June 27, 2021 § Leave a comment
One of the best surprises of my 2020 was getting to know Chiquita Room and the generous and energetic person behind it, Laura González Palacios. Chiquita Room is a unique place in Barcelona’s cultural landscape, and when I gave Laura an advance copy of The Tunnel and the Clearing and she asked me very shortly afterwards if I was into the idea of presenting the album at the gallery, I immediately said yes, even though neither one of us had any idea what we would do exactly, and I had never “presented” an album as such.
In the end, the “Colleen in da room” weekend became longer and fuller than anything we could have imagined, and I’m so glad about that, even though it was very intense physically and mentally: 6 shows over 3 days, 3 informal workshops, 2 Q&As… and I not only performed but also did the sound, bringing all the necessary gear and even a PA from my studio. We also showed the amazing video made by Daniel Barreto for “Hidden in the Current”, and the gallery produced a limited screenprint edition of the album’s original artwork by Andrés Gómez Servín.
As I expected, performing the entire album live is totally doable, though technically challenging – you can see below a list that I made while rehearsing of all the potential problems that can crop up and how to troubleshoot them.
If you are an Instagram user, you can see many short videos in the LIVE highlights of my Instagram.
On top of that, I had some misadventures with my beloved and so far totally trustworthy Roland RE-201 Space Echo, which led to a ton of stress, interaction with an incompetent and super rude technician here in Barcelona who made things considerably worse, and finally a temporary repair by yours truly, to a sound quality which I deemed acceptable for the shows (more about this in a future post). This confirmed that working with vintage gear is not for the faint-hearted, and that wanting to perform with vintage gear is potentially even more fraught with problems, given that by definition, the gear needs to be in good condition for the day of the show.
The setting was super intimate (attendance was limited to 15 people in the audience), and since I had already decided to stop live playing in the future, I savoured every minute for what it was.
I especially loved the informal workshops, as people could finally get real close to the machine and see what I was doing, and it was a treat to see eyes light up when I was demonstrating the Elka Drummer One on its own or when I removed the cover at the top of the Space Echo and people could see the tape loop doing its beautiful serpentine dance.
All the photos are from the 23rd May afternoon show, workshop and Q&A, and were taken by Lili Marsans/Lilinterna.
June 20, 2021 § Leave a comment
NTS MIX (broadcast 28th May 2021)
The NTS mix is a trip to Japan, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, the UK and the US through some of the music that keeps inspiring me, in terms of sound production, instrumentation and playing style, and unusual or freeform song structure.
- NTS TRACKLIST
- Colleen – The crossing
- Juju Gyps – Hakoari no uta
- The Servants – Everybody has a dream
- Mission of Burma – Trem two
- Ahleuchatistas – Vanished
- King Sunny Ade – Syncro System Movement
- Star Number One de Dakar – Mathiaki
- The Green Arrows – Madzangaradzimu
- Alhadji Haruna Ishola And His Apala Group – Late Matthew Toye
- Antipop Consortium – Heatrays
- Shun – Landscapes #3
TUNNEL INFLUENCES MIX + INTERVIEW FOR DUBLAB CELSIUS DROP (broadcast 17th June 2021)
Ever since my first album back in 2003, Dublab co-founder Frosty’s support has been unwavering: mixes, interviews, two live sessions, and also co-hosting my last LA show at Zebulon in 2017… I never take this type of “loyalty” and generosity for granted or something that I’m “due” in any way, and am floored that relationships like this can exist in the music world, where the support received goes way beyond the idea of “promotion”, and feels more like an extended friendship via music.
I absolutely love Mark’s beautiful words on the album, “an archive of personal transformation humming with the resonance of a soul realigned through sound”, and hope you will enjoy our interview (in spite of me stupidly recording it with a microphone way too close to my mouth, which means it’s plosive festival), and most of all I hope you will enjoy what I think is perhaps one of my FINEST MIXES yet: I put so much love into it, and I have two things to say about it. One: it’s kind of a Heartbreak Special, which sounds cheesy, but so many musical gems were born out of heartbreak… Two: during the making of The Tunnel and the Clearing, even though I listened to very little music, I felt accompanied, as if by a friendly ghostly presence, by *all* the music I’ve ever listened to. I think the album distills my many influences into a coherent sound, and this mix throws as precise a light as can be on the type of musical jewels which acted as “beacons” for me. I’m leaving you the tracklist below, though I do encourage you to first listen to the mix without looking at said tracklist, so you can enjoy the surprising links I created across songs…
- DUBLAB – TUNNEL INFLUENCES MIX TRACKLIST
- The Green Arrows – Dororengu Rinonaka
- O.V. Wright – Gone For Good
- Low – Heartbeat
- The Blue Rondos – Little Baby
- Hermanos Tuirán – Lluvia
- Can – Spoon
- Canned Heat – Poor Moon
- Silver Apples – Love Fingers
- Suicide – Cheree
- Stereolab – Doubt
- Delia Derbyshire – Dr Who Theme
- The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (Stack-O-Vocals)
- Wendy Rene – After Laughter
- Marvin L.Sims – Danger
- Stevie Wonder – I Don’t Know Why (I Love You)
- The Upsetters – Too Bad Cow
- Tindersticks – Marbles
- Talk Talk – I Believe In You
- Low – Tomorrow One
JAMAICAN SELECTION FOR DUBLAB.ES PARGUELAND (broadcast 4th June 2021)
I was also invited to Pargueland, a programme on Dublab.es, Dublab’s Barcelona-based little sister, and chose some Jamaican songs and chatted about the selection with the host Jorge Paez (a second programme is coming with an interview on the new album on 2nd July).
