November 30, 2018 § Leave a comment
At midnight tonight, I will have fully recovered all rights to my first three albums and EP: Everyone Alive Wants Answers, The Golden Morning Breaks, Colleen et les Boîtes à Musique, and Les Ondes Silencieuses. My licencing contract with The Leaf Label, who originally released them in the 2000s and reissued them recently, was supposed to last until 2023, so recovering those rights hasn’t happened by chance. I would have liked to dazzle you with talks of “legal battle”, conjuring up visions of myself as the noble musician clad in some kind of knight-like white armour. Instead let me tell you what this has really been like: a snail going up a hill. For several years. Every blade of grass surprisingly tall. Every stone a massive boulder that has to be patiently slogged around. But this little snail is finally at the top of the hill, and although it’s too exhausted and too cautious to rejoice right now, for fear this might be premature, it’s damn proud of its will to climb and of the climb itself, and is determined to enjoy the view.
IN PRACTICAL TERMS… Let me get off my metaphorical snail ;-) One of the complicated things when regaining rights to albums that still exist as physical items is how to deal with the remaining stock (the unsold LPs and CDs, right now spread across many countries in distributor’s warehouses and shops). One option is to destroy the stock, which I did not contemplate. So the records will soon find their way to of a new partner who will be able to ensure their distribution and sale, although exactly when that will happen is beyond my control right now. Hopefully this is a matter of weeks, not months. In the meantime I have also had to remove those physical items from my Bandcamp page, since Leaf were shipping these on my behalf. I will of course let you know as soon as they are available again. As always – I’m repeating myself, and will keep doing it – thanks for your support.
November 16, 2018 § Leave a comment
This image depicts my afternoon as it really happened: I really went to the beach, really studied Moogmusic’s Grandmother’s manual, the sun really shone that way, and it really did look this lovely. I felt like taking a picture and sharing it with you, because I’ve shared so very little this year, and yet I realized I could not post this idyllic image without at least mentioning the unpictured counterpart to it: progress on making new music has been agonizingly slow this year due to circumstances beyond my control, and about which I will probably tell you more at some point, but which I feel unsure about sharing publicly now. Amidst the frustration I am feeling regarding my current inability to work on my music as much as I would want to, all I can do is try and make the best of my circumstances, and reading through a manual for the first time in such a beautiful place today was probably the best thing I could do. Like a good few people these days, I have grown uncertain about what consists in legitimately communicating with my audience and what feels and looks like some kind of semi-permanent promotion and display of the self (even the self as musician) complete with personal information which should probably remain just that: personal. However my life as a musician is of course impacted by my life as a flesh-and-blood person, hence a blur which I find not easy to navigate… You can be sure though that the first way in which I will always want to communicate with you is through music, and I have at least cause for celebration in the fact that I have so many ideas and ambitions for my seventh album. As always thanks for reading, and for listening to the music.
September 21, 2018 § Leave a comment
I’ll be playing at Tokyo’s Miraikan as part of Mutek Japan, and given that I haven’t played in Japan since 2008, it’s an understatement to say I’m excited to go back to a country that had such an influence on me when I first toured there in 2006 (the Japanese minimal/traditional aesthetics is all over my third album Les Ondes Silencieuses from 2007)! More info here https://mutek.jp/artists/2018/09/13/colleen-fr/
September 9, 2018 § Leave a comment
The session I recorded back at the Moog Sound Lab in Asheville, NC in November 2017 while on the A flame my love, a frequency tour is now available for listening on Moog Music Inc.‘s Soundcloud! Moog have sadly decided to stop the production of the Moogerfoogers, but I’m honored that they chose the session I recorded as the goodbye to these amazing units!
The music you’ll hear was recorded in a single afternoon, “Winter dawn” using the MF104M Analog Delay and MF105M MIDIMuRF just like on the album, while the four other recordings use the chord sequences from different songs on the album as starting points, revisiting them through a daisychain of MF101 Lowpass Filter, MF102 Ring Modulator, MF103 12-stage phaser and MF104M, with the last song also using the CP251 Control Processor. I absolutely loved exploring even deeper soundscapes through those pedals, and these versions give you a glimpse of what the next album will sound like in part (in part because there will be new intruments!).
As always thanks for listening, and of course a huge thank you to the people at Moog, and a very special thank you too to Iker Spozio for the amazing artwork!
