Colleen – Separating (Thrill Jockey)

This is quite the departure for anyone familiar with the last two albums by Colleen.

Those featured prominently the viola da gamba, a Renaissance instrument not a million miles from a cello.

In Colleen’s hands though it shook off any hint of baroque, instead zoning in on a kind of musique concrete taking loops and cut ups and field recordings and fashioning them into meditations on the elements and the natural world.

There are no strings at all on the new album (A flame my love, a frequency, due in October), ditched in favour of Moog pedals and Critter and Guitari synthesizers of all things.

The lyrical themes show a certain thread mind you and the overall impression is of a fragile and trancelike brand of kosmische.

Her voice is once again awash in echo while the backing shimmers and pulses insistently.

It has very much the feel of chance music about it as the moog arpeggios skitter off in a thousand different directions.

In keeping with those elemental meditations.

Maybe not so much of a departure after all.

It’s a beautiful and challenging sound.

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