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Listed: Circuit Des Yeux + Carol Kleyn

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: bedroom belter Haley Fohr and folk harpist Carol Kleyn.

Listed: Circuit Des Yeux + Carol Kleyn

Circuit Des Yeux

As Dusted writer Jennifer Kelly wrote in a review for Haley Fohr’s most recent album Portriat, “Fohr was only about 17 when she started recording under the name Circuit Des Yeux, but it was an old 17. Fohr had studied formal classical singing for almost 10 years, and had become fascinated by the raw emotional power of punk music. She had dropped out of Purdue University’s engineering program and moved back in with her parents, recording in a bedroom she shared with her sister on 4-track without an external mic. The results, documented on Symphone, were wrenching, rough and extremely lo-fi. Through her subsequent albums, 2010’s Sirenum and the EP Ode to Fidelity, she refined her recording technique but not the emotional content. Portrait, the third album by an artist still in her early 20s, vibrates with intense, exposed feeling.” For this week’s listed feature, Fohr chose 10 records that pertain specifically to Portrait. 

1. Jim Shepard - Next Album
Throughout my years of traveling and playing shows, I have found myself falling deeper down the well of Columbus music hysteria.  I first fell in love with Jim Shepard & V3 after hearing various live sets, one in particular is a recording at the Empty Bottle.  I then acquired Slit and Pre-Slit and Next Album and found myself listening and re-listening late into the nights.  "Falling Out" was a direct response to the 1st song on side A.

2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Zuma
Neil Young is a fucking God!  I tried to embody some sort of the Neil Young electric sound on songs like "Twenty & Dry," "3311," and "101 Ways To Kill a Man" using shitty $20.00 pedals, and a 10 watt practice amp.  I’m not sure if it really translated.  When putting together a live band I told the members "I want to sound like Neil Young, but fronted by a girl."

3.  Sibylle Baier - Colour Green
I received this record as a Christmas present from my parents.  What an amazing record; so humble, honest, and beautiful.  To me this is the perfect folk record.

4. Karen Dalton - It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best
A record full of pain, Karen Dalton’s life story is one of the most devastating.  Her voice on this record is so mournful and inspiring.  I found many parallels in her expression and what I wanted to express my own self through Portrait.  

5. Nick Drake - Pink Moon
A classic record; clocking in at only 29 minutes, short and to the point. I tried to do the same with Portrait; 8 songs in 27 minutes. "Weighed Down" was very much composed in the style of "Know."  I used only 2 simple chords, with a single vocal melody.

6. Black Dog - Music For Real Airports
I am very new to the electronic music scene, when my boyfriend showed me this great album.  "Crying Chair" is my first attempt at an electronic song, composed entirely of samples.  Music For Real Airports is a contemporary album that paints dark ambient images, composed of samples from the airports that Black Dog collected while touring.  It is one of my favorite albums to listen to at night after a long day at school.  

7. Les Rallizes Denudes - ’77 Live
I haven’t much money from living off of student loans, but when I found out that the Les Rallizes Denudes LPs were in repress I had to pick them up.  One of my favorite bands; truly psychedelic.  I remember listening to ’77 Live on my ipod while watching a dorm building being demolished.  It looked like a dollhouse made out of cardboard, the little beds, refrigerators, and even a vase with a few flowers, being torn to pieces by these ugly machines.  It left me with a strange feeling that stuck for sometime. 

8.  Throbbing Gristle -20 Jazz Funk Greats
Again, another classic record.  I don’t feel my music shows any obvious similarities to that of Throbbing Gristle, but I vividly remember last winter during the time I recorded Portrait.  I had these long, 45 minute walks through several feet of snow, trying to get to some awful course I was taking in the dead of winter.  I was miserable and hating people.  This record mirrors the dark state of mind I was in at the time.

9.  Big Star - #1 Record
Big Star is such a fucking great band.  "Holocaust" has to be the saddest song ever written.  I chose #1 Record purely for its production values.  In school our professors suggest that while mixing we use a reference album, and this one is my go to.

