Boomkat Product Review:
Gorgeous, minimlaist faded dub-pop from Colleen, written in the midst of illness, relocation and the breakup of a long-term romantic partnership and sounding something like Antena reworked at Black Ark Studios. Highly recommended if yr into Broadcast, Lucrecia Dalt, Camino Del Sol...
'The Tunnel and the Clearing' is Cécile Schott's most immediate and open-hearted album to date; after beginning her journey with the underrated, sample-based 'Everyone Alive Wants Answers', Schott tried her hand at instruments and looping, eventually settling on sparse, haunting song forms on 2013's 'The Weighing of the Heart', marked out by the inclusion her own voice. On her last album, Schott honed these songs into dub-influenced Arthur Russell-esque vignettes - 'The Tunnel and the Clearing' continues this journey, but completely reconstructs her creative methodology.
After spending months in almost complete silence in treatment and then in lockdown, Schott stripped her setup to use only a handful of instruments: a Moog synthesizer, Yamaha organ, the Roland Space Echo and a vintage Elka drum machine, following the same process with which some of her favorite albums were recorded, squeezing creativity from a basic set of tools. It's an age-old story, but it here pays off in spades; the songs here have a warm familiarity to them but sound more focused, delicate and emotionally raw then anything we've heard on a Colleen album until now.
'The Crossing' and 'Gazing at Taurus - Santa Eulalia' remind us of late nights spent in the company of classic Les Disques du Crépuscule, while bubbling, melancholy drone experiments like 'The Tunnel and Clearing' and closer 'Hidden in the Current' hark back to a rough-hewn simplicity that drew us to Schott's earliest work. It's an album full of songs underpinned by an almost early electronic froth, with an undulating dub pulse that makes it an essential listen for fans of Broadcast and the Focus Group's underrated collaboration or even Cluster and Eno at their most exposed.