Circuit Des Yeux ‎– In Plain Speech

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Thrill Jockey ‎– Thrill 392
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Vinyl, LP, Album
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Tracklist

A1 KT 1
A2 Do The Dishes
A3 Ride Blind
A4 Dream Of TV
A5 Guitar Knife
B1 Fantasize The Scene
B2 A Story Of This World
B3 KT 5
B4 In The Late Afternoon

Notes

LP pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged in an old style tip-on jacket with artworked inner sleeve and free download coupon. Black vinyl version.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 790377039214

Other Versions (4 of 4) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
thrill 392 Circuit Des Yeux In Plain Speech(Cass, Album) Thrill Jockey thrill 392 US 2015 Sell This Version
Thrill 392 Circuit Des Yeux In Plain Speech(LP, Album, Ltd, Cre) Thrill Jockey Thrill 392 US 2015 Sell This Version
thrill 392 Circuit Des Yeux In Plain Speech(CD, Album) Thrill Jockey thrill 392 US 2015 Sell This Version
Thrill 392 Circuit Des Yeux In Plain Speech(LP, Album, Cle) Thrill Jockey Thrill 392 US 2015 Sell This Version

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jtwyllie

jtwyllie

May 18, 2016
It’s ironic that enduring solitude can be the inspirational bed for music that rejects selfishness.

Sometimes it takes a year of touring, a year of reflection and perhaps a year of depression to realize that music, at its core, transcends the individual by connecting a community of people who also believe they are alone.

Like Roger Waters during the Dark Side era, Haley Fohr’s effort as Circuit des Yeux is about YOU, the listener, and how her life is not all that unique when compared to the next. And because of this approach, a willingness to write music that is more collaborative, more exciting and infinitely more inviting, Fohr has not only triumphed with her latest album In Plain Speech, she has also opened the door for other artists to do the same.

In reference to the lead singer of Pink Floyd, Waters once said that Dark Side of The Moon, an album that has sold over 40 million copies since its release in 1973, was a collection of songs that expressed “political, philosophical and humanitarian empathy.”

Compare that phrase to Fohr’s opinion of her newest album and you will notice that she is particularly self-conscious of the way her music sounds to a growing audience.

“At the end of the day I've realized I am happy that I’m an explorer, and that at my fundamental core I am an experimentalist. I feel more motherly and womanly now than I have ever felt — Proverbially, this record is me putting out my hand and asking the world to grab onto it.”

The point, however, is not to directly compare artists to one another.

Drake, for example, is the reigning king of rap’s first person narratives, similar to the veins of money mogul predecessor Jay Z, but that’s where their similarities end. As for Waters and Fohr, both artists break free from the restrictions of touring by enclosing themselves under the creative process, but that’s where their similarities end as well.

Fohr was born in Indiana but records as Circuit des Yeux, a name that refers to eyesight.

So what genre, then, does the new record by Circut des Yeux fit into? Well, it doesn't really matter to be honest.

On one end, Fohr describes it as a “coming of age” collection. She graduated from Indiana University Bloomington three years ago so her music tends to address the concerns of people in their mid-20s. On the other side, she said that she feels today’s America is rather “dark and confusing at this time,” another theme of the album.

But the truth here is that most of the songs on In Plain Speech, like “Ride Blind” in particular, feature beautiful bass play and her opera-like wails frightens, moves, and frightens some more, which is no surprise because Fohr said she spent an entire year of her life physically alone under shining lights. She toured across Europe and the U.S. without a band, without a driver and without a manager by her side.

Fohr’s extended isolation on tour influenced the direction of the new album.

To note again, the touring made her uncomfortable and it only worsened when she was once told that “artists aren't supposed to think,” “they are just supposed to do.” Well, for someone like Fohr, this can’t really be the answer because all of her music is about thinking, thinking and thinking some more. And after the sixth listen or so, after all of the musical ideas have finally seeped through your pores, YOU, the listener, will understand that the album is about the glut of folks who wonder what may go wrong with the world tomorrow.

But this is not to say that the music is completely doom and gloom. At times it’s rather triumphant, albeit in a “ha, ha, got ya!” way. And all of the credit on that end goes to the performers from Chicago who surround this production including: Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin’ Bajas), Whitney Johnson (Verma), Rob Frye (Bitchin’ Bajas), and Kathleen Baird (Spires That In The Sunset Rise).

By incorporating artists from a multitude of bands, the production of the music sounds a lot more varied than one would expect. Fohr’s last acclaimed album Overdue, a mostly solo project, managed to establish her act as deadly serious, distorted and mysterious, but that record does not have the same musical edge as In Plain Speech.

One song from a previous album titled ‘Overdue’

At the expense of making another set of comparisons, In Plain Speech is different from Overdue because it sounds like her own rendition of The Velvet Underground & Nico, a project backed by Andy Warhol, but with a modern mix similar to Explosions in the Sky. The vocals wander in wonder, but there is great purpose behind the song titles, the sequencing and even the album art.

For example, the album begins with a flute-based electronic interlude similar to phases Childish Gambino used on Because the Internet. Instead of establishing a clear cut jam with the opening song, Circuit des Yeux introduce a variety of instrumental ideas to connect one track to the next.

In the end, listeners are better off sitting with this album for the full 34 minute ride.

The second track, ironically, is the lead “single” titled “Do the Dishes,” a song with lyrics that encourages women to take risks by following their passions.

“There is something deep inside of you,” she sings. “Something that’s worth reaching into.”

That phrase repeats over well-produced electronic pitter patter, then it builds to a glimmer of bass that disappears midway through the song. It all sounds gloomy yet it glows like a faint heartbeat.

All of this certainly makes for interesting music and the NSFW video that accompanies it is also a treat to browse as well. Fohr, as an expression that mixes feminism, hope and anger, strips completely naked by the end of the song.

Music video for lead single “Do the Dishes.” This video is NSFW…don’t say I didn't warn you…

If there are any flaws at all with this album, it may come from Fohr’s singing voice which doesn't always match the instrumentation she chooses. Her style shines over the chopping drums on “Dream Of TV” and “Fantasize The Scene,” but the same cannot be said for “A Story for this World.”

That song in particular ends up sounding like a slightly off-beat ode to Neutral Milk Hotel, but I suspect that the track could have worked better if it were just another instrumental.

Nevertheless, this album parades itself as avant-garde so it may not be a first-time love for casual listeners. Those who enjoy a little complexity in their music, however, will at least appreciate the effort.

Moreover, I would encourage Fohr to continue collaborating with different artists. I might even appreciate an album from her that bites in a more sarcastic tone, something that reaches slightly for accessibility but manages to maintain its haunting integrity.

LAST CALL

In the end, Circuit des Yeux accomplished its goals with In Plain Speech. Fohr wanted longer features, she wanted something that sounded like it was meticulously composed and she wanted an album that represented an emotional exercise that bites in waves.

Without question, after eight years of artistry, Fohr managed to channel a troubling year into troubling music. If nothing else, anyone who dives into her world will feel that sense of despair too.

MY FINAL VERDICT: YES, this is inventive music from a young artist with tons of passion. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure, but it doesn't hurt to step outside a comfort zone.

https://medium.com/@JTW48/in-plain-speech-album-review-de40e7d87f8e#.s1wseex8l