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Colleen

The Tunnel And The Clearing

Thrill Jockey

Released: 21st May 2021

Limited Opaque WhiteVinyl£32.99 Pre-Order Dispatched on or before Friday 21st May 2021
CD£13.99 Pre-Order Dispatched on or before Friday 21st May 2021


Colleen is an aboundingly inventive composer and artist. For two decades Cécile Schott, as Colleen, has crafted welcoming, enchanting, and bewildering music. The multi-
instrumentalist and vocalist’s timeless compositions make use of carefully selected tools to mold memories into transcendent splendor. The Tunnel and the Clearing finds Schott at
her most vulnerable and confident, invoking contemplative and swirling organ processed
through analog electronics, steady drum machine syncopations and her distinctive
voice. On an album centered on processing the complicated washes of emotion through
tribulations and revelations Colleen presents a vision of breathless clarity.
The Tunnel and the Clearing was developed over a period of transformative change.
Colleen began work on the album in 2018 but was all but halted by extreme fatigue
from a previously undiagnosed illness. Years of treatment and adjustment eventually led
to relocating to Barcelona, soon followed by lockdowns and then the dissolution of her
longtime partnership. Reflecting on these cumulative experiences she reimagined her
compositional practices, spending months in near complete silence. Says Schott, “Never
before had I felt so profoundly the power that music has, through harmony, melody, rhythm
and sound itself, to express the whole range of human emotions.” The resulting seven
pieces investigate the complex, at times contradictory relationship between excitement
and fear, anger and understanding, struggle and triumph, all focused on a reconstruction
of the self.
Colleen’s albums are unified by distinct and personal instrumentation, built around music
boxes, viola da gamba, or electronics, they somehow all remarkably share a dreamlike
modern quality. For The Tunnel and the Clearing Schott restricted herself to using analog
electronic instruments including the Elka Drummer One, the Roland RE-201 Space Echo
and Moog Grandmother synth, coupled with Yamaha organ keyboard. Stunningly, Colleen
achieves the rich emotional intricacy and the lush density of textures on The Tunnel and
the Clearing through almost entirely live performance and processing. These detailed and
affecting compositions mirror Colleen’s grappling with her own psyche. Schott elaborates “I
found direct correspondences between my internal discourse, its obsessive, frantic attempts
at making sense of what I could not understand, and the music I was making, with motifs
functioning as questions and answers, doubts and assertions.” Clicks, hums, warbles and
throbs emulating our evolving internal worlds, an “emotional noise.” A musical journey
through the tunnel toward the clearing at its end. The Tunnel and the Clearing is a work of
lucid reverence, a constellation of marvels suspended in air.