Album Review: Circuit Des Yeux – In Plain Speech

Circuit des Yeux

In Plain Speech

Circuit des Yeux, the project of Chicago-based experimental songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Haley Fohr, is winding circuits around the world touring her latest release, In Plain Speech. The album’s release in May has launched an ambitious tour cycle that has will keep her and her collaborators moving until November. On August 26, they will perform at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City.

“This is the most extravagant touring rig I’m bringing around,” she beamed. “I’ve never toured with a full band before, but it’s been great. It sounds really full and beautiful.”   

She added that the full touring band is an exciting way to execute the full sound of her compositions without relying on additional technology often employed by solo artists with a more compositional or experimental lean.

Upcoming Show: Circuit Des Yeux

Gabe’s — Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m.

“I’m kind of against the sampler in principle but it’s the only way to do this track. The sampler is only used on one song, and sounds pretty good. I try to steer clear of machines; you can’t trust them,” she said.

Fohr participated in the Mission Creek Festival in 2013, and was granted a Mission Creek Festival residency last September, where she worked at Flat Black Studio to lay down the basic tracks for In Plain Speech.

“I did the vocals by myself at my house, and some overdubs at a studio in Chicago,” she said.

She says staying in conversation, creatively and otherwise, with other female musicians is critical for her. When I asked which artists she’s most interested in or inspired by currently, she answered thoughtfully; “Anyone who’s a woman in the scene—I don’t know of anyone in particular, but a female musician who has reached a peak that I haven’t, how they got there, and the challenges of being a woman in that space.”

While short and sweet, the MCF residency allotted her a few days of studio time to track what would become her album. For many musicians, even signed artists on a label, studio time is costly and troublesome, but having residency support cuts a clear path.

“One thing I like about Mission Creek, and Iowa City in general, is that it’s so obviously community driven. It’s a really small town, everything’s in walking distance, everyone knows each other, even though I don’t have any roots there, there are familiar faces everywhere and the community drive is going strong through the musical scene there,” she described.

She’s hoping to finish the recording in November, take some time off for the holidays, and start the whole process over again.


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Liv Carrow is a musician, occultist, cat lady and recent convert to the Iowa City lifestyle.

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