June 20, 2018 § Leave a comment
A very short post to let you know I’ve just begun working on new music!
The very early stages of working on a new album are some of my favorite moments in the album-making process: I usually know where I want to be headed, but there is a world of difference between audio daydreaming and tangible sonic reality. So it’s a thrill to install new pieces of gear and get the first feel of how simultaneously challenging and fun the exploration of sound is going to be: everything still needs to be understood in depth, tested in all possible combinations, until slowly, those sonic glimpses start to gel into actual music. This is only part of the setup I intend to use, and there’s already so much to explore in there: whenever I see those 5 Moogerfoogers together, the French expression “brochette de Moogerfoogers” (“Moogerfooger skewer”) comes to my mind!
Have a beautiful summer, even if it’s a rainy one :-)))
May 8, 2018 § Leave a comment
Allez, une fois n’est pas coutume, un post en Français, pour vous rappeler que je joue à Lyon au Transbordeur à 20h30 ce jeudi 10 mai dans le cadre du très électronique Nuits Sonores – le genre de festival que je n’aurais très certainement pas fait avant de sortir un album entièrement électronique (je vous laisse imaginer les difficultés d’amplification de la viole de gambe dans ce genre de contexte… mon setup actuel présente quelques difficultés techniques, mais au moins pas de problème de volume et pas de soundcheck stressant!)
J’en profite également pour vous signaler l’existence de ce long entretien paru il y a quelques semaines chez Noisey, effectué quelques jours après mon retour des Etats-Unis et quelques heures avant mon passage au BB Mix à Paris, d’où un certain laisser-aller dans mon Francais ;-) Le titre de l’article contient une erreur temporelle que sur le coup je n’ai même pas remarquée, puisque cela va faire 15 ans le mois prochain que mon premier album est sorti, donc on est bien au delà des 10 ans! Et oui, le titre est un peu exagéré, car je ne pense pas être “totalement snobée” en France, mais un peu quand même ;-)Je dirais plutôt que la France et moi, c’est un éternel rendez-vous manqué, un chien qui se mord la queue, une catch-22 situation… Mais je pense que personne n’a absolument toute la presse et toute l’attention du monde en sa faveur, et que j’ai déjà bien de la chance avec ce que j’ai :-)
Sur ce, à bientôt à Lyon :-)
May 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
When I wrote earlier this year that as part of my plan to have a slow 2018 I would step back from being active on Facebook and my website, I didn’t know how true this would be! That and stepping back from accepting shows for a while have been two great and very necessary decisions and I finally feel more or less rested! Which is good news since I do have two shows in the next two weeks: Stockholm on Wednesday 3rd May at Fasching, and Lyon at Le Transbordeur/ Nuits sonores festival on 10th May!
I took the opportunity of rehearsing this afternoon to shoot something I’ve been meaning to show you for a while: a close up of the Moog Music Inc. MF104M delay and MIDIMuRF action on “One warm spark”.
Almost everyone understands what a delay does, but the MuRF is kind of hard to explain as it’s so versatile and unusual, so if you can forgive the low sound quality and absence of stereo (this was shot with my phone with the sound of the PA in my studio – in a physical setting or a stereo recording the sounds bounce between Left and Right, which makes it waaaay cooler since the MuRF filters are assigned to Left and Right channels), you will still see and hear clearly how manipulating the different parameters drastically affects what’s going on: when the video starts, the chord on the Pocket Piano is in hold mode, I’ve just switched on the delay and I’m augmenting feedback while toggling the Short/ Long switch until the loop feeds back on itself in a stable way. I then remove the LFO from the MuRF and start moving the envelope (first control on the left) and the filters up and down in rhythm with the music. This interplay goes on while the Mix control (at the top) is engaged fully (100%), until I move that control back to 50% rapidly and in rhythm 8 times. After that, I switch back to the short setting on the delay, reduce feedback, reengage the LFO on the MuRF, and go back to playing the song’s beginning chord progression while going to another envelope that’s similar to the beginning but more “fluid” sounding. The song ends with going back to the long setting on the delay, keeping only the 4 lowest filters on the MuRF, then engaging 2 more of them for the ending chords. I hope this video is useful as an illustration of what I’ve been talking in some interviews, which is how so-called effects can be used to create melodies and rhythm and not just be there for cosmetic enhancement!