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!
February 13, 2018 § Leave a comment
At long last I’ve managed to gather the energy to do a full website update to include all the stuff that happened around the album release and the immediate tour that followed it: as you probably know, this website is meant to function as a kind of “resources” space, and it’s becoming a bit of a labyrinth, understandably so since I’m documenting 15 years of music-making as Colleen, and each album has been pretty different!
Since this update can also serve as a tour recap of sorts, let me guide you through some of the interviews, videos and other tidbits that may be of interest to you, especially if you’re not a Facebook follower (Facebook is of course way easier to update, but then all the information gets piled up and simultaneously buried…)
But before that, let me announce a rare date in France, 10th May in Lyon as part of the Nuits Sonores festival, at Le Transbordeur! As I mentioned in December, I’m slowing down on the live front as my body and brain are not able to keep up with the intensity that travelling and planning for shows entails (it’s not the playing that’s the problem, I love it – it’s the stuff that I have to do to make that 1 hour of live music-making happen), so if one of my next shows is not too far from where you live, don’t miss it, as I definitely won’t play A flame my love, a frequency again in the same places: Den Haag / Rewire 2 March, Barcelona / Mutek 7 March, Stockholm 3 May. All details here or on the Songkick!
Now let’s go back to the website update!
I had the immense pleasure of doing some really in-depth interviews while I was on tour or just before leaving, here’s a recap:
These are most of the videos that have been shot of me playing live in venues or radio sessions. For radio I chose to play the same songs, since playing on the radio in France or the US is of course supposed to be geared towards different audiences, and the trio of “Winter dawn/Summer night (Bat song)/The stars vs creatures” is one of the easiest ones in terms of gear transition and mixing desk settings. It’s stressful enough to change these during live shows, but imagine how it feels during a *live* radio session… especially if you’ve left all the notes you so carefully prepared in your hotel room!!! True story of what I did in New York for the WNYC session!!! I now know better and have detailed photographs of the sheets on my smartphone and on my Dropbox, should this unfortunate event happen again!
With hindsight I kind of regret that now the video and audio traces I have are mostly of the same songs, but that’s life I guess…
Live in Paris, radio studio Studio 104 for Foule Sentimentale programme for France Inter, 23 November 2017 (Winter dawn / Summer night (Bat song) / The stars vs creatures)
Summer night (Bat anthem) in Lisbon, ZDB, 7 December 2017 – an alternative version of Summer night (Bat song) which I’ve been playing at encores at live shows
Live in Paris (Boulogne-Billancourt), BBmix festival, 25 November 2017 (Winter dawn – special live version / Summer night (Bat song) / The stars vs creatures / A flame my love, a frequency)
Dublab’s Celsius Drop live interview and session recorded in Los Angeles, 2 November 2017. Perhaps because I’d only managed to get a few hours of sleep between the LA show and waking up for the session, I extremely annoyingly use the words “you know” and “like” like, you know, 50 times! ;-))) A little bit of the session was lost due to a computer bug, so the end of Separating and all of Another world were lost, but you still get to hear: Separating (first half) / Winter dawn – special live version / Summer night (Bat song) / One warm spark.
Live radio session, at Studio 104 for Foule Sentimentale programme for France Inter radio, Paris 23 November 2017, official audio of the youtube video above (Winter dawn / The stars vs creatures)
It was only recently that I realised that I hadn’t updated the lyrics page here for A flame, and that my Bandcamp did not include any lyrics – corrected now! :-)
I’ve added more of the beautiful photos taken by Isabel Dublang for the Resident Advisor article. Here are a few of them.
Added mostly photos from Vera Marmelo’s photo report of my soundcheck and show at Lisbon’s ZDB on 7th December 2017
And also this one which I love of the Studio 104 performance in Paris, taken by Marion Seury from the engineer’s room: anything that looks like I’m playing in the cosmos looks good to me! ;-)
As always thanks for watching this space and caring about my music, it means the world to me!
January 4, 2018 § 1 Comment
Happy new year everyone!
I have a video and an interview to share with you to start this year, both creation-focused, which I think is the right way to start the year! The Thrill Jockey Records folks took advantage of my presence in Chicago on November 3rd for my show at the Museum of Contemporary Art to ask me to present the gear that was used to make “A flame my love, a frequency” in studio, and which I also use live: I don’t even know how I managed to explain all of this, given that this was after the show and at the end of my infamous first-week-of-touring-where-i-burn-transformers-then-buy-the-wrong-transformers-and-still-don’t-have-my-own-transformers-by-the-4th-show, I had slept 2 hours and spent the whole day trying to locate transformers until I finally did find them… Let’s say I was tired but relieved ;-))) Anyway, I’m glad we filmed this, as this is something I wanted to do anyway! If you have any technical questions please don’t hesitate to ask! Thanks a lot to Julia Dratel for doing the filming! And Moog Music Inc., Critter & Guitari and Soundcraft Mixers for the amazing gear!
And the following is one of my favourite interviews ever, from a great website, The Creative Independent. An entire interview centered on what it means to be creative over the years, how you can try to preserve that flame, and if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, I recommend reading just my reply to the last question “Is there something that you wish somebody had told you when you were first starting out?”
So here’s to a peaceful and slowly creative 2018 :-)))
December 20, 2017 § Leave a comment
As I’m slowly recovering from my pharyngitis, I’m reflecting on a year full of learning and artistic and human experiences. I do think I reached the limits of my physical and psychological capacities, so my aim for 2018 will be to prioritize rest and a sense of slowness over productivity, online presence and live shows. Which leads me to end of the year lists. A flame my love, a frequency has without a doubt led me to work the hardest I’ve ever worked in my entire life, so even though I do think any “best of the year” list has to be taken for what it is – a reflection of the magazine/webzine’s tastes, and not some kind of “objective truth” –, in a world inundated with thousands of new albums every year, I am grateful that the album has made it to several best of 2017 lists, reaching number 2 on FACT Magazine, and is also included in the lists of The Vinyl Factory, The Quietus, The Vinyl District, Textura, Tiny Mix Tapes, and a couple more.
This photo of me is from a series that the super talented Portuguese photographer Vera Marmelo took during the soundcheck and show at Lisbon’s Galeria Ze Dos Bois earlier this month. I don’t know why my hand is in that position (trying to see the audience? realising I dialled something wrong in the dozens of settings I have to change for each song??? ), but I just really like that photo, its softness encapsulates the sense of trust and well-being that I feel whenever I play in that very special venue :-))) You can see the whole series here.
Last but not least, pour les Francophones, un long entretien fait avant mon concert au festival BBMix pour Manifesto XXI, où l’on évoque Delia Derbyshire, le passage de prof d’anglais à musicienne à temps plein, Facebook, ma récente session chez Moog, et plein d’autres choses liées au dernier album et à mon approche musicale en général ! Merci Alice!
December 15, 2017 § Leave a comment
I have some good news and bad news in this post: I am so sorry to have to cancel my participation in Alien Disko Festival tomorrow in Munich: I was really looking forward to playing this beautifully-curated festival, but I felt on the verge of falling ill all week, and now it’s happened: I have pharyngitis, and having had it last year just before a concert, I know that travelling with this and attempting to play and sing is a *really* bad idea, as the symptoms get worse with travelling and working. I know that for sure I would end up with a fever and generally worsened symptoms that would probably prevent me from performing anyway. It is only the second time in 14 years of live playing and more than 220 shows that I cancel a show for health reasons, so if I’m doing it it’s because it’s really necessary. I do apologize to those of you who were hoping to see me there…
(PS: for those who don’t follow me on Facebook, on Sunday I was stranded with thousands of other passengers in Stansted airport, London, because of the bad weather; I ended up having to spend 3 extra days in London, so that and the fact that St John on Bethnal Green where I played on Saturday was pretty cold + weeks of travelling and not sleeping enough are probably the reason why my body has now decided it’s had enough…)
Ironically, I do have some very good news to announce on the live European front: I have some really exciting dates lined up for this spring, I hope to see you there, and in the meantime, I’m going to have a nice long rest so I can be in the best of shapes to play again! Here is the full list of dates
2 March 2018, Den Haag, Holland – (P)Rewire with Laurel Halo, Korzo Theatre
3 May 2018, Stockholm, Sweden – Fasching – full announcement and tickets available next week