|Colleen||A Flame My Love, A Frequency|
Colleen — A Flame My Love, A Frequency (20 Oct 2017) Ξ Colleen is multi~instrumentalist and vocalist Cécile Schott, releasing music since 2003 on Thrill Jockey, The Leaf Label and Second Language. 6th album A flame my love, a frequency, out October 20th on Thrill Jockey — 100% electronics + voice.
Birth name: Cécile Schott
Born: 1976, Paris, France
Album release: 20 octobre 2017
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
1 November 2:08
2 Separating 7:30
3 Another world 5:59
4 Winter Dawn 5:16
5 Summer night (Bat song) 5:14
6 The stars vs. creatures 5:15
7 One warm spark 4:49
8 A flame my love, a frequency 7:04
℗ 2017 Thrill Jockey Records
Ξ Author: Cécile Schott
Ξ Mastered at: RedRedPaw
Ξ Iker Spozio: Artwork
Ξ Antony Ryan: Mastered
Ξ Cécile Schott: Music, Lyrics, Performer, Recorded, Mixed, Producer
Ξ Limited color edition. Pressed on clear vinyl.
Ξ French artist Colleen is fearless in her willingness to explore new sounds and new ways of creating music as a solo performer. On her new album A flame my love, a frequency she introduces the most drastic change to her music since she began singing on her fourth album. A chance encounter with a Critter and Guitari synthesizer at King Britt’s Philadelphia studio on the Captain of None album tour cracked the compositional model wide open. Colleen bought a Critter and Guitari Pocket Piano with the aim to use it through a newly~acquired Moog filter pedal to create new and interesting rhythms to accompany her voice and viola da gamba. But it turned out the sounds of this viola and rhythm combination was not what she was looking for, so in typical Colleen fashion, she set the viola da gamba aside altogether and picked up an additional Critter and Guitari synth, the Septavox, dug out her her trusted Moog delay and dove right in.
Ξ Words used to describe her muse Arthur Russell are equally applicable to Colleen (multi~instrumentalist Cécile Schott). Schott’s compositions can be in turn pop or experimental, vocal or instrumental, and acoustic or electronic. She has drawn on baroque sounds of a classical instrument using the most modern pedals and looping techniques. Shape shifting as she does, the pieces are always distinctly her strong and utterly unique musical voice. A constant across Colleen’s albums are delicate extended melodies, minutely detailed soundscapes, and explorative unbounded compositions. Colleen’s work is a direct result of her core belief that in order to keep growing as an artist, you need to continue to be willing to experiment and to embrace drastic changes.
Ξ The music of A flame… is the closest Colleen has come to a concept album, a reflection upon one year in her life that began in the Autumn of 2015. The album’s central theme is the inescapable fact that life and death always walk hand in hand. Schott is an avid bird watcher and her home and studio on the coast of Spain allow for frequent trips out into the wilds. As any naturalist knows, extreme beauty and vitality go hand in hand with brutality. This symbiosis was made more personal when, on the way back from visiting a very ill relative in France, she decided to spend the night in her former home of Paris in order to take her viola bow for repair at a luthier in the Republique area. It was late afternoon and she remembers the beauty of Paris and people sitting and enjoying the cafés. That was November 13th and a mere 4 hours later these very same cafés were the scene of utter terror and death.
Ξ A few weeks after the events, Colleen started composing the songs that make up the album. She recorded each song live with minimal edits and vocals were recorded without overdubs, creating a symbiosis between the machine and the performer that mirrors the album’s core concept. The personal narrative of the year in question yields a more vulnerable sound than any previous recordings by Colleen. “Separating” is an emotional response to being overwhelmed by the inevitability of death. Feelings of fear are never far from feelings of joy as they are in “Winter dawn” with its propulsive thump and ominous lyrics “I came home with a fistful of fear,” that manage to shift towards hope with “Love alone is your home.” Joy and hope are strongly present throughout the album, the catalyst that lifts us out of the darkness as inevitably as night to day. We are shown the wonderment of “Another world,” and through the metaphors of light, shown joy as in the title track. A flame my love, a frequency is an album that finds optimism in the face of tribulation, a meditation on humanity’s ability to prevail. It is a beautiful, complex album by a singular and remarkable musician.
PIOTR ORLOV; October 12, 20175:00 AM ET
Ξ Two events directly impacted the sound and melancholy vision of Colleen’s seventh album, A flame my love, a frequency. The first took place on tour in summer of 2015. The French composer and songwriter born Cecile Schott, much of whose previous music was made with the viola da gamba, happened upon a new synthesizer while visiting King Britt’s Philadelphia studio. Schott thought it might prove useful for future work ... and it did, though not in the ways she imagined at the time. The other event was a chance stopover in Paris on November 13, 2015. She spent the afternoon relaxing in an arrondissement that just hours later would become a crime scene after the Paris terror attacks which struck the City of Lights that night. Upon returning to her home in San Sebastian, Spain, and trying to recover from the experience, Cecile started writing.
Ξ While the words and textures that poured into A flame my love, a frequency mark a shift, the album is also a natural logical evolution, and of a piece with Colleen’s prior music. Schott’s discography had largely been centered on processed strings and other acoustic devices — sampled, looped, chopped, distorted with delay pedals — as well as an engagement with natural world, and the relationship between sound and time. Early on in her career, before she started singing (in 2013), when software seemed the glue of her musical architecture, these ideas were presented as juxtapositions; but over the past few years, notions of the traditional and the artificial became entwined into a holistic whole. On her outstanding 2015 album, Captain Of None, Colleen played with dub melodica and recreations of West African percussion to give the distorted viol new colors, resulting in folk songs outside a specific era or ethnic lore, yet speaking directly to the tonality of the global present.
