Reviews

Colleen

Ambient music is made for make-believe movies. Brian Eno emphasized this through his Music For Films series. Susumu Yokota claims Hayao Miyazaki's anime fairy tale Princess Mononoke as an inspiration for his 2002 album The Boy and the Tree. The basic idea behind ambience references the all-encompassing art form of cinema -- it aims to re-create an entire environment through sound -- which would make the fantastic world of filmmakers Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro a most suitable analogue to Cecile "Colleen" Schott. Not only are the three all French, but Colleen's debut album, Everyone Alive Wants Answers, also conjures the loneliness and baroque surrealism of Jeunet and Caro's The City of Lost Children.

Over the course of the album, Colleen illustrates its narrative with tracks like "Long Live Mice in the Metro" and "Babies," coupling glockenspiels, harps, and weird synth blurbs with toy piano melodies and crackling field recordings. On "A Swimming Pool Down the Railway Track" someone literally winds up a music box that plays over synthesizers, back-tracking bass pulsations, and tinkling bells. The film comparison also holds up in terms of consumption: This is a recording that reveals itself to rapt listeners sitting in darkness, their attention fixed on the flickering, melancholy sounds.

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Daniel Chamberlin