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Album: CircuitalReleased: 2011
This is the title track of American alternative rock band My Morning Jacket's sixth album. The song was recorded inside a church's converted gymnasium in the band's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Said frontman Jim James: "I hate the phrase 'going back to our roots', but for this record we came home and made it in Kentucky. And it just felt a lot like it did when we were first starting out."
James co-produced the record with Tucker Martine. The pair first worked together when James appeared on Laura Veirs' album July Flame in 2010, which Martine, Veirs' husband, also produced.
According to a review on the Antiquiet
site, this spaced-out seven minute jam fosters, "the album's central themes about growing older and wiser, but with a respect for past experiences."
James discussed his songwriting process for Circuital with American Songwriter: "It just kind of comes in waves, that's the way my brain works. I work in a three-part phase, where something has to come to me in a very raw, rough form, like a melody and a drum beat. Then I'll take some time at home and sit with it and work with it, and try to make it a more realized thing. The third step is to show it to the guys and see what they think about it, throw our input on it, and turn it into what it becomes for us. It's weird. Unless something comes, I don't have a reason to sit down and work, or sit down at a desk with a guitar and start strumming to see what happens."
The seven-minute song builds to a long crescendo around James' voice and dueling guitar and piano. The band nailed the recording that can be heard on the record on just the second take.
Jim James explained the song's meaning to UK newspaper The Sun: "It's about life's circular nature... How we are all born of this crazy void that nobody can really describe or put a name to. Even though we try with religion and new age philosophy, no one really knows for sure.
We are born and we travel around life's 'circuit' then we all complete the circle and return back to the same void from where we came to pass on to something different."