Made up of the impressive component parts of indie folk luminary Jo Mango, and Californian troubadour, A. Wesley Chung (The Great Albatross/ Boris Smile), Circle Meets Dot is a meeting of minds, sparking with energy blending Scottish folk Californian alt-country to form something truly magical.
Despite having been friends for a number of years, and both having been high profile collaborators (Mango with the likes of Vashti Bunyan, Norman Blake, Admiral Fallow, RM Hubbert; and Chung with Avi Buffalo, Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It and Kate Grube of Kittyhawk) it took a songwriting weekend away teaching others to set the first embers of Circle Meets Dot smouldering. Having set others the challenges of writing their own song, the pair soon thought – “why don't we?”. After squirreling themselves away in a corner of the kitchen, carefully crafting every word and note of melody together, they formed their first song ‘Two Tiny Builders’, which is also the lead track from their debut EP.
With Chung wanting to explore more of his country and American folk influences and Mango hankering to be in a band where she “didn't have to cart about 25 different wee instruments” to her shows, the pair relished in the opportunity to work on a project with no pressure or expectation; something that could just be fun. Despite forming Circle Meets Dot as something for themselves, the duo’s early demos caught the attention of Lloyd at Olive Grove, who was so impressed by what he heard that he begged them to be part of the series of Archipelago EPs. Thankfully they agreed and in late 2019, Mango and Chung recorded their debut EP with Paul ‘Gal’ Gallagher (Kid Canaveral, Man of Moon, Broken Chanter) at Glenwood Studio in Glasgow.
Slow, considered melodies weave their way throughout Circle Meets Dot’s debut, with meditations on aspects of time, pondering on the future and the past. Mango expands: “a lot of them explore difficulties of love - the challenges of building a life with or without someone. They mostly aim towards hope and encouragement and rebuilding though.”
Given their different musical backgrounds, it should come as no surprise that Mango and Chung’s approach to writing songs together was different each time, giving each song their own unique feel. The partnership saw Chung generating the starting point of a harmonic idea, with Mango then bringing in the lyrical ideas. ‘The Walnut and the Hammer’ is just one example of their perfect pairing with Chung having written a harmony and melody for a song which just happened to fit perfectly with lyrics that Mango had in waiting.
On Circle Meets Dot’s debut, Mango and Chung have managed to produce something spellbinding in its elegance and virtuosity; we’re lucky to have them.