June 30, 2022 § Leave a comment
20 YEARS OF COLLEEN: Everyone Alive Wants Answers is 19 years old today.
This year I’m celebrating (well, kind of 😂) 20 years of making music as Colleen and I was going to write a post for each one of my albums on their respective anniversary dates, which happen to be almost systematically in the spring, but a big health scare got in the way and I had to step away from social media for a bit.
So am starting now with my first album, released 19 years ago today, the one that literally changed my life. I worked on it throughout 2002, my first year of teaching English full time in a lycée in the Parisian suburb of Poissy. I had no clue this was the start of something real and different from what I had anticipated for myself in my life. Sent it to various labels, only one of which replied positively, The Leaf Label, which subsequently released my second and third albums and my music box EP.
It is very unfortunate that my relationship with the label was damaged beyond repair through unethical behaviour in terms of accounting and payment, because I do think the label did a great job of distributing and promoting my music internationally, which in turn enabled me to tour almost worldwide.
The record was based on samples taken from my own collection of records or from the CDs I borrowed like a maniac from the Paris médiathèques, with the exception of “A swimming pool down the railway track” which features a 1994/5 recording of the Bontempi organ I got as a kid. Everything sampled in Soundforge (pre-Burial style haha) and assembled in Acid (which I was still using until last month!) on a massive PC I’d initially bought to write my master’s thesis. In the 17m2 studio flat in which I lived in Paris. The opening title track would definitely be in my 5 favorite Colleen songs if I had to choose.
Some black and white vinyl copies are still available from the Thrill Jockey shop (copies shipping from the US too in a few days).
The Leaf Label last represses
June 15, 2022 § Leave a comment
So happy to be back in Madrid on 28 August as part of the Terraza Magnética series! It’ll only be my 4th show in Madrid, and amazingly enough it’s the 3rd time I’m playing La Casa Encendida] : I first played there on 10 March 2006 right between The Golden Morning Breaks and Les Ondes Silencieuses, and this photo is from playing Captain of None on the terrace on 14 August 2016: it captures really well the incredible light that started falling as the show progressed, and I still remember the breeze that mercifully started too and the swifts flying past us… I’m so excited to come back with a 3rd setup to play The Tunnel and the Clearing, and – time should allow for that – a couple of new songs from the forthcoming album!
Talking of which… I have decided to take a bit more time for LP8, partly because my health hasn’t been optimal in the past few months and therefore I haven’t been as efficient as I would have wanted to, but mainly because this album just wants to be long and complex: at a certain point, my albums always take a volition of their own, and I feel like I’m “responding” to what the album needs to be, as opposed to consciously steering it in a certain direction. To do justice to the several directions the music is taking (a very “composed” style, a very experimental synthesis side, a more pop-oriented approach with singing, and a more rhythmical side with the Elka), to work out a coherent tracklisting, and to make sure mastering goes smoothly (ie no “I need to listen to a 70-minute album in as many places as possible in 3 days” rush), I have decided it just makes sense to take my time in order to savour the process as much as possible, and avoid stress.
I’ll also admit that in a way it’s almost like I don’t want to finish it, because I’m enjoying the open-endedness of it all so much Maybe the perspective of getting a new synth for LP9 will be my main motivator for finishing LP8
THE TUNNEL AND THE CLEARING LIVE AT KINGS PLACE: “IMPLOSION-EXPLOSION” + “THE TUNNEL” + DIY KEYBOARD EXTENSION
March 25, 2022 § Leave a comment
March 22, 2022 § Leave a comment
RESET THE COUNTER TO ZERO, OR HOW THE COVID-DELAYED KINGS PLACE CONCERT WAS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.
(Written on the Sunday right after the show, held on 19 March 2022)
I am feeling so high from yesterday’s show at Kings Place, London. Every musician who has ever performed live knows that after a show, you can experience a myriad of feelings, mixed ones too, covering various areas: be delighted about one thing, disappointed by another, from how you played to the organization, the welcome you get from the venue, the sound, the audience…
For me the main question usually boils down to: did I get the reward of putting in a good performance relative to the amount of time I spent rehearsing, or did I get “unlucky” for X or Y reason and not reap the fruit of my labour? And sometimes the reply hurts, and it was one of the reasons I had decided to give up live playing last year: uncertain results for an always insane amount of work.
Yesterday though… everything just felt so *right* and the day was exactly what I needed to reaffirm the reversal of my previous decision: the joy of hearing sound beautifully amplified in a wonderful venue, for an audience that listens and cares, with exquisite treatment by everyone at the venue. It was also the first time I got a lot of help for a show (of my previous 230 + shows, 90% were done purely by myself, with me carrying more than half my body weight in gear). Literally without that human help the show would have been much less of what it was. To play those two very different albums (Captain of None and The Tunnel and the Clearing), I needed to bring 60 kilos of gear and instruments, and this would have been impossible without my awesome friend, colleague and now roadie/tech assistant David @furvoice @mutabor_music. Gid @lordgid from @soundgasltd drove down from Derbyshire to bring an Elka Drummer One and a Space Echo just for the show, thereby solving a problem for me and making the sound extra special with the real thing.
Hopefully Covid is now truly getting weaker, and if the worldwide situation allows, I will tour the States again, and do more shows elsewhere, with a renewed gratitude for how wonderful this can truly be.
MORE MEMORIES FROM THE SHOW AT EL PUMAREJO, BARCELONA, 11 MARCH.
My dear friend and collaborator Luis Torroja, who was responsible for my last press photos and made the mini-documentary on The Tunnel and the Clearing, took these beautiful pictures of my show in Barcelona.
FEATURE IN CATALAN IN ARA
Finally, I forgot to post here that I got a full (and beautifully-written) feature in Catalan in prominent newspaper Ara, read it here.