10. Lee Hazlewood - Love and Other Crimes
Both songs and production are so great, back when songwriters could really be songwriters. I really love how the vocals sit more upfront than the instrumentals.  It’s a shame reverb chambers are so expensive.

Carol Kleyn

Carol Kleyn, a West Coast harpist with a yen for
freewheeling creative indulgence, was born way before California’s
sitting lieutenant governor sewed seedlin’s. During the social upheaval of the late ’60s, she began composing under the tutelage of poet Kenneth Rexroth and befriended musical polymath Bobby 
Brown. She dropped out, but her music became her obsession. She
toured with Gregg Allman and self-released three albums before
shifting into family life. One slab in particular, Love Has Made
Me Stronger, developed a reputation among collectors of Aquarian
oddities, and has now been reissued by Drag City. Read Bill Meyer’s Dusted review of Love Has Made Me Stronger here.

1. Mason Williams - Classical Gas
I grew up playing classical music on the piano. I was drawn to music that offered stories, favoring ones with rich melodies, drama or speed: “Peer Gynt Suite” by Grieg, “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven, “Turkish Dance” by Mozart, and “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1968 that love of classics would include “Classical Gas”by Mason Williams. I woke up to “Classical Gas” every morning at 6:30am on KJR. It ignited my day and sent me off to school with a smile, because I’d memorized every note and could sing it inside my head throughout the day. Looking back, my “Street Song” definitely grew from that experience.

2. John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Two Virgins
This was the time of 45’s, American Bandstand and the Ed Sullivan show. Though I didn’t have my own record player and our family record collection, made up of 78’s and mono 33’s, was music of my parents’ choice, I did watch a lot of black and white TV. And the Beatles performance on Ed Sullivan, in 1964, hooked me in seconds. The look, the sound, the energy, the sparkle, the screaming girls in the audience…I would soon be one of them, a few months later, at the Seattle Coliseum, in total disbelief of the hysteria that encompassed that entire audience, including me. I quickly added a Beatles Song Book to my piano music collection and couldn’t wait to master “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. Again, looking back, the innocence and joy of these songs stuck with me. I loved everything about the Beatles, especially Paul… Summer of 1969, I went to London and purchased John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins album (which wasn’t allowed in the US). That would be the first album in my record collection. Gotta love that cover! (shades of “Return of the Silkie”??)

3. The Rolling Stones
July 3rd of ’69, Brian Jones, of the Rolling Stones, died. One of the friends I was traveling with in London was extremely distraught; for she’d been hooked on Brian Jones the way I’d been hooked on Paul McCartney. On July 5th we attended his incredible memorial in Hyde Park, replete with music from the Stones as thousands of people united and hundreds of white butterflies were released in the sky. Music was becoming the life-blood of my generation, and of me, in a way I’d never imagined. Woodstock soon followed and that song, written by Joni Mitchell, would become my new anthem.

4. Joni Mitchell
Though it was a number of years before I eventually started collecting Joni’s albums (hard to have a stereo in a school bus), whenever I heard Joni singing on the radio, I listened carefully. I often wondered how she created such amazing lyrics and beautiful musical passages. “California” mesmerized me…and “Blue” took me into her soul. I knew it was a time of transition for me. But I realized, early on, that if I was going to make it, I needed to sing my own music or not at all. There can only be one Michael Jackson and only one Joni Mitchell. But, without a doubt, the inspiration was there to be shared.

5. V/A - Woodstock
Woodstock would bring other greats to the forefront for me and that album would be a lifelong inspiration and treasure. It included: Crosby, Stills Nash and Young (“Wooden Ships”) Richie Havens (“Freedom”), Joe Cocker (“With a Little Help From My Friends”), Janis Joplin (“Summertime”) and Jefferson Airplane (“White Rabbit”). Who could not be taken in by that sound and those songs? Such music became the glue that was holding the youth and the students of the nation together, while a war in Vietnam raged, and a cultural revolution was being born. I realized that year, that music could change the world and me with it.

