Who Are You is the first full-length release by Eddie Ruscha under his given name since donning the Secret Circuit guise in 2010 to administer an electronic antidote to the psychedelic / shoegaze dirge that dominated his formative music-making. Between Secret Circuit’s two 12” EPs and a colossal full length, Tactile Galactics, on Beats In Space in 2013 and now, Ruscha has remained wildly prolific producing unfathomable fouron-the-floor formulas for the best and brightest labels outside of Space. The Secret Circuit hiatus suggests a return to self and an unmasked, untethered musical language, an approach Ruscha describes as “exploring melody that can mutate as different shades of beauty.” Rhythm plays a supporting role on Who Are You, an album with less concern over club constrictions and more contemplation of open, unbound spaces, areas in which Ruscha sees the music capturing “the feeling of a lost day.”
Who Are You further pares down the dub, tropicalia, and Afro / cosmic influences that have historically placed Secret Circuit at the dance music fringe, repurposing them as concerted instrumentals whose melodic themes are so lyrical they appear song-like, expressive without words. Brought to mind are similar instrumentalists such as Vini Reilly, Wally Badarou, Mark and Clive Ives of Woo, and contemporaries such as Gaussian Curve and Suzanne Kraft, a collaborator of Eddie’s.
A blend of electronic instruments with added emphasis on the ‘human touch’ of indigenous strings and guitar creates a parallel universe to WAY. On one track, the Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer adds an immersive, score-like quality to the music, reanimating the romantic sides of the album’s retrospective influences without vintage fetishization. On the other, ECM jazz chords velcro to percussive patterns in compositions that feel simultaneously open-ended and total. The exploratory quality of the tracks when intersected embraces a sense of wandering and the album’s intentional ‘lostness.’
Ruscha describes Who Are You as spanning states “from calm to ecstatic but mostly in-between these.” Though it’s an elliptical view, the description points toward the liminal atmospherics of the music, which dispose of the many hallmark genre traces that informed Secret Circuit’s galactic journeying. For Who Are You, Ruscha was content to wander more intimate environments, in search of an uncharted music rippling with humble discovery.