Rhythmic Theory has specialized in stirring dance floor riddims, but on Circulation he shelves that approach in favour of more listenable compositions. Mood and melody are now at the forefront, which hits a heart-tugging peak on "Waldrons Lament." It swoops in on tender strings, a soft-grumbling pulse and what sounds like the wispy fragments of a siren, soon bringing in morose chords, a sad sax and more ethereal strings. It's quite beautiful, as is "Interlude," a serene and woozy wash of synth with the sparest amount of percussion.
At the other end of things is the aptly titled "Creeper," crawling on its belly through murky dub textures. Of everything on Circulation, this track sounds the most fully grounded in Bristol. There are swirling, oppressive atmospheres and the paranoia of too much weed smoke. Its minimal, broken percussion plugs into the city's dubstep legacy, but this isn't a head-nodder, nor is it all about bass. In essence, Circulation is a headphone album, which has been clearly crafted with a bigger picture in mind. If there's a fault in that, it's that Rhythmic Theory has downplayed some of his strengths in pursuit of a subtler sound. But Circulation doesn't have to pummel to leave a mark.