Circle of Dust
|Circle of Dust|
|Genres||Industrial metal, industrial rock, electronic rock, Christian rock, gothic metal|
|Years active||1988–1998, 2015–present|
|Labels||R.E.X., Flying Tart|
|Associated acts||Celldweller, Argyle Park, Klank, Level, Angeldust|
|Past members||Daren "Klank" Diolosa
John "og" Lopez
Rich "Wretch" Fantasia
Circle of Dust is an industrial rock band formed by Klayton (then known by his birth name, Scott Albert), who is now more widely known for his Celldweller project. During its early years, Circle of Dust, along with contemporaries Mortal and Deitiphobia, brought industrial metal to the Christian alternative metal scene. Circle of Dust spawned numerous offspring projects such as Klank, fronted by former Circle of Dust guitarist Daren "Klank" Diolosa; Klayton's pseudonymous bands Argyle Park and Brainchild; and Chatterbox, which featured future members of Stavesacre.
The R.E.X. years, 1991–1995
Scott Albert formed Circle of Dust in New York City after the disbandment of his former late '80s thrash metal outfit Immortal (U.S.). Signed to R.E.X. Records in 1991, Albert self-recorded and self-produced all of the Circle of Dust material. The self-titled debut album, released by R.E.X. in 1992, has been described as "post-Pretty Hate Machine industrial pop". That same year, Albert, using the pseudonym Tox, teamed up with R.E.X. president Doug Mann that same year to create Brainchild and release Mindwarp, which featured music more intense than Circle of Dust's debut and showcased dark cyberpunk-esque lyrics that were largely political in nature, and harsher, more thrash-influenced metal guitars. The now-defunct television show MTV Sports used part of the song ”Deviate” for its long-time intro. After the release of both albums, Albert also produced the Metamorphosis compilation (1993), which collected outtakes from Circle of Dust, Mindwarp, and Living Sacrifice's Nonexistent, the latter of which featured Albert's programming work. The compilation also included Albert's own remixes of songs from each of those three albums.
In 1994, R.E.X. obtained a new distribution deal and pressed Albert for a new release. As a stopgap measure, he re-recorded and remixed portions of Brainchild's Mindwarp album and re-issued it under the Circle of Dust moniker, altering the cover art to reflect the album's new status. R.E.X., however, urged Albert, who was touring incessantly, to record a brand-new album; instead, Albert opted to completely re-record the Circle of Dust's debut and album, the sonic quality of which he had been strongly dissatisfied with. This re-issue (1995), with vastly improved musicianship and recording quality, scrapped three songs and included four new ones, but retained identical artwork. 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 the 1995 tour concluded, Circle of Dust made plans to write and record new material. Unfortunately, R.E.X. lost its distribution deal, slid into bankruptcy, and found itself unable to pay the musicians money they were owed. Even though R.E.X. was not solvent enough to distribute any new Circle of Dust material, the label refused to let Circle of Dust 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 with a variety of other projects. In 1994, he contributed to and produced a side project with members of The Crucified called Chatterbox, which released Despite, its sole album. That same year, Albert teamed up with friend Buka and began work on yet another 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 former Circle of Dust guitarist Daren "Klank" Diolosa. The unreleased songs Klank had written for Circle of Dust the year prior ended up on this album.
After Albert put Circle of Dust on hiatus in 1995, he worked with illusionist Criss Angel to work on a theatrical music and magic show called Angeldust. It was during his work with Angel that Scott Albert changed his name to Klay Scott, a nickname Angel gave him 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 also recorded 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 and contained reworkings of earlier songs (1991-1995) Scott had written, some of which he had intended to release back in 1995 on a new Circle of Dust album. Scott had rearranged and melded these older songs with new forms of music with which Scott had been experimenting, thus becoming hybrids of Scott's older, faster, riff-based industrial-metal style and newer dance and ambient influences, with a stronger focus on songwriting. Thus the album was markedly different, musically, from the earlier Circle of Dust and Brainchild albums. Scott closed the album with a selection of remixes, two of which were produced by Dan Leveler, who, it was later revealed, was Scott's younger brother and who later became a solo industrial/electronic artist in his own right, recording under the name Level. The liner notes of Disengage contains excerpts of a Klay Scott interview in which Scott explained why he had disbanded Circle of Dust and started anew with Angeldust.
Much like Scott's experiences with R.E.X., his short deal with Flying Tart provided a number of frustrations. Although Scott intended to release Disengage in 1997 and precede its release with an EP of Disengage remixes titled Refractorchasm, Flying Tart canceled the EP's release and delayed Disengage until 1998, requiring Scott to tack the EP onto Disengage in order to ensure the release of the music. The label also reduced the length of the album's art booklet, which Scott self-designed. Within two weeks of signing his contract with Flying Tart, the label was bought out and dissolved, ensuring the album saw extremely limited distribution.
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 had been sufficient enough that, in the early 2000s, a small independent record company called Retroactive Records obtained the rights to the old Circle of Dust, Argyle Park, Brainchild, and Metamorphosis albums, remastered them, and re-issued them in limited runs of 1,000 each. However, Retroactive Records produced the re-issues without the creative input or supervision of Klayton, who has expressed his displeasure at the fact that his old works were marketed again without his permission and without him receiving any royalties.
As early as 1994, Circle of Dust (along with Argyle Park) had been criticized heavily by some Christian music press and by numerous fans for not having religious enough lyrics, or for prioritizing music over evangelism. These issues culminated in Klay Scott abandoning the Christian music industry entirely after the release of Disengage, a decision he explained at great length in a 1998 interview with HM Magazine.
In November 2015, Klayton announced that he had obtained the rights to the entire Circle of Dust catalog, including the Metamorphosis compilation and Argyle Park side project, and decided to revive his Circle of Dust moniker, stating on YouTube, "I ... decided to dive back into production as Circle of Dust for the new Celldweller album. I wanted to take what I'm doing now and reinterpret it in the way I used to produce. ... There is an official Circle of Dust remix of "Jericho" on End of an Empire. ... There's another track coming, brand-new, with Circle of Dust involved in the production, and it will be in your hands before the end of this year." Klayton also announced the 2016 re-release (with bonus content) of the entire Circle of Dust catalog on his FiXT label.
- Circle of Dust (1992, 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)
- Celldweller's End of an Empire – "Jericho (Circle of Dust Remix)" (2015)
- Circle of Dust/Brainchild split 7" EP (1993, R.E.X.) – "Dissolved" (Circle of Dust) and "Telltale Crime" (Brainchild)
- Metamorphosis: Brainchild / Living Sacrifice / Circle of Dust Remixes (1993, R.E.X.) – "Dissolved (Disintegration Dub)," "Consequence (Temporary Mix)," "Consequence (Eternal Mix)," "Self Inflict," and "Daraq"
- A Steve Taylor Tribute: I Predict a Clone (1994, R.E.X.) – "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) – "Parasite"
- Compe Noctem Volume 1 (1998, Bleeding Edge Media/Carpe Noctem Magazine) – "Goodbye"
- Jack of All Trades - Master of None: An Unauthorized Discography of the Works of Klay Scott (1999 authorized bootleg) – "Refractor" (with interview intro), "Deviate," "Rational Lies," "Onenemy" (unreleased acoustic demo), "Heldweller," and a Klay Scott interview
- Jack of All Trades - Master of None 2: An Unauthorized Discography of the Works of Klay Scott (2000 authorized bootleg) – "Nothing Sacred," "Descend" (Brainchild), "Consequence (Temporary Mix)," "Dissolved (Disintegration Dub)," "Consequence (Eternal Mix)," "Chasm," "Am I in Sync?", and "Goodbye"
- Lightning Strikes Twice: A Retroactive Records Sampler (2006, Retroactive Records) – "Regressor"
- Lightning Strikes Twice Again (Vol Two) (2006, Retroactive Records) – "Refractor"
- Waters, Scott (2007). "Circle of Dust". No Life 'til Metal. Open Publishing. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
- Torreano, Bradley (2007). "Circle of Dust - Circle of Dust". Allmusic. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
- "Circle of Dust Biography". Automatapedia. Open Publishing. 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
- Pyle, Josh. "Radio Free Wheaton interview with Circle of Dust". Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- "Klay Scott interview with RIM Magazine". Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- "dusted.com archive - reviews - Gavin". Gavin. Archived from the original on November 4, 1999. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- "dusted.com archive - live images". Archived from the original on April 15, 2000. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- "Klank interview". hardradio.com. January 14, 1997. Retrieved April 11, 2009.[dead link]
- "Circle of Dust interview". The Garlic Press. 1997. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Klay Scott: Jack of All Trades
- "dusted.com archive-reviews-Transcendence". Transcendence. Archived from the original on June 19, 2002. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- Morrow, Matt. "Klayton: Circle of Dust on leaving R.E.X. Records". HM Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
- "Ask Celldweller EP.30: Official Circle of Dust Announcement and more!", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8EieWg94Eg
- 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.