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Experimental singer-songwriter Haley Fohr's latest effort as Circuit des Yeux is ambitious and wholly immersive, an odyssey as universal as it is personal

Haley Fohr, the unique singer-songwriter who has been recording and performing under the name Circuit des Yeux for the last ten years, in an interview with Loud and Quiet, describes the moment that inspired her new album ‘Reaching for Indigo’ as a kind of spiritual revelation. The way she talks about it is vague enough for anyone to be able to relate and specific enough not to lose its singular impact. “Things got so dark they combusted into this bright white light and I had this knowingness wash over me,” she explains. In fact, having listened to the album, it’s tempting to pick out words from her own account of this eye-opening experience that alone would serve as a satisfyingly accurate review of the album: dark, effortless, internal, physical, frightening, beautiful. Which is an achievement in itself: Fohr has managed to take the deeply personal, once-in-a-lifetime awakening she experienced on the night of January 22nd, and turn the emotions it stirred into undeniably universal music that can be felt by everyone. And it should – don’t let this one slip through the cracks.

Circuit des Yeux‘s sound is a mesmerizing amalgamation of folk, avant-garde, esoteric pop, and minimalism with a hint of experimental rock. Reaching for Indigo stands out as her most fully-realized and ambitious effort that paradoxically is also characteristically fluid and ambiguous. It is certainly immersive as an album – what is even more impressive, however, is that the songs here, a significant few of which go over the 5-minute mark, are little odysseys of epic grandiosity in themselves; and without the unnecessary artificiality that a bigger, less intimate production environment would bring. The 7-minute ‘Black Fly’ is one of the most accessible, quietly moving tracks on the album, its inviting guitar melodies beautifully merged with nostalgic backing string arrangements that echo the melancholy sounds of traditional European music. Things break into a kind of indefinite ambiance with the next track, ‘Philo’, a meditative piece whose instrumental emerges as if something from a William Basinksi composition, and by the end morphs into a cacophonous blend of synths and noise, the devastating feeling of being lost. Through all this, the force of Haley Fohr’s voice remains incredibly striking and distinctive, combining exceptional skill, almost operatic in scale, with palpable, electrifying emotion that guides each track.

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At the same time, the album flows effortlessly well – a few tracks in, and it develops into an irresistibly seamless whole. Single ‘Paper Bag’ is another highlight, its engrossing rhythm driven by a raw-sounding guitar reminiscent of I Might Be Wrong-era Radiohead. Somehow, Fohr’s voice progressively becomes even more powerful and defiant, and as the loud, psychedelic rock-leaning ‘A Story of This World Part II’ begins, it reminds one less of a Patti Smith and more of a Yoko Ono (though it is impossible to find the perfect comparison – it is a thing of its own), as she performs these seemingly endless animalistic howls that make the track more than worth its bold title. ‘Reaching for Indigo’ is an album to lose and find yourself in.

The albums full track listing is as follows…

01 Brainshift
02 Black Fly
03 Philo
04 Paper Bag
05 A Story of This World Part II
06 Call Sign E8
07 Geyser
08 Falling Blonde

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