VOCALS SERIES PART II: THE INSTRUMENTALIST WHO SANG, AN ARTHUR RUSSELL EPIPHANY

August 31, 2020 § Leave a comment

(AND INTRODUCING KLEE :-)

The Colleen project was purely instrumental in its first phase of life for three albums and one ep, and it was only in late 2009/early 2010, as I was slowly coming out of a nearly 2-year-long creative hibernation, that I realized I really, really wanted to sing. However, something also really, really bugged me: I knew I didn’t want to turn into a singer-songwriter, but when I thought of the music I had already made, I couldn’t really hear a voice “on top of it”, as it were. And yet I did have a couple of clues: on the Les ondes silencieuses album, the clarinet melody on “Sun against my eyes” was first born as a vocal hum. Well then, wasn’t that proof that it could have been vocals instead of a clarinet? I wasn’t fully convinced, and that’s when Arthur Russell’s music entered my life.


I will always remember the spring of 2010: listening to all of his output available at that time, on repeat, and reading Tim Lawrence’s absolutely amazing biography “Hold on to your dreams”. All of a sudden a new path lay clearly in front of me, and the parallel was all the more striking given my main instrument was the viola da gamba: of course it was possible to make experimental-but-melodic music sometimes with a voice, sometimes without a voice. Of course I could use effects, using them did not mean I was not a “real” musician needing to hide behind them. And most crucial of all: there is never any need for justification for one’s own artistic decisions. The notion that some hypothetical others were out there waiting to question me about why I added this or substracted that from my music existed purely within my head, and what a liberation and a big step forward it was once I understood that.

And allow me to introduce the real sweetie of the house, Klee! Unlike Sol, Klee does not wish to coproduce my next album, hence his absence on this feed so far. When he does set paw in the studio, it is to whine loudly, asking for his preferred activity: cuddles, preferably with prolonged, intense eye contact… which is of course incompatible with my studio time! :-)))

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