Circuit des Yeux, Dawn of Midi

Circuit des Yeux

Dawn of Midi

Mon, April 28, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL

$10.00

Tickets at the Door

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Circuit des Yeux
Circuit des Yeux
Haley Fohr’s music strikes a unique balance between the personal and universal. As Circuit des Yeux she creates music that embodies the complexity of human emotions, juxtaposing tenderness and grief, ecstasy and horror, using sounds as representations of the emotional spectrum that we all experience. Fohr’s striking voice, an impassioned baritone, is the music’s centerpiece and guiding force. On In Plain Speech, Fohr is joined by some of the most progressive musicians in the Chicago music community; Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas), Whitney Johnson (Verma), Rob Frye (Bitchin Bajas), Adam Luksetich (Little Scream), and Kathleen Baird (Spires That In The Sunset Rise). Fohr cements her reputation as a fearless songwriter and inventive arranger with this stirring collection of songs that are both gorgeous and emotionally potent.
In Plain Speech represents the start of a new, more collaborative chapter for Circuit des Yeux. While previous works were solo affairs, not only in performance, but emotionally tied to a sense of confinement and place, these new songs were composed after a move to a collective living space, giving Fohr an opportunity to break free of the isolation that informed her previous albums. Fohr brought her community, literally, to the recording. In Plain Speech continues her collaboration with Crain, but it is her first recording with a full band, who are all leaders in Chicago’s new wave of creative musicians. Her songs, while always potent when delivered solo, shine in this new band context. Companionship and solidarity are themes woven throughout the album. “Do The Dishes” is a meditation on sisterhood, and a message to other women to take risks, follow their passions deeply and to love themselves. “Fantasize the Scene” explores the idea of eternal friendship.
Extensive touring after Circuit des Yeux’s acclaimed 2013 album Overdue influenced the making of the album in several ways. On that tour, which stretched for months throughout Europe and the US, Fohr toured solo, no band, no tour manager, no driver, and in that solitude learned to commune with the audience in a way that she hadn’t ever before. That connection sparked in her mind a conversation with the audience, and many of the lyrics on In Plain Speech are directed at “you,” the listener. She also became acutely aware of disquiet, a pervasive anxiety, which permeated society in almost every city she visited. “I felt an uneasiness that superseded phonetic communication,” she writes. “Something dim is in the air, and it is looming large.” This anxiety creeped into songs like “A Story Of This World,” which is a call for change of priorities and values among the world’s leadership.
Fohr will tour with the musicians who play on In Plain Speech throughout 2015. If the band’s debut show is any indication, these shows will be lush and captivating, the band enhancing her already compelling performances. Fohr self-released her 2013 album Overdue, which was praised by NPR, Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more - an impressive display of support for an artist working on her own. 2015 will certainly bring many more exciting chapters in Fohr’s ongoing story.
Dawn of Midi
Dawn of Midi
Dysnomia

"Something totally unprecedented " - Pitchfork

"Stellar…at a loss for words " - Spin

"50 Favorite Albums of 2013 " - NPR Music

"Best Albums of 2013 " - The New Yorker

"Best of 2013 " - BBC 3

Listenable and insane. That's the sound Dawn of Midi spent years shaping, culminating in their most mesmerizing work yet: Dysnomia.

In many ways, it's the first record that truly reflects the trio's critically acclaimed live show, a test of endurance and trust that involves bassist Aakaash Israni, pianist Amino Belyamani and percussionist Qasim Naqvi performing their compositions note-for-note without ever appearing the least bit predictable. If anything, Dawn of Midi's sets are as red-blooded and rhythmic as a seamlessly mixed DJ set, casting spells on crowds in the same way the group's favorite experimental and electronic acts have for decades.

Which explains why The New Yorker's music critic, Sasha Frere-Jones, wrote "an hour flew by in what seems like minutes" after witnessing their high-wire act last year, and Radiolab host Jad Abumrad added "[I've] seriously never seen anything like these guys."

Belyamani is quick to say that Dawn of Midi have followed their own internal logic since day one, largely thanks to the fact that they were friends first—playing late-night tennis matches in dimly lit parking lots well before they stepped into a studio or rehearsal space. As such, Belyamani admits its taken quite some time to shift from early improv sessions to the well-oiled machine that makes Dysnomia both a dizzying dance record and a deeply immersive living room listen.

"Playing a locked groove like we do on this record involves a lot of discipline and hard work," he explains. "You don't start out that way unless you're a group of folk musicians from the same village."

Forget being from the same village; Dawn of Midi's respective families aren't even from the same country. Belyamani was born in Morocco, where he "grew up in a culture where people do polyrhythms in their sleep." A stateside move didn't happen until he turned 18 and decided to study abroad at CalArts. Meanwhile, Israni relocated from India to Southern California when he was just four months old, and Naqvi's parents left Pakistan before he was born in Connecticut.

"Both my parents are major music fans," says Naqvi. "They love old Hindi songs from the black and white film era, and different kinds of traditional music from the South Asian subcontinent. So that stuff has definitely filtered through me somehow, but scales and rhythms from that part of the world are not something that are central to my musical thinking. At least not yet."

That's the thing about Dawn of Midi now that they're based in Brooklyn and touring open-minded markets worldwide: As carefully cultivated as their aesthetic is, it's also been known to incorporate, willfully and otherwise, such wildly divergent influences and interests as Aphex Twin, the Police, Can and Ms. Pac-Man. And when they really fall for a record—like they did with Dr. K. Gyasi after hearing his highlife hooks in Berlin—it quickly raises the bar of what they want from their own music.

Hence how Dysnomia ended up being recorded, mixed and mastered in its entirety twice. As Israni explains, "Late one night, I realized the record we had just made wasn't the quantum leap we needed, so we started over. Then it was another year and a half of rehearsing and composing before we could go in the studio again."

It shows. While the original version was semi-improvised like the trio's critically acclaimed debut (2010′s First), the final 46-minute cut is a brooding balancing act between a fascination with structure and a desire to create their own definition of dance music. Set aside an hour to experience the multi-movement title track in full and you'll hear what we mean, as a language only Dawn of Midi truly understands locks into one long, seemingly endless groove and mixer Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Owen Pallett, DJ Rashad) makes sure every last high-wire hook hits you square in the chest, even the quiet parts.

"It's interesting with this piece," says Naqvi. "There's actual music in the silences. You could almost take the negative space and make something completely different with it."

"The spaces between the dialogues of the notes are filled in by the body of the listener," adds Israni, "and they complete the circuit, leaving one option—to dance."

Dysnomia is out August 6th, 2013 on Thirsty Ear Recordings.
Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
http://www.hideoutchicago.com