Colleen: Parisien, 26 ans, an English Professor (rowr!), ambient, on Leaf, like Susuma Yukota, kinda now, my work here is essentially done but let's drive further in...
Paris was the most cramped hell when I visited last year. Lost in its locked streets, almost without language and hostage to a steadily whittled wallet, the most everyday tasks became an ordeal akin to completely renegotiating the terms of my existence. The Metro, restaurants, "do you have this in my size?," basic human interactions all permanents of routine at home in Scotland where the understood etiquettes of dialect, intonation, fashion etc. provide sure tickets to shorthand speed-read acceptance all so many nightmares in that suffocating Paris. I began to deteriorate. Once-informed inner monologue, with all its tics of prejudice and aesthetic, its leanings and overbearing doubts, its "seen" and "had," "been" and "went" all of it, it all became outer dialogue, everything negotiable and negotiating. The hard, fast lines of my identity (the heuristic by which we all live our lives) were blurring and fraying.
We don't live our lives like this, though. However often music can be caught in an awkward posture trying to capture this thrill, the lightning flash of thought/ sex/ death/ transition, it most always shows up, awkward, in the light of day, where it's hard not to acknowledge that life quite often just stands you stock still. The most part is spent in the humble buzz of arranging salads, of having shoes mended, completing forms, shaking apple juice, staying bored. This is the intricate boredom that everyone alive wants answers charts. Soft flickers of sound, toy-box chimes, analog hiss, all these, all found in the repetitive phrases of Colleen's boredom. There's no easy way around it (I don't want to go round it): this is a boring album, where boredom is one of the most interesting felt emotions. It's interesting in its betrayal of the very essence of emotion (movement, motion), in its ubiquity, in its quotidian permanence.
Set to playing this album, then, and you'll find Colleen ambling through her head's quaint city, a true Parisian flâneur, stopping now and then to note how the light rests against buildings this time of day, the smell of burning pitched low in the air, cars' movements, etc. Little things, permanent things, boring things. Colleen is repetitive; her album doesn't particularly move much, and hardly goes forward when it does, but it is full of innumerable small majesties (the first scared chord of "carry-cot," a young English child's voice wafting through the weave, alien crickets caught trilling on "one night and it's gone" etc.). All the way back up that last sentence is an unfair "but," because the album's draw is in its repetition, its inertia. "Colleen is repetitive/ boring" ... but that's good.
So let's pretend I'm not me, and return to that old Paris of hurt and headaches and eavesdrop on the article I'm writing now, "Immune to Everyone":
"Traditional conceptions of beauty consistently trade on ideas of slowness (but not sloth), of symmetry (not tidyness), decay ("beautiful like rust is beautiful" haha), nihilistic creation (capturing death & birth, whole), &c. We can continue our little list, in this vein, out into the abstract metaphysical: the beauty of lack, of flesh, of dwelling, belonging, of whatever - anything can be characterised as beautiful ("why is 'shore' a more poetic word than 'beach'?" answer: it really isn't). What Colleen's music attempts, then, within its (own) curtly trimmed parameters is a synthesis of the traditional at the behest of the 'beautiful': repetitive rhythms, quiet sounds, mechanical flickers of instinct, contrived feeling, a summer she's never seen, a winter she fears, plucks and puckers of string and percussion and no sense of direction, a vast, useless motion. It all combines into the grand sum total of nothing. Nothing. The generous can, and will, call this album a weave/ a tapestry/ a sketch. Me, I say it's just plain boring. B, o, r, i, n, g."
B-b-b-but, we spend most of our lives waiting. To be blunt.