Combining loops, samples, and eclectic acoustic instruments into dreamily experimental pop, Colleen is the project of French producer/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Cécile Schott.
A former English teacher, she began making music in 2001, when a friend gave her a disc of free music production software. As she pieced together found sounds and samples from her own music collection as well as that of Paris Mediatheques' library, Colleen was born. Schott's debut album, Everyone Alive Wants Answers, arrived in 2003 via England's Leaf Label
. For her concerts, she didn't want to rely on a strictly electronic approach, so she augmented her loops with effects and live instrumentation. These elements also appeared on her second album, 2005's The Golden Morning Breaks, which included guitars, old pianos, mallets, and even toy instruments. The following year, Colleen released Mort aux Vaches (Death to Cows), a volume of Staalplaat
's live performance series, as well as the EP Colleen et les Boîtes à Musique (Colleen and the Music Boxes), a set featuring music boxes and commissioned by France's Radiophonic Workshop. Schott's music evolved again with 2007's Les Ondes Silencieuses (The Silent Waves), which boasted less structured compositions as well as more eclectic instrumentation such as the spinet and the viola de gamba, an instrument that had intrigued Schott since she first heard it as a teen. That year, she also scored the dance production Série by choreographer Perrine Valli. Schott returned in 2013 with The Weighing of the Heart, the first Colleen album to feature her vocals. She explored this direction further and also incorporated elements of dub and other Jamaican music styles on her 2015 Thrill Jockey
debut, Captain of None. For 2017's A Flame My Love, A Frequency, Colleen shifted to synths including the Critter and Guitari Pocket Piano and Septavox, and drew upon her feelings about the 2015 Paris terror attacks for the album's impressionistic, highly emotional songs. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi