Thursday, September 07, 2006

COLLEEN ET LES BOITES A MUSIQUE: Colleen Et Les Boîtes A Musique (The Leaf Label)

COLLEEN ET LES BOITES A MUSIQUE
Colleen Et Les Boîtes A Musique
BAY53CD
The Leaf Label 2006
14 Tracks. 38mins55secs




Buy it: CD
Colleen | The Leaf Label

Colleen is a very singular artist with a sharp visionary mind and a deep understanding of a wide range of music genres. Based in Paris, where she has spent most of her life, Cécile Schott as she was born, was classically trained, but she has since embraced modern technology to support her work.

Colleen's work first emerged on a joint compilation from French imprints Active Suspension and Clapping Music, which rapidly lead to her being signed on Leaf. Her first album, Everyone Alive Wants Answers (2003) made good use of electronically treated acoustic elements and samples to create rich evocative soundscapes in which she dressed her compositions. Her second effort, The Golden Morning Breaks saw her abandoning this process to focus solely on acoustic instruments, something she had been using during live performances for some time.

Her latest offering comes in the shape of a wonderfully poetic and ambitious mini album. Originally commissioned by French public service radio station France Culture for their Radiophonic Workshop programme, the work featured here is entirely based on sounds sourced from music boxes, with Colleen adopting, for one release, a collective name. For this project, Schott worked with a wide array of music boxes, not only utilising them as they were intended to, but also playing them with her fingers or with small mallets. The sounds were sampled and reassembled to create a string of exquisite compositions centred around incredibly sophisticated and intricate melodic formations, with only the odd effect affecting the dynamic range of the sound sources. At times deceptively simple, at others finely layered, the fourteen tracks create a wonderfully dreamy soundtrack which ebbs and flows with the assorted rhythmic patterns and melodies that constantly flourish all the way through.

Even more so than on her previous recordings, Colleen favours here utterly intimate and delicate tones and crafts a masterful piece of work with deep emotional roots. Although she works here with very few components here, she creates a series of wonderfully evocative and rich poetic vignettes in what is her most fascinating record yet.

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