- PARGUELAND TRACKLIST
- The Upsetters – Scratch Walking – 1976, unknown format
- Ranking Devon – Death Ballarena – Death Ballarena 7’’ (Reggae Connection,1977)
- Burning Spear – Call On You – Rocking Time (Studio One, 1974)
- Tapper Zukie – I King Zukie – Man Ah Warrior (Count Shelly, 1973)
- Ras Michael And The Sons Of Negus – Wicked Got To Go – Love Thy Neighbour (Jah Life, 1979)
- Lloyd Robinson – It Deep (Extended Play) – It Deep 7″ (Studio One, 1978)
- Bullwackies All Stars – Morning Star – Black World Dub (Hardwax Records, 1979)
- Scientist vs. Prince Jammy – Round 1 – Big Showdown (Greensleeves, 1980)
June 19, 2021 § Leave a comment
I’ve had the pleasure of being asked some really interesting questions on both the new album and my entire output for several media outlets across various countries and in several languages, and this has been such a positive, heartwarming experience: at bottom, every artist hopes that their work will be understood and appreciated, and it has felt incredible to feel this so strongly on an album that has such deep personal roots and which I also see as a kind of “sum” of my musical influences and past work.
To also have all of my 7 albums celebrated – with an actual Bandcamp Daily retrospective and an 8-page article in Italian magazine Blow Up – has led me to feeling even more gratitude: I had no expectation when I started work on what became my first album, Everyone alive wants answers, back in 2002, that it would even see the light of day as an album, let alone be the start of a long adventure, and still be talked about and listened to almost 20 years down the line.
Here’s a list of all the interviews so far, in English except where mentioned, starting with the most indepth one for Aquarium Drunkard’s Transmissions podcast.
Bandcamp Daily retrospective “Colleen guides her through her fearless discography”
The Quietus (UK), “Taking stock: Colleen’s favourite albums”
Tush Magazine (Germany), “Between beauty, Brancusi and breakup”
Rock Delux (Spain), “El arte de desaparecer” – Spanish
Blow Up (Italy), 8-page retrospective (you need to buy the issue to read the whole article) – Italian
Magic (France), “Colleen: la création artistique, une thérapie obligée” – French
June 16, 2021 § Leave a comment
I apologize for abandoning the newsletter and news section of this website this past month: the truth is that between the whirlwind that was the Chiquita Room weekend, maintaining both Instagram and Facebook (thankfully with the same content published in one go), all my other promotion duties, ongoing admin stuff that never ceases, daily life AND the fact that I really dislike the new WordPress editor which has made everything way more complicated than need be and is trying to charge its users for almost any useful feature, it’s been hard to find the energy to keep updating this website. However, I know that some of you are not into social media, and hopefully maintaining a website and newsletter does make sense in this day and age, so… here we go: a massive update which I’ll try to keep going throughout this week, in both the news section and the various sections of the website that need updating.
First things first, The Tunnel and the Clearing, my 7th album, and 3rd for Thrill Jockey Records, was released on May 21st.
Making this album has meant so much to me both musically and personally, in a way that I’ve touched upon in various recent interviews which I’ll link to in the next post. Having the actual physical product out in the world was also its own challenge due to Covid’s ongoing repercussions on the music industry and especially the waiting period in vinyl pressing plants: you had to wait a lot before Covid, and now it’s even worse, with apparently no end to this problem in sight since there is simply too much demand for pressing plants’ capacities.
I also know that many of you in Europe received your preordered album late, so I thank you for your patience and understanding. The state of postal and courrier services – as well as their overwhelming cost to both businesses and customers – is another thing that I could rant about, but I won’t. I will just say this though: thank you for parting with your hard-earned cash, there is never any obligation to buy a record and now more than ever, I personally appreciate the gesture even more.
If you wish to purchase the album in a way that benefits the label and myself most directly, you have the choice between the label’s own webshop (which ships from both the US and the EU – so take that into consideration when it comes to shipping costs) and Bandcamp, with orders shipping only from the US (so beware of shipping costs to Europe ). Tote bag only available from the US sadly.
The record looks glorious in its vinyl version, and I also love how incredibly elegant the CD version is. Andrés Gómez Servín is the Mexican artist responsible for both the artwork and design. Do check out the rest of his work, including his amazing cyanotypes.