Colleen: Les Ondes Silencieuses

Bob Burnett: I was originally drawn to Colleen's work via a clip on youtube that I posted on c60 a bit back. From that connection, I pursued her work--discovering three full length albums and one ep. (all available via emusic for you downloaders out there) "Colleen" is the performance name of Paris-based C├ęcile Schott. She performs solo on her albums; somehow she manages to bring together centuries-old instruments such as the (seven-stringed and fretted like a guitar) viola de gamba and harpsichord-like spinnet with modern technology. Her myspace page offers more biographical information as well as tour schedules and other pertinent information. I'm very drawn to the minimal qualities of her work (all on the Leaf Label)--especially on this album. Her previous work relied heavier on digital samples and layered accompaniment where this album dreamily floats in several solo or duet situations. While being rooted somewhat in the mysterious sounds of baroque music simply due to the timbre of the instruments, her sound is improvisational and open---the clarinet is subtle like Jimmy Giuffre's once was, the spinnet floats in a Keith Jarrett improvisations on harpsichord manner and the beautiful tones of the viola de gamba would easily fit within a Morton Feldman composition.

There is another interesting review of this album that goes into detail about how the sound of this album was influenced back when Colleen was 15 years old and saw a film about 17th century viola de gamba player Marin Marais. I've purchased her other albums based on the strength of Les Ondes Silencieuses. Hopefully I'll have more to report on this fascinating recent discovery.

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