The Circlusion of Fancy

The German version of this text on the italodisco artist Fancy was first published in Siegessäule for their regular column “Drehmoment”, in which musicians describe an album that is of key importance to them. Here is the text in English.

The word “circlusion” is penetration’s other. It describes a sexual act in which one thing, normally an orifice, encloses another thing inside itself, for instance when an anus circludes a cock or a vagina circludes a dildo. Whereas this “being penetrated” is normally considered passive in heteronormative and even homonormative discourses, the circluding orifice can be both active and passive; even transcend this binary altogether.

Popular music, for the most part, reproduces masculinist tropes of phallus-worship. Take a song like Closer by Nine Inch Nails. When Trent Reznor sings “I want to fuck you like an animal,” do you imagine that he is penetrating, or do you envision that Reznor is circluding you, with his anus, his mouth or his cunt? Our society valorises penetration and there is a direct line between the libidnal worship of frontmen on the one hand and fascist dictators on the other.

Enter Munich-born italo-disco star Fancy, who I read as an out and proud circluder. Take the single Slice Me Nice. Atop Moroder-esque synths and drum machines, Fancy reveals to us that he is “like a cake that wants to be baked,” adding “It’s time for action baby, cut me in two”. Its a simple perhaps crude image, yet it makes the pleasure of making one’s body a host for another active.

In L.A.D.Y. O, Fancy explicitly recasts the masochistic protagonist of the novel Story of O as a sadistic dominatrix. Whereas in the novel, the penetration of O’s orifices by members of a secret society is intrinsically linked to her submissiveness, in Fancy’s retelling, he becomes the submissive and begs her to “Tie me up, give me pain”. He goes on: “Chain me, I can’t stand no more” while assuring her that he is “gonna like it for sure.” O, in both the novel and in the song, could very well stand for orifice. But in Fancy’s hands O can no longer stand for object, for it is she who has the active role in his fantasy.

This ingeniously closes the circle between active and passive, penetration and circlusion. Again and again, Fancy shows us that sex need not be a dyad, but a vast ocean of sensations, organs and ways of relating to one another.