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Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique EP

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Oct. 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: EP
  • Label: The Leaf Label
  • ASIN: B000H309I8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,002 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
First of all, it should be said that I am something of a Colleen enthusiast! I have enjoyed all of her beguiling releases to date, and I am happy to say that this latest is no exception. It is forty minutes of other-worldly, evocative sounds. Sure, the premise doesn't sound as promising as it could be: "A 14 track EP of music box recordings". Before listening, I had reservations about the music maybe being a little to monotonous and one-dimensional. Is it? IS IT HELL!

The first thing I realised is just how damned beautiful and organic the sound of the music box is. Clockwork clicks and whirls, metal is plucked to ring out shiny, resonant chimes. Dischordant notes flow in to each other like muted church bells clashing head on. We hear crackles and pops in the background. This music is alive. It has it's own pulse.

Each track differs from the last, whilst complimenting it perfectly. Delay pedals are utilised to full effect, looping up dark minor chords on the music box. Sometimes it sounds as if just one solitary box is playing. Sometimes the musical motifs are replayed backwards to create a wonderfully dizzying effect. At other times the chimes build and build until we are lost inside a MUSIC BOX SYMPHONY! When the music peaks, I often find myself in a levitative state. It is deeply affecting.

Basically, this EP is fantastic. Colleen at her intimate best. Listen to it at night, and feel as if you are inside a dark, misty and gorgeously melancholy fairy tale.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chunky gamelan 28 July 2007
By kit7635 - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Brassy, spectral percussion.

Stark, intimate and boldly intense. Blooms of bicycle bell, musical box and every manner of metal chime, grungily recorded in an up close and personal fashion. Strange and indulgent, reveling in the sensuality of its own clank, scrack and visceral punch.

For all it's minimalism this heady music is perfumed and exotic, richly harmonious and rippling with pulsating rhythm. Almost ecstatic, like medieval religious music.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winter wonderland! 20 Dec. 2008
By saytrsam - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First off I must preface this with a few words. My review is based solely on a personal experience with the music and no real familiarity with music box genre works. In fact I know of only one other CD that is primarily focused on the music box, 'Outlier, New Music for Music Boxes' by john Morton. That is also a nice CD but quite different than this one.
This CD Colleen et les Boites a Musique is like a glimpse into a frozen wonderland. Imagine being a child and wandering in a forest of twinkling ice and snow where the sounds of lullabies call you off to a dreamy state. There is always the threat of cold so be mindful but also enjoy it's invigorating presence as recalled while listening. The play between melody and apparent randomized musings adds to the sense of an invoked dream world where around every talking tree sized icicle another spectacle is had. Several of the tracks do fall off this path a bit for me but overall I recommend this for anybody that takes great pleasure in all that is winter!
I would be curious to see if the intent of the artist was to recall the sense of winter.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Icy and delicate, gentle and playful. 22 July 2007
By Richie Corelli - Published on
Format: Audio CD
France Culture's Atelier De Création Radiophonique, a national radio station, commissioned Cécile Schott (Colleen) to record music for a special broadcast. Over a two year period, Schott had created a number of songs that were made entirely of music box recordings. Schott was so pleased with the results that she decided to let Leaf Records release the collection as an EP (along with one extra track).

Colleen is not the first electronic musician to work with music boxes. Their whimsical draw has courted a number of other artists, most famously, Richard D. James and Bjork Guðmundsdóttir. With Colleen et Les Boites a Musique, however, the approach is different. The music box is not just a tool used in a song, but a complete exploration of an instrument's possibilities. Colleen takes the boxes further than her contemporaries. She studies them. She manipulates them. She makes them her own.

Colleen pulls a remarkable range of sounds from the simple boxes. The echoy goodness of "What Is a Componium?, Pt1" sounds as if wind chimes were being blown in melodic patterns. The notes on "Under the Roof" seem to lock together like the strings on a harp. The tonal percussions of "Will You Gamelan for Me" and "Calypso in a Box" mimic a Trinidadian Steel Drum.

She uses the boxes to display emotion and create a sense of feeling. With its floating atmosphere, "The Sad Panther" is one of Colleen et Les Boites a Musique's standout tracks. Recordings of soft melodies are played backwards, collapsing into another, and softy shift into a dreamy darkness. The tenderness displayed by this 2 minute track rivals other artist's entire careers.

Colleen et Les Boites a Musique is an EP that switches its moods while keeping its sound. It moves from mournful hymns to lighthearted carols effortlessly. For example, in direct contract to the gloom of "The Sad Painter", is the more lighthearted, "Charles's Birthday Card." This song is a disheveled manipulation of "Rock a Bye Baby." The notes are slowed and awkwardly timed with forced rests that intentionally impede and a l t e r the flow. This changes a traditional classic into something different. The trick is repeated with "A Bear Is Trapped." Here, different sections of "Pop Goes the Weasel" are sped up, slowed down, and reinterpreted. The pay-off has been taken; the weasel never pops. These songs work so well because the originals are so implanted into the collective consciousness that the alterations are clumsy, unexpected, and completely original.

Icy and delicate, gentle and playful, Colleen et Les Boites a Musique is a remarkably deep study of the music box in contemporary songwriting.
4.0 out of 5 stars music boxes, breathing 23 Mar. 2010
By Stargrazer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Originally commissioned for Radio France Culture, Colleen's "Colleen et les Boites a Musique" ("Colleen and the Music Boxes") is pretty much just what it's title says: a 14-song "E.P." of experimental minimalist composer Colleen working with music boxes to generate sounds. These are not merely samples of wound-up boxes playing through their tunes. Colleen plucks and glissandos and taps various parts of the mechanisms, then electronically manipulates the sounds with echoes, delay, tasteful cuts and glitches, and EQ-ing. The results fuse elements of the harp, the glass harmonica, gamelan, calliope, or the vibes into the normal tinkly sounds we are accustomed to hearing from music boxes. Ghostly and shimmering, yet peaceful and lulling. Occasionally busy and intense, but overall a consistently hypnotic recording -- one you'll have trouble humming to yourself later, but that you'll find infinite detail in while you're engaged in the act of listening.

Rarely is electronic composition possessed of such an organic sense of animation, of breathing. There is certainly something here for fans of Rachel's, Clogs, Fourtet, or even Philip Glass.
4.0 out of 5 stars Colleen - Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique 14 April 2011
By scoundrel - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I can't imagine a more limiting instrument than a music box -- its tones are set in a specific pattern, and it doesn't deviate from that at all. But Colleen somehow makes music boxes magical again. By mixing the traditional plucked sounds with their re-processed and synthesized counterparts, she manages to evoke a fairy tale mysticism. "What's is a Componium, Part 1" goes from thick sonics to singular tones at the end. And even it "Charles's Birthday Card" relies solely on iterations of Pop Goes the Weasel, "Will You Gamelan For Me?" is its own creation immediately. The tinkling comes fast and furious on "What's is a Componium, Part 2," a track that sparkles like moondust. "Calypso in a Box" shows off the more processed side, and has an almost Senor Coconut feel for its short running time. The standout piece here is the final track, "I'll Read You a Story," which appeared on an earlier album, but is always welcome anywhere.
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