Although there will be many who disagree with me, I still find Colleen's debut album Everyone Alive Wants Answers to be her strongest work to date. While her second album The Golden Morning Breaks had some definitely high points, it just didn't feel quite as cohesive (although it was certainly more developed in places) as her first release.
Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique is the newest work from Cécile Schott and it's more of a stop-gap release than a true follow-up. Commissioned by the national radio station France Culture's Atelier De Creation Radiophonique, Schott was basically given free reign to create anything she wanted for the special broadcast. The final result was thirty-nine minutes of music all centered around the sounds of music boxes.
Obviously a sound that she's used before, this long EP explores just about every possible permutation one could imagine when dealing with everything from old birthday cards to Victorian-era boxes. With a vast array of electronic filtering, and even some prepared-piano (or music box, rather) style techniques, she conjures up everything from hazy childhood memories with melodies falling out of time ("Will You Gamelan For Me?") to dreamlike ambient pieces that swirl with backwards loops and atmospherics ("The Sad Panther").
Music boxes and chimes have been used so much in electronic music by so many different artists that sometimes it's hard to hear anything new in the release, and Schott is at her best when she moves the furthest from straight-up recordings. The ultra-filtered and distant "Your Heart Is So Loud" is downright haunting in its ghostly drift, while "What Is A Componium? - Part 2" sounds like a wind-up box playing from the bottom of the ocean. With a bit of editing, Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique could have been a much more solid EP, but it's hard to get too bent out of shape when even the table-scraps sound as nice as they do on this little release.