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Baker's Dozen

Kinship At The Outer Reaches: Circuit Des Yeux's Favourite Albums
Patrick Clarke , April 4th, 2018 09:08

With UK tour dates for her unmissable live show on the horizon, Haley Fohr takes Patrick Clarke through her 13 favourite records of all time

Photo by Michael Vallera

The polymathic Haley Fohr, the incomparable force behind Circuit Des Yeux, is one of the world’s best live musicians. We meet in tQHQ before her extraordinary show in The Lexington downstairs, a set which sees her cast serene sweeps of guitar and establish a transfixing dark presence on stage, but most of all employ the cosmic power of her stupendous voice. At times it’s booming and towering, at others its raw and direct, and elsewhere simply ethereal and sublime; she offers a transcendent force that is both uniquely its own and has a place in a certain grand tradition.

Fohr’s Baker’s Dozen reflects these musical forebears. She talks much about finding ‘kinship’ with the artists she’s selected, from Kim Gordon to Linda Sharrock, for their explorations into the outlying possibilities of the female voice. “My thesis statement right now in life is just honing in on my voice and expanding it as much as possible,” she says. “I’ve spent the larger half of the last decade picking up any vocalist or female artist and listening to them, and trying to see how it makes me feel, what I can draw from it. I think with any musician’s instrument, you just want true expression. I wanted to see what was out there and feed my brain, see what can be done.”

There are many records on this list that offer expression such as this, and others that as she puts it “cemented inside of me and made me who I am.” Fohr’s childhood in small-town Indiana was not one where she was surrounded by music, however. “There wasn’t much music in my house growing up,” she says. “Like maybe the Bee Gees in my Walkman and the occasional Hootie and the Blowfish. it was pretty dry. I listened to classic rock as a child because that was what was on the radio. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I found things like record shops and I had money and found friends and a subculture.”

A month’s grounding by her parents at the age of 16, which allowed for extended listening to early purchases by Billie Holiday and Brainbombs, sparked the expedition she continues to this day, a fascination not only with the songs themselves but with the process behind them; she enthuses as readily in her Bakers’ Dozen about production as she does performance. “I’m a huge fan of studio produced trickery, spending months on a song and figuring out sounds that are from another world and could never be recreated live. To me that’s what records are all about, I try to find some mystery and lock it down.”

Circuit Des Yeux is on tour throughout the Spring, with May shows at London's Barbican Centre, Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow and Leeds. For the full dates click here.

To begin reading Circuit Des Yeux's Baker's Dozen, click the image of her below.