New albums from Circuit des Yeux and Bonobo

Cir­cuit Des Yeux, Io

Io is the sixth album from Haley Fohr in her guise as Cir­cuit Des Yeux. And it suc­ceeds some­how in mar­ry­ing and merg­ing her twin ter­rains of grunge folk and exper­i­men­tal rock, and in a way that man­ages mirac­u­lous­ly to evade any hint of pretentiousness. 

The result is an album that sounds like extracts from an imag­i­nary rock opera. But instead of arous­ing the usu­al dread and embar­rass­ment that those two words tra­di­tion­al­ly evoke, it moves and impress­es in equal measure. 

Lis­ten­ing to Fohr’s impe­r­i­al bari­tone chan­nelling Dia­man­da Galás, scal­ing who knows how many octaves, as the strings ref­er­ence mid 70s ELO, you imag­ine a David Byrne pro­duc­tion, but at an off Broad­way venue in a yet-to-be gen­tri­fied seedy side of town.

An album born in melan­cho­lia, the result­ing music soars. 

Bonobo, Frag­ments

Frag­ments is the first album in five years from the LA based British DJ slash pro­duc­er Si Green, who releas­es albums under the moniker Bonobo. And almost every­one agrees that it’s a won­der to behold and as joy­ous a way to ush­er in the new year as could pos­si­bly be wished for. 

NPR’s All Songs Con­sid­ered, the Guardian, the Inde­pen­dent, UK and Irish, NME et al. Only those peren­ni­al scrooges at Pitch­fork held out, giv­ing it a cur­mud­geon­ly 5.4 out of 10, here.

St Ger­main’s Tourist

The album starts out promis­ing­ly enough, and sure enough, tracks 2, 3 and 4 do indeed seem to promise that much need­ed and prover­bial ton­ic. T3, Rose­wood, even hints at the kind of hoped-for ubiq­ui­ty that Rose Rouge, the open­ing track on Saint Germain’s Tourist achieved when it was released in 2000, and which it seemed to main­tain well into the fol­low­ing year and beyond.

But after those first few tracks, Frag­ments sinks into mid- and increas­ing­ly slow­er tem­po fare. And very quick­ly, you qui­et­ly drift off. 

If you find your­self at a club where Green is spin­ning his discs, you’ll enjoy his use of those first few tracks as part of his set (and per­haps track 8…). But there’s absolute­ly no need to sit down and lis­ten to the rest of the album. I’m afraid the boys from Pitch­fork get that one right.

You can see the video for the open­ing track on Cir­cuit Des Yeux’s Io, the Van­ish­ing, below:

And here, if you need it, is a reminder of what St Germain’s Rose Rouge sounds like:

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