Live from Big Ears Festival: the French composer and multi-instrumentalist brings a baroque sensibility to ambient minimalism.
Cécile Schott started the Colleen project in 2001, spurned on by some music production software that a friend had given her. As such, much of the French artist’s early output was sample based—much of her first album, 2003’s Everyone Alive Wants Answers, consisted of sounds lifted from Schott’s record collection and the Paris Mediatheque. The LP proved to be a hit, but once the time came to tour, Schott quickly realized that she wanted a more live experience, and replicated sounds from the album using acoustic instruments played through loop pedals. This approach has shaped much of her subsequent work, even as she’s experimented with unusual instrumentation, tackled conceptual projects, dabbled with dub and reggae sounds, added her own vocals to the mix and relocated from Paris to San Sebastian. In 2015, Schott linked up with the storied Thrill Jockey label for her Captain of None album, and although her music is still often tagged as ambient, it’s also rather organic, which perhaps explains its unwavering appeal.