Circuit Des Yeux
Le Bourg; Lausanne

“There is something deep inside of you,” Haley Fohr resounded as Circuit Des Yeux’s intimate set in Lausanne began under hushed lighting and the fluttering synths of “Do the Dishes.” From the moment her voice hit Le Bourg’s ceiling and then escaped through the cracks in the theater’s roof, she proceeded to reach into this “something” and wrench it out.

That’s the experience of Circuit Des Yeux live: you sit racked to your seat while the Chicago band (this time a threesome of 12-string guitar, flute and violin) channel Fohr’s barely containable intensity out of the recesses in which it’d been holed up. You sit cowering in a stuffy corner while the flutist on her right, the violinist on her left and “Ride Blind” as an agitated whole coax sounds out of her larynx that are feral enough to raze entire venues to the alcohol-stained ground on which they stand.

Where these music-summoned explosions came from, and where they were going, wasn’t obvious. From the pitch-black melodies of “Fantasize the Scene” it seemed as though they were invoking a place of yearning, a place where yearning is so fervent precisely because it’s deprived of an object even remotely equal to itself. Despite this lack, Fohr’s improbable pitches climbed blindly after nonexistent objects of desire, yanking the pastoral sedation of “A Story of this World” through a coda more ebullient and animated than can be heard on the excellent In Plain Speech. Eventually, even though it had been the guitar, flute, and violin that had initially sparked everything to life, it was her unloosened wail that pushed the floating instrumentation from one height to another by the end of the song.

But even if she could raise them higher than themselves, the long-form rendition of “Nova 88” capping the evening proved she would always be climbing one level beyond. The song’s precipitous and awe-inspiring peaks were far in excess of anything mere strings or wind could muster, and their preternatural high notes even surpassed those laid down for Overdue. So impassioned and fearsome were they, that the band stopped trying to match them at the very end of the set, allowing Fohr to play with the full power of her voice in isolation. On her own, running herself through delay and echo pedals, she decimated not only the domestic and social constraints she’d spent the whole show railing against, but also her very own protests, which dissolved into feedback, and then finally into a contented silence. But even after her equipment and amps had given up the ghost, she continued howling and braying unaccompanied, revealing that whatever’s deep inside her unfolds according to its own laws, and will endure irrespective of whether there’s an environment ready to accommodate it.

Setlist

01. Do the Dishes
02. Ride Blind
03. Fantasize the Scene
04. A Story of this World
05. In the Late Afternoon
06. Nova 88

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