musicianship and recording quality overall were vastly improved. Circle of Dust toured heavily to promote both re-issues. The live touring band, by this point, included Daren "Klank" Diolosa on guitars, Chris Donohue on bass and keyboard, and Jason Tilton on drums.
When touring ended in 1995 and the members of Circle of Dust were making plans to write and record new material, R.E.X. lost its distribution deal and slid into bankruptcy. The label was unable to pay the musicians money they were owed, would not be able to distribute any new music they did create, and would not let them out of their contract to seek another label. As a result, Albert opted to disband the touring lineup and put Circle of Dust on hiatus while awaiting the outcome of R.E.X.'s financial situation.
In between touring and recording for Circle of Dust, Albert kept busy by having his hand in a variety of other projects. In 1994 he contributed to and produced a side project of members of The Crucified called Chatterbox, which put out one album called Despite. Also in 1994, Albert teamed up with friend Buka and began work on his own side project Argyle Park under three pseudonyms, Dred, Deathwish and Celldweller. Argyle Park would go on to attain notoriety equal to that of Circle of Dust, losing the distinction of being a mere side project. In 1996, Albert produced and programmed Still Suffering, the debut album of his former Circle of Dust guitarist Daren "Klank" Diolosa. The unreleased songs that Klank had written for Circle of Dust the year before ended up on this album.
After Albert lay Circle of Dust to rest in 1995, he began to work with illusionist Criss Angel to work on a theatrical music and magic show called Angeldust. It was at this point that Scott Albert changed his name to Klay Scott, a nickname given by Angel to denote his ability to "take sounds and shape them as if they were clay". Scott and Angel worked for over two years to finalize their multi-media show and released an initial album of music in 1998 called Musical Conjurings from the World of Illusion. During that same period of creativity, Scott was also putting together a posthumous Circle of Dust album as a formal gesture of farewell.
Released in 1998 by Flying Tart Records, Disengage marked the formal end of Circle of Dust. The album contained the remnants of songs that Scott had written from 1991 to 1995, some of which had been intended for a new Circle of Dust album in 1995. These old songs had been rearranged and melded with the new forms of music Scott had been experimenting with in the meantime, becoming hybrids of Scott's older, faster riff-based industrial metal style and newer influences of dance and ambient, with a stronger focus on songwriting. Thus the album was markedly different, musically, from the old Circle of Dust and Brainchild albums. The album was closed out by a selection of remixes, two of which were done by Dan Leveler, whom, it was later revealed, was Scott's younger brother and later went on to become a solo industrial/electronic artist himself, recording under the name Level. The liner notes of Disengage contained bits and pieces of an interview Scott had done in which he explained why he had chosen to disband Circle of Dust and start anew with Angeldust.
Much like Scott's experiences with R.E.X., his short deal with Flying Tart provided a number of frustrations: initially scheduled for release in 1997 with the remixes being released beforehand on their own EP, Disengage was pushed back to 1998 and appeared with the remixes tacked onto the end, as the EP had been canceled. The album's art booklet, created and designed entirely by Scott, was also cut back by the label, and Flying Tart itself was bought out and dissolved two weeks after Scott signed the contract, ensuring that the album saw very limited distribution, contrary to what had been promised.
Reception and controversy
Circle of Dust was popular in Christian alternative metal circles during most of the 1990s. Unusual for an underground alternative Christian band of the time, Circle of Dust gained nearly as much exposure and appreciation in mainstream industrial audiences as it did among Christian audiences. Circle of Dust, along with Argyle Park, are regularly cited as influences by modern day Christian industrial, industrial metal, and electronic rock bands. Continued interest has been sufficient enough that in the early 2000s a small independent record company called Retroactive Records bought the rights to the old Circle of Dust, Argyle Park, and Brainchild albums and began to remaster and re-issue them in limited runs of 1,000. However, these re-issues have been done without any input from Klayton himself, who has stated displeasure at the fact that his old works are being marketed again without his say and without him receiving any royalties.
Circle of Dust (and Argyle Park) was criticized heavily by some Christian music press and by many fans for not having religious enough lyrics, or for putting evangelism second and music first, as far back as 1994. These issues culminated in Klay Scott entirely abandoning the Christian music industry after the release of Disengage, a decision he explained at great extent in an interview with HM Magazine in 1998.
- Circle of Dust (1992, R.E.X.)
- Metamorphosis (1993, R.E.X.)
- Brainchild (1994, R.E.X.)
- Circle of Dust Re-Recording (1995, R.E.X.)
- Disengage (1998, Flying Tart Records, Review: HM Magazine)
- Telltale Crime (1992 VHS release of Telltale Crime video)
- Circle of Dust/Brainchild Split 7" EP (1993, R.E.X.)
- Brainchild/Living Sacrifice/Circle Of Dust|Metamorphosis (1993, R.E.X.)
- Jack Of All Trades - The Unofficial Biography Of Klay Scott (1994)
- I Predict A Clone (1994, R.E.X.) (A tribute to Steve Taylor) - "Am I In Sync?"
- Can You Dig It? III (1994, R.E.X.) – "Regressor (Aggressive Mix)" and "Dissolved"
- Doom & Gloom: Visions of the Apocalypse (1995, Nesak International Records)
- Compe Noctem Volume 1 (1998, Bleeding Edge Media/Carpe Noctem Magazine) - "Goodbye"
- Lightning Strikes Twice (Industrial Compilation) – "Parasite"
- Waters, Scott (2007). "Circle of Dust". No Life 'til Metal. Open Publishing. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- Torreano, Bradley (2007). "Circle of Dust - Circle of Dust". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- "Circle of Dust Biography". Automatapedia. Open Publishing. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- Morrow, Matt. "Klayton: Circle of Dust on leaving R.E.X. Records". HM Magazine. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- Pyle, Josh (late 1994). "Radio Free Wheaton interview with Circle of Dust". Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- "Klay Scott interview with RIM Magazine". late 1997. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- "dusted.com archive - reviews - Gavin". Gavin. Archived from the original on 4 November 1999. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- "dusted.com archive - live images". Archived from the original on 15 April 2000. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- "Klank interview". hardradio.com. 14 January 1997. Retrieved 2009-04-11.[dead link]
- "Circle of Dust interview". The Garlic Press. 1997. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
- Klay Scott: Jack of All Trades
- "dusted.com archive-reviews-Transcendence". Transcendence. Archived from the original on 19 June 2002. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- McGovern, Brian Vincent (July/August 1998). "Album Reviews: CIRCLE OF DUST Disengage". HM Magazine (72). ISSN 1066-6923.
- Note: The band's official website was located at http://www.dusted.com and went offline in late 2002, but archives can still be viewed on The Wayback Machine.
- Some Circle of Dust related info is available at Klay's Celldweller site: http://www.celldweller.com.
- Circle of Dust on Leaving R.E.X. Records (from HM Magazine)
- Circle of Dust info and bio