March 13, 2021 § Leave a comment
In my life I’ve been lucky to live in three cities with which I fell in love: Liverpool, Paris and Barcelona. Three totally different stages of my life: young and inexperienced in Liverpool in 1998, then one of the fullest periods of my life in Paris from 1999 to 2010 – the years in which I trained to be a teacher and began to teach, started the Colleen project, then became a full-time musician. I had a great time in San Sebastían (2010-2019), but would say that it was not the town that I loved there, but the presence of nature on its edges – which is slightly different. I moved to Barcelona in 2019, and although I knew I would like it, I didn’t anticipate the role it would play in my truly awful 2020. A large part of my self-devised-and-administered therapy involved walking up and down the city with my eyes truly open, and I was rewarded 10,000-fold, often thinking “Barcelona truly is my friend, always there for me”. So much so that the album is dedicated to my friends, my cats, and the city.
Irrespective of location, I feel that Covid has reemphasized how essential human connections are to a sense of belonging and well-being, and once I completed The Tunnel and the Clearing it was clear to me that *somehow* I wanted to celebrate its release , no matter how modestly, even with Covid still around. It has been my good fortune to cross paths with some amazing people here, and Laura, who runs the Chiquita Room art gallery, is one of them – so when she asked me if I might be interested in doing some sort of event around the album’s release, my answer was a resounding SÍ. For the first time in my life I am given a public space for 3 full days, which is an incredible blessing, so we are preparing something small-scale but meaningful and beautiful. We are still working out details, not least because we do not know yet if we will have full capacity or a Covid-limited one, but I can already tell you that I will be there with my instruments, eager to share with you some of my process and to play you music, in a spirit of true closeness and exchange.
Also, time to show you here the limited edition gold and white vinyl of the new album: gold exclusively available through Thrill Jockey’s mail order (shipping from both the US and Germany) and my Bandcamp (shipping from the US only), white available while stocks last at online and physical stores.
March 10, 2021 § Leave a comment
Test pressings of my new album The Tunnel and the Clearing arrived this week, and they sound great, so fingers crossed that vinyl production will go without delay in spite of Covid making things even more lengthy and complicated at vinyl plants in the US. Here’s a snippet of the fist track from the album, “The Crossing”.
Yesterday the second single of the album was released.
Of my entire catalogue spanning 18 years, “Implosion-Explosion” is the track I’m proudest of in terms of production. “Gazing at Taurus – Santa Eulalia” was about holding on to a physical vision (the figure of Santa Eulalia at the top of Barcelona’s cathedral, and at night the Pleiades above it) to withstand intense sadness. “Implosion-Explosion” is the flipside of the same coin, going into an angry territory which I hadn’t had the chance to explore in my music before, which gives me a chance to tell you more about the album and that song in particular.
The Tunnel and the Clearing is a sonic translation of the highly emotional state and the heightened sense of perception that come in the wake of a breakup and a period of great changes, with the subsequent necessary reconstruction this entails. “Implosion-Explosion” is my attempt at expressing both the sensation of being completely “see-through” once out alone in the outside world, and the combined feelings of pain and anger at what cannot be changed. PLEASE LISTEN LOUDLY at Thrill Jockey’s mail order, my Bandcamp, or any other place you fancy.
TECH SPECS: @soundgasltd Elka Drummer One into Roland RE-201 Space Echo, Yamaha Reface YC into @moogsynthesizers Moog MF-101 Lowpass Filter and MF-104M Analog Delay, vocals doubletracked into MF-104M Analog Delay. No plugin.
This week I will have the immense pleasure of letting you know about something special we’re preparing with @chiquitaroom here in Barcelona for the album’s release, so keep your eyes peeled :-)
February 7, 2021 § Leave a comment
When I decided I would set up my studio at home again a couple of years ago, after 8 years of having a separate studio, I did not anticipate that the thing I would enjoy the most would be the ability to work late into the evening and at night. The more progress I made on the album, the more I spread the workload between afternoon and evening/night (to my cats’ utter dismay): it somehow just felt so right, making me reconnect with sensations I hadn’t felt since my early recordings in the 2000s.
I feel so fortunate that super talented photographer Luis Torroja has managed to capture the night atmosphere of my modest but beloved studio in such a brilliant way!!!
