Since 2010, Reptar drummer Andrew McFarland has operated on the side under the name Semicircle, attaching the moniker to “any number of little projects and experiments I did,” he says, before deciding to transform it into a sort of performance art project. Early on, McFarland brought a rotating cast of characters into the fold in hopes of maintaining a vibrant, if admittedly volatile, creative atmosphere.
“I wanted to turn [my live performances] into an attempted exposition of the collective unconscious,” he says. “Basically, the shows were completely open-invitation—anyone who wanted to play, musician or not, could come be a part of bringing these songs to life. The hypothesis was that it should have been complete cacophony, like 100 percent nonsense…
“About half [of the shows] were really magical,” McFarland continues. “The other half were complete chaos, which was awesome.” Still, friends noticed the often immaculate hooks buried underneath all the damage, and they began urging the songwriter to begin “[performing] the songs in earnest.”
That urging ultimately led to the creation of Semicircle’s as-yet untitled upcoming debut full-length. If the first taste is to be believed, the album—recorded by McFarland and bandmate/fellow Reptar-ee Ryan Engelberger and mixed and mastered at Chase Park Transduction—retains the artistic energy of the group’s early outings while leaving behind their more implosive, anarchic qualities.
Today, Flagpole is happy to premiere the album’s first single, “Underground Rivers of Glass,” which you can stream below. The track, a nearly six-minute prog-pop wonder, is alternately delicate and driving, a frail human skeleton of a song with a heart of steel.
“I’ve always imagined Semicircle as a sort of opposite of Reptar,” says McFarland. “Where Reptar takes emotions and pushes them out, Semicircle looks in and confronts human grey areas and darkness. Just by nature, the project is way more introspective.
“Plus,” he adds, “I really like singin’ and playin that-there guitar.”
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