Ξ With aforementioned exceptions, there is direct continuity from that album to A flame my love.... Sensorily, the synths that Colleen adapted (the Critter & Guitari Pocket Piano and Septavox) bear little resemblance to her past tools; yet in her process, especially alongside Moog delay pedals, the clusters of repetitive melodic arpeggios retain Colleen’s musical identity. Often, the music and the lyrics seem like distinct elements — spiritual, rhythmic, minimal — interacting by chance and circumstance. It is only when the arrangements fully unfurl that the thoughtfulness of the compositions comes into view, a counterbalance between the sad seeds of the album’s themes and the underlying hopefulness of the artist’s perspective. The latter almost always comes out ahead.
Ξ “The world had nearly ended yet the sky was blue / And I came home with a fistful of fear,” Colleen states all~too matter~of~factly at the beginning of “Winter Dawn,” while low~end synths chug in eighth notes. It is the artist’s clearest invocation of the events that inspired many of these songs. But this realist darkness almost instantly gives way to other possibilities. Another synth enters, shimmering in counterpoint, and when Colleen’s voice returns, it is disembodied and illuminated by echo, sweetly singing about looking ahead and opening up: “Deep and warm, golden dawn / Give me more of that light of yours.” Just as the song seems to close, a third, altogether enchanting synth line appears as an optimistic coda.
Ξ Colleen specializes in such poetic flourishes, yet A flame my love, a frequency doesn’t just use its main instrument’s synthesis of melody and rhythm to brighten the metaphysical corners of the world outside. There are instrumental landscapes that exalt simple abstract wonders — “Another world” creating glorious 4/4 techno with a single pattern and nary a hint of a backbeat, while “One warm spark” turns two overlapping patterns into a glittering chimera. There’s also “The stars vs creatures,” a one~act folk~tale that is a debate between a human narrator, who gazes to the heavens for salvation, and some woodland creatures who claim themselves Exhibits A as to the world’s wonder. All the while, a simple synth — metallic, resembling a gamelan or a steel drum — creates a warm background, playing the part of a Greek chorus, choosing neither argument. Like much of the rest of Colleen’s album, “The stars vs creatures” posits a new cast and a new production into a timeless tale. Ξ http://www.npr.org/
Artist Biography by Andy Kellman
Ξ Cécile Schott, from France, made her debut as Colleen with 2003’s Everyone Alive Wants Answers. Released in 2003 on England’s Leaf label, its dreamy and ambient but melodic material was based around heavily treated samples from her record collection.
Ξ The album’s reception led to performances, but she found herself uninterested in relying strictly on a laptop, so she incorporated instruments and effects, in addition to loops. As a result, 2005’s The Golden Morning Breaks took on an organic sound relative to her debut, with several acoustic instruments (including guitars, old pianos, mallets, and even toy instruments) treated by effects. Her third proper album, 2007’s Les Ondes Silencieuses, was preceded by an entry in the Staalplaat label’s live series Mort aux Vaches, as well as the EP Colleen et les Boîtes a Musique (which was made with music boxes).
Ξ Colleen is French multi~instrumentalist Cecile Schott, who uses her voice and the treble viola da gamba (a baroque instrument with gut strings), to weave intricate stories about the human mind and heart. Captain of None is the most melodic album in her repertoire, with fast~paced tracks rooted down by prominent bass lines and assorted percussive effects. It is also an album that breaks new ground for Colleen in terms of production. While previous works centered around sample~based or looped, minimal compositions, on Captain of None Schott significantly changed her approach, setting her viola and her voice as focal points. Captain of None is inhabited by delicately crafted, other~worldly pop songs incorporating dub~inspired techniques.
Captain of None was recorded, mixed, and produced entirely by Schott in her music studio in San Sebastian, Spain. Schott tried to open the gates in the way she played, sang, and wrote lyrics for the album, and set out to explore how effects like delay and echo could go from the “cosmetic sound varnish” role they usually play to a fully dynamic, constructive, song~shaping role.
Ξ Although the influence of Jamaican music is subtle, its implicit impact is felt throughout Captain of None. As a child, Schott became enamored with a cassette tape of Lee Perry tracks from 1976 to 1979. She continued to explore the music of Jamaica, awed by the amount and the variety of incredible music that was recorded with such breathtaking inventiveness. This infatuation can be heard on tracks like “Eclipse,” where Schott utilizes some of the more common dub production techniques, such as using an echo effect on the percussion and vocals. Her love of Augustus Pablocan be felt on “Salina Stars,” in which Schott uses the melodica, an instrument that she played for years but never used on her albums. She incorporates a Moogerfooger delay pedal to create vocal feedback and analog glitches, and used homemade devices — chopsticks, an Indonesian metal printing block — as percussion.
Ξ As for her unique main instrument of choice, Schott first noticed the viola da gamba in the film Tous les matins du monde when she was 15 years old. The instrument, which has been said to be the musical instrument that most resembles the sound of the human voice, heavily resonated with her. However, rather than bowing the instrument in a traditional manner, and heavily influenced by African music from different countries, genres, and eras, Schott tunes the viola da gamba like a guitar and plucks it, opening up a new world of sound that she explores in great depth on Captain of None, an addictive, unconventional pop album. Ξ http://www.thrilljockey.com/
|Colleen||A Flame My Love, A Frequency|