Toronto DJ/Production Duo Circle Research Sign To URBNET

Toronto DJ/Production Duo Circle Research Sign To URBNET

Circle Research, the globally acclaimed Toronto DJ/production duo, have signed with URBNET, Canada’s pre-eminent urban music label. Their latest LP Gardiner Express is the group’s third, coming on the heels of their much-loved Toronto hip-hop mix show (now a popular podcast on the web) and stellar production work with luminaries such as Ivana Santilli and K-OS.

Appearing just a year after the duo’s sophomore effort, Who?, was released on Germany’s Melting Pot Records, Cricle Research’s newest album marks a clear evolution in the group’s unmistakable sound. For Nik and Gil, the title Gardiner Express doesn’t just refer to the main highway connecting downtown Toronto to its uptown counterparts, it also represents a state of mind.

“We were at the stage where we were naming the songs,” Nik explains, “and I suggested 401 (a highway that connects northern Toronto) but Gil was like, ‘Gardiner Express–” Gil adds — “From there, we realized this name had encompassed the overall feeling of the album. It reminds us when we were growing up in Etobicoke (a Toronto suburb), zooming down the highway towards the city on a Saturday night, blasting whatever was in heavy rotation at the time.”

While the classic analog boom-bap vibe of their original efforts is still the focus, the duo feel Gardiner Express marks their most personal music to date. The songs touch on themes of love and alienation in the 21st century — coolly aided by the duo’s recent embrace of some fresh beat-making tricks and technology.

For instance, it’s out with the familiar Pro Tools rig and in with the Akai MPC 6000 sampling drum machine (a long-time J-Dilla favorite). And while the beat-loving duo aren’t making plans to audition for Canadian Idol just yet, they’ve added a new wrinkle to the mix.

“Vocoders and talk-boxes are cool,” says Nik. “They let guys like us – who don t rap or sing – express ourselves vocally, while adding a distinctly electronic edge that compliments our music”

Circle Research’s third album Gardiner Express will be released on URBNET, Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

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