Thanks to haunting songs like "What's There Left," the minimal synth duo Nine Circles left an impression that lasted long after the group's brief initial run in the early '80s.
When singer/songwriter Lidia "The Rose" Fiala learned of the project's cult status among synth-pop fans, she resurrected the project -- whose name comes from Dante Alighieri's vision of Hell in the epic poem The Divine Comedy -- in the 2010s. Fiala began playing music early on, learning to play harmonica at age four and writing her own songs in her teens. While living in Amsterdam in 1980, she met and fell in love with electronic musician Peter Van Garderen; they formed Nine Circles when the members of Van Garderen's group Genetic Factor disbanded to make music with their respective girlfriends. One of his former bandmates, Richard Zeilstra, was the host of the VPRO radio show Spleen, which featured new wave bands including Nine Circles. Their performances of "Twinkling Stars" and "What's There Left" were featured on 1982's Radionome compilation; another song, "How's About the Aims in Life," appeared on the Colonial Vipers collection from that year. Though the pair wrote about 60 songs during their time together, by 1982 Van Garderen and Fiala's romantic and musical partnerships were finished.
That might have been it for Nine Circles if Fiala's son Patrick hadn't searched for her name on the Internet and discovered the band's history, including the release of a 1996 German collection issued without Fiala's knowledge. Upon learning of the interest in Nine Circles, Fiala began the project again in 2010 -- minus Van Garderen, who didn't wish to return, but sent her their '80s recordings. After a stint with keyboardist Johanna Saleina, Fiala settled on Per-Anders Kurenbach as her new collaborator in 2012. Several of Nine Circles' vintage recordings appeared on compilations around this time, including Cold Waves + Minimal Electronics and Nullzeit, while the collection Early Days arrived in 2012 via Genetic Records. Two years later, Fiala and Kurenbach returned with Nine Circles' first new music in decades. The Belgian single Number Not Available/The Face Behind a Clown appeared in early 2014, heralding the release of Nine Circles' first full-length Alice that September. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi