Organ song 1995

by Colleen

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A PERSONAL KEYBOARD ARCHEOLOGY - PART 2: ORGAN SONG 1995 (with free or pay-as-you-wish bandcamp download)
I wrote many songs before I officially started the Colleen project (I was already 27 when my first album was released in 2003), and I’ve forgotten about most of them as the years have gone by, since I never listen to that phase of my musical growth, the difficult years from 1995 to 2000 in which I knew I wanted to make music on my own, but only had a guitar and a 4-track Fostex tape recorder to do so, hence the very real feeling of being stuck. But there is ONE song which I’ve never forgotten and for which I have a deep affection, and it happens to be a song I made on the Bontempi organ I received in Christmas 1984.
In 1995, I had been playing guitar for 4 years, first acoustic, then electric, first by myself, then in a noisy-pop-rock group with friends for 2 years, from the age of 17 to 19. The group ended in 1995 and while I’d loved playing in that group, I also knew that I wasn’t really made for the compromises inherent in group playing. My desire to make music was fierce, and I got a 4-track Fostex tape recorder in the summer of 1995 with the intention of working on my own.
I must have felt intuitively that *just* being a guitar player was limiting me, so I tried to grab whatever I could use as an instrument, including the glockenspiel my mum used in her class (she was a kindergarten teacher) and that famