“An ethereal and almost spiritual journey” – The Sounds Won’t Stop (US)
“Unique soundscapes and fascinating ambience” – Post-Rock Central (UK)
“For fans of calm, ambient-oriented post-rock” – AM:plified Magazine (DE)
“A Spectral Moon is a hauntingly beautiful debut” – Luminous Dash (BE)
“Cinematic and fairytale-esque” – 3voor12 Utrecht (NL)
An ambient instrumental post-rock project by English musician Pete Barnes (Utrecht, NL).
New album Circles is the follow-up to 2022’s debut A Spectral Moon, based on a serious cycling accident that literally catapulted Barnes into disarray in November 2020. Written during an extended recovery period and far from family and friends in England, Circles is inspired by personal struggles with health, acceptance and letting go of the past. Post concussion syndrome symptoms forced Barnes to live a secluded life out of necessity, and during this time music became the ideal therapy. The result is a powerful ambient instrumental record inspired by Brexit, Covid and the difficult, ongoing path to Barnes’ recovery.
The feeling of literally going around in circles is a recurring theme on the album; 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. Barnes was restricted by his physical inability to travel, a situation which was made even more untenable by a worldwide pandemic as well as Brexit.
Following the release of A Spectral Moon, Thistle Sifter played a handful of audiovisual concerts across the Netherlands in 2022, including AFAS Live in Amsterdam (with Sigur Rós) and Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht. The live line-up features Pete Barnes (guitar & synths), Tom Broshuis (guitar), Rob Wickham (bass & synths), Koen Klarenbeek (drums).
Photo by Lisanne Lentink