Circular Reasoning (n.):
1. An informal logical fallacy in which the one uses the conclusion as a premise for the argument.
2. An organic, unconventional retrofitting of classic funk and R&B.
Circular Reasoning was conceived on a rainy night in Lynnwood, Washington in 2011 when Mikko was visited by Rick James in a dream and presented with a series of cohesive and well-constructed arguments about why Circular Reasoning should exist. The project has evolved into a tapestry of lustrous compositions accented by edgy, audacious horn arrangements, aiming to create a globally-appealing sound cultivated on the fertile grounds of the Seattle music scene.
The rootsy, authentic R&B side of Circular Reasoning’s music draws from the uninhibited world of early-70’s soul, owing tribute to such artists as Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron, and Shuggie Otis. The psychedelic side of Circular Reasoning paints a backdrop of thick, ethereal harmonies behind zephyrous melodies. The band’s sound also draws heavily from the transcendent grooves of old-school funk bands like the Ohio Players and Heatwave as well as flashy, titanic horn sections of Tower of Power and Brick. Amongst stone grooves and lyrical sharpness, the horns constitute the centerpiece of the proverbial soul table.
After a musical journey with many directions and explorations, Circular Reasoning released an EP entitled “The Fish EP” in June 2014. The original idea was a hard-hitting horn-rock band with the pneumatic prowess of early Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The path diverted somewhat to a more texturally-oriented approach with attentiveness to the balance between improvisation and program. Today, Circular Reasoning romps about Seattle spewing tidings of fresh groovitude and unorthodox lyrical musings for the listening pleasure of those who least expect it. The band released a debut full-length album in early 2016.
“Remember,” said Rick on that fateful night, “All you need is some new ideas, accessible grooves, and pretentious descriptions and liner notes.”
The leader of Circular Reasoning is keyboardist and composer Mikko Johnson, who can be found writing music in ballpoint pen on the backs of coasters in various smoky Seattle-area dive bars.
Driving rhythm guitar grooves and soaring lead melodies are provided by Jim Sloan, who can be found on his porch thinking about amps, effects pedals, and particle physics.
Dynamic basswork is provided by David Murray, master of all things low, who can be found stuck in gridlocked traffic en route to a gig with the music blasting and just the back passenger’s-side window rolled down.
Industrious funky frameworks are provided on the tubs by drummer Dylan “Swig” Swiggett, who can occasionally be found writing code on a laptop on a park bench while enjoying the ambience of chirping birds.
Vigorous and ambitious trumpeting is provided by Ken “K-Wells” Weller, who can be found on the roof of his house honking away and inadvertently scaring off all of the squirrels.
Charismatic and unreserved saxophoning is provided by Charlie “Chuckles” Phillips, who can be found on the beach clam-digging and deriving musical inspiration from the crashing of waves, the smell of saltwater, and whatever sounds clams make.