|Circuit des Yeux|
|In Plain Speech|
Circuit des Yeux — In Plain Speech ♠ Haunting experimental/contemporary avant–garde project of Indiana native Haley Fohr.
♠ Surrounding the album announcement, we discussed the ideas that informed In Plain Words, embracing collaboration, and more. That’s the album’s cover above, and the album trailer on YouTube, both by Julia Dretel.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Album release: May 19th, 2015
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
01 KT 1 0:44
02 Do The Dishes 3:33
03 Ride Blind 3:56
04 Dream Of TV 7:49
05 Guitar Knife 2:45
06 Fantasize The Scene 3:55
07 A Story Of This World 7:25
08 KT 5 0:40
09 In The Late Afternoon 3:59
♠ Fohr has written, and on this record she is looking at the world around her in a big–picture way. “I think it is important to question authority, society, the way things are, and ask why they can’t be different,” Fohr says. “My generation (millennials) was raised on this short term, goal oriented mind set where everything is disposable and easily replaced. Nothing is sacred in 2015. And I mean absolutely nothing. That is interesting on many levels, but there are consequences that we are just beginning to see.” — Haley Fohr
♠ Haley Fohr s music strikes a unique balance between the personal and universal. As Circuit des Yeux she creates music that embodies the complexity of human emotions, juxtaposing tenderness and grief, ecstasy and horror, using sounds as representations of the emotional spectrum that we all experience. Fohr s striking voice, an impassioned baritone, is the music s centerpiece and guiding force. On In Plain Speech, Fohr is joined by some of the most progressive musicians in the Chicago music community; Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas), Whitney Johnson (Verma), Rob Frye (Bitchin Bajas), Adam Luksetich (Little Scream), and Kathleen Baird (Spires That In The Sunset Rise). Fohr cements her reputation as a fearless songwriter and inventive arranger with this stirring collection of songs that are both gorgeous and emotionally potent.
♠ In Plain Speech represents the start of a new, more collaborative chapter for Circuit des Yeux. While previous works were solo affairs, not only in performance, but emotionally tied to a sense of confinement and place, these new songs were composed after a move to a collective living space, giving Fohr an opportunity to break free of the isolation that informed her previous albums. Fohr brought her community, literally, to the recording. In Plain Speech continues her collaboration with Crain, but it is her first recording with a full band, who are all leaders in Chicago's new wave of creative musicians. Her songs, while always potent when delivered solo, shine in this new band context. Companionship and solidarity are themes woven throughout the album. Do The Dishes is a meditation on sisterhood, and a message to other women to take risks, follow their passions deeply and to love themselves. Fantasize the Scene explores the idea of eternal friendship.
♠ Extensive touring after Circuit des Yeux s acclaimed 2013 album Overdue influenced the making of the album in several ways. On that tour, which stretched for months throughout Europe and the US, Fohr toured solo, no band, no tour manager, no driver, and in that solitude learned to commune with the audience in a way that she hadn t ever before. That connection sparked in her mind a conversation with the audience, and many of the lyrics on In Plain Speech are directed at you, the listener. She also became acutely aware of disquiet, a pervasive anxiety, which permeated society in almost every city she visited. I felt an uneasiness that superseded phonetic communication, she writes. Something dim is in the air, and it is looming large. This anxiety creeped into songs like A Story Of This World, which is a call for change of priorities and values among the world s leadership.
♠ Fohr will tour with the musicians who play on In Plain Speech throughout 2015. If the band s debut show is any indication, these shows will be lush and captivating, the band enhancing her already compelling performances. Fohr self–released her 2013 album Overdue, which was praised by NPR, Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more — an impressive display of support for an artist working on her own. 2015 will certainly bring many more exciting chapters in Fohr s ongoing story. ♠ http://www.amazon.com/
LARS GOTRICH, MAY 10, 201511:03 PM ET
♠ If we’re always listening, we’re always changing. Last year was a time of transformation for Circuit des Yeux's Haley Fohr, as she toured to support the self–released Overdue. After a solo set at the Hopscotch Music Festival in September left her questioning both the crowd’s intentions and her own, Fohr wrote, “I feel that I must arm myself with sound, with musicians, and take back what I feel has been stolen from me with an army of friends and supporters.” So after years of mostly going alone, In Plain Speech is Fohr’s invitation to change.
♠ Like her friend and fellow Chicagoan Ryley Walker’s recent Primrose Green, the songwriter and multi–instrumenalist surrounds herself with some of the city's most creative — and, more importantly, most sympathetic — musicians on In Plain Speech: Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas), Whitney Johnson (Verma), Rob Frye (Bitchin Bajas), Adam Luksetich (Little Scream) and Kathleen Baird (Spires That In The Sunset Rise). It's one thing to collaborate cold; it’s another to find colleagues who understand a vision and even help develop it.
♠ What made records like Overdue and Portrait so compelling was raw intensity found in solitude, and with In Plain Speech, Fohr doesn’t so much dial back as refocus that intensity in arrangements that glide even as they exude delirious urgency. A palm–muted bass and rolling drums provide a disorienting helicopter rhythm to "Ride Blind" as Fohr richly intones, “Are you blind like me?” It becomes a swirling circus as Whitney Johnson's viola swoops around Adam Luksetich's fuzz bass and off–kilter snare hits, not to mention Fohr's bewildering howl, which recalls '60s free–jazz vocalist Patty Waters. The dreamlike "Dream Of TV" is Circuit des Yeux in instrumental mode, centered on the way Kathleen Baird's looped flute curves the air with dizzying effects, taking advantage of a band that knows how to build to noisy euphoria.
♠ But even as Fohr opens her studio to collaboration, In Plain Speech is at its most striking when she pares down to a trio. Built around samples from a Laotian ethnographic record, "Do The Dishes" is an arpeggiated meditation on the feminism of the everyday, a theme amplified in the powerful (and NSFW) music video. “There is something deep inside of you / Something that's worth reaching into,” Fohr repeats as a mantra, repeats as truth, repeats as a challenge as she continues, “It makes me tremble / It makes me shake / It’s a risk I’m willing to take.” The cyclical samples reach a fever pitch with Johnson's viola and come to a sudden stop, transitioning to Cooper Crain’s synth–droned denouement in a moment to reflect. "Fantasize The Scene" is Fohr at her most subdued, as it takes on the dark acoustic songs of her past and — with viola, bass and drums — gives it a moving body that sinks into a descending chord progression. “A Story Of The World” flutters with flute and bass clarinet, droning on a monochord like a Roy Harper acoustic epic of yesteryear.
♠ Since 2008, Circuit des Yeux has been a singular entity, drawing from inner turmoil. But as Fohr recently told Impose, "I can't afford solitude at this point in my life." Looking outward at the world around her and the relationships that give her meaning, In Plain Speech is Fohr at her most composed and confident. It wanders while brimming with hope.
♠ The band name Circuit des Yeux refers to “nerve in the eye that supplies power to the act of seeing,” Fohr has written, and on this record she is looking at the world around her in a big–picture way. “I think it is important to question authority, society, the way things are, and ask why they can’t be different,” Fohr says. “My generation (millennials) was raised on this short term, goal oriented mind set where everything is disposable and easily replaced. Nothing is sacred in 2015. And I mean absolutely nothing. That is interesting on many levels, but there are consequences that we are just beginning to see.”
|Circuit des Yeux|
|In Plain Speech|