6. Bobby Brown
On Thanksgiving 1969, I met Bobby Brown. He’d left a doctorate philosophy program at UCLA to train for the Olympics in the javelin and was living in a school bus, experimenting with congas and a silver flute. He and the music that would emerge from that bus would be the oracle that guided me for the next 14 years. In 1970, I dropped out of college and became Bobby’s “sound man”. I would help him build the pick-ups for the instruments he designed that grew to be called his “Universal One Man Orchestra”. Once completed, we would reconstruct that “orchestra” on stages up and down the coast, and I would tune those 300 plus strings and run the lines for every show. In 1971, he gave me my harp and said it would change my life forever. In 1972, my first song written on that harp with lyrics (words co-written by Bobby) titled “Prayer” would be about the war in Vietnam. It would be my closing song at concerts…on the streets or on the stage…and would become my trademark, when I sang in the back of the harp at the beginning and again at the end of the song. It would eventually be recorded on my Takin the Time album, produced by Bobby Brown, in 1980.

7. Bobby Brown - The Enlightening Beam of Axonda
Released in 1974, The Enlightening Beam of Axonda was Bobby Brown’s first album. Bobby’s live performance of that music put me in touch with the highest spiritual energy I’d ever felt. His voice was beyond anything I’d ever heard. This concept album was his prediction of “a new physics that would glorify God”. He has noted since, that many of those predictions have come true. Axonda would be a beam of light coming from that place he called Bray, deep inside the atom, way beyond the smallest particle ever known, that would instantly connect the consciousness of all individuals it came into contact with. It would solve the problems of war and peace, hunger and poverty. It was the vision that Bobby Brown saw and wanted to share. It is my belief that it will be recognized as one of the great albums of our time, and that it will be studied in the universities for the context and content therein…for the story, the music, the sounds and the voices that Bob created here are exclusively his and his alone.

8. Gregg Allman - Gregg Allman Tour ‘74
In the fall of 1974, I would perform a three-song guest set, on tour with Gregg Allman, across the nation, following the release of his album Gregg Allman Tour ‘74, recorded at Carnegie Hall. That album will forever be a memory stored of one of the most amazing experiences in my life. It was most definitely an experience from which I grew and from which my album “Love Has Made Me Stronger” was influenced. When I returned home, Gregg’s use of the Wurlitzer, and the piano became part of my sound. I experimented with recording the harp through a Wurlitzer and kept those tracks. I used my portable Fender Rhodes Electric piano through the Wurlitzer sound as well, and kept those tracks. Gregg was a showman and I learned a lot about performing from him. His encore, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, always got me high.

9. Paul Winter Consort - Common Ground
Years later, trying to refine the magic that I knew was mine, and mine alone, I decided it was time to create a concept album. Captured by Paul Winter Consort’s Common Ground album, known for its beautiful voices of the whale, wolf and eagle, I sought a pure and simple sound to convey my concerns regarding life on this planet and our need to protect and treasure the environment. My work with the Friends of the Sea Lion, gave me the opportunity to record the voices of the injured baby sea lions found along the shores of Laguna Beach, and my album, Return of the Silkie was released in 1983.

10. The Rest of my Record Collection
Carol King’s Tapestry, Judy Collins’ Wildflowers, Iron Butterfly’s In A Godda Da Vida, The Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin, Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven... Most of my collection was found in the back bins of a store in Laguna called Fahrenheit 451 in the late 1970s and early ’80s (when I finally had an apartment for more than a month). It’s impossible to pick 10 when it’s really 100 or more. But there are other key albums for me…the list goes on and on…kind of like the beat. It was a time like no other. The music affected me, as it affected my generation. Lucky us. Lucky you. The music still resounds today.

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