I’ve been a fan of voluntarily restricted setups since my 5th album Captain of None, as I find that fewer parametres actually widen my creativity, and this album is the most radical thing I’ve ever done: all the sounds you’ll hear were produced with only 6 pieces of gear (not counting my Soundcraft mixing desk and Scarlett soundcard), 5 of them analog (Elka Drummer One, Roland RE-201 Space Echo – both from Soundgas – , Moog Grandmother, MF-104M Analog Delay, MF-101 Lowpass Filter), 1 digital (Yamaha Reface YC, the main sound source on all songs, manipulated through the analog gear) + my voice. No digital plugin whatsoever was used. Digital intervention is purely and strictly restricted to a few edits (could count them on the fingers of my 2 hands) where takes needed to be joined (with the exception of vocals for which I did have to do a bit more “Frankensteining” due to being particularly nervous when recording these sessions).
Case in point, single “Gazing at Taurus – Santa Eulalia”: Yamaha Reface YC into Moog MF-104M Analog Delay, Elka Drummer One into Roland RE-201 Space Echo for a tiny bit of spring reverb. Vocals double-tracked with no FX.
February 3, 2021 § Leave a comment
I can’t even begin to tell you how much my 7th album means to me, so I’ll just invite you to listen to the first single, read the lyrics below at the same time, and read the press release here or here.
The album is released on Thrill Jockey Records on May 21st 2021, and preorders already available .IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SHIPPING: my Bandcamp is run by Thrill Jockey who can only ship from the US on the Bandcamp platform. Please go to the THRILL JOCKEY SHOP TO CHOOSE SHIPPING FROM THE EU!
The single is also available on all streaming sites.
More about the album and that song on 5th February.
Artwork by Andrés Gomez Servín.
“Time has been dripping through my bones
In slow droplets of sadness
And I wanted to see Taurus again
Just like last year
Spreading across and above the
O sweet Pleiades
I’ll grab your sky
Make it my own
Blanket around my soul
Travel through the tunnel
Make it through the tunnel
MIX RETROSPECTIVE ENDS: 2015 “CLOUD-CAPPED” FOR KLANGSCHAP + SAVE THE DATE: 3 FEBRUARY 2021 + THAT MOOGFEST SHOW
January 24, 2021 § Leave a comment
This mix retrospective coupled with pics of my past live shows ends at the perfect moment: the future will soon be my present. What do I mean with this sentence, which kept cropping up in my mind yesterday? As with most of us, my life has been partially put on hold with Covid, but releasing my 7th album was on my mind long before Covid got here, and the thought that within less than 2 weeks the album will finally start its life at Thrill Jockey Records in spite of current circumstances fills me with deep gratitude and a sense of hope that this won’t last forever.
This last mix: October 2015, I had some bad news in my close family and was filled with worry and sadness, which is reflected in this mix, which takes its name from a beautiful 1960 Bengali film, “The cloud-capped star”, with an amazing soundtrack interspersed throughout this mix, with old favourites and an African ending.
That show, Moogfest, Durham, NC, 20th May 2017: my last show playing Captain of None live, the first in which I played an excerpt from the yet-to-be-released A flame my love, a frequency. Two days earlier, I was playing in San Diego: I had a blast birdwatching, was disappointed with the show, then spent the scariest hour of my life in an Uber on the way back to my hotel in Del Mar – literally *the* scariest hour of my life, worthy of a David Lynch film, in which I thought I would die – and I honestly think it’s a miracle I did get back to my hotel safely (I vowed to never to take an Uber again – hadn’t been my choice in the first place – and have stuck to this decision ever since). I spent 19th May trying to recover from the shock, wondering if I was even going to be able to perform. Thankfully, by 20th May, I pulled myself together enough to realize that this was indeed my last show performing my beloved album, and perhaps somehow this horrible adventure was there to prove a point about the fragility of life and how it could all be taken away suddenly and absurdly.
OST Mildred Pierce
Reuben Bell And The Casanovas – It’s Not That Easy
Nina Simone – When I Was In My Prime
Bela Bartok – Rumanian Folk Dance
Jane And Barton – It’s A Fine Day
OST The Cloud-Capped Star 1
Denial – California Dreaming
Dark Day – The Metal Benders
OST The Cloud-Capped Star 2
Meredith Monk – Nota
Bob Lind – Black Night
Jackson C Frank – Just Like Anything
Townes Van Zandt – Waiting Around To Die (Live At The Old Quarter)
OST The Cloud-Capped Star 3
Stina Nordenstam – Clothe Yourself For The Wind
Dominique A – Nous Marchons Sous La Neige
Grouper – Disengaged – Vital
Greg Gives Peter Space – Electric Eel River
Stefan Lakatos/Moondog – Over The Mountain
Khassonka Dunun – Traditional Music From Mali
Bena Kazembe Balitumpa – Kalimba & Kalumbu Songs, Northern Rhodesia
Lalle – The Fulani, Niger / Northern Bénin
Taireva – Zimbabwe, The Soul Of Mbira
OST The Cloud-Capped Star 4
OST Mildred Pierce