Boomkat Product Review:
Following on from an extended period of silence broken by 2013’s "The Weighing of the Heart” album, Cécile Schott a.k.a. Colleen returns with the fantastic "Captain Of None”, without question the finest record of her career to date.
It’s the second Colleen outing that features her own vocals, but this time round there is a heightened pop sensibility fuelled by an immersion in the works of Arthur Russell (and in particular Tim Lawrence’s excellent biography "Hold On to Your Dreams”), as well as an unexpected love of Jamaican music manifest here via her first ever incorporation of basslines, but also more extreme studio techniques that intrude the arrangements and jolt the listener whenever the album becomes too easy on the ear.
Schott recently described the album to FACT as “…the poppiest and the most experimental record of my career..” - and it’s an apt summation of a record that is immensely approachable, memorable, but also quietly daring with its effortless blend of neo-classical signatures and more unexpected, angular elements. The aforementioned basslines are provided by a small Viola De Gamba (which is said to be the instrument that most closely resembles the sound of the human voice) which first makes an appearance on opening track “Holding Horses” - underpinning those instantly familiar harp cascades with some bass weight, but it’s on the immeasurably beautiful ‘I’m Kin’ that you get a fully panoramic view of just how far Schott has come as a producer over the last few years.
“This Hammer Breaks” pushes further into the new, including a gloriously messy percussive assault that undulates and ricochets with carefully overplayed delay and echo to startling effect, while "Salina Stars” ushers a Melodica in to proceedings with a gently chaotic touch. So, to sum up, 'Captain Of None' is a real French fancy; an impossibly lovely reverie mirroring sylvan vocals with a world of sonic influences that reminds us of everything from Brenda Ray's sun-struck Casio reggae to Grouper's exquisite use of negative space, creating a twilight garden maze of resonant wonder that we just can’t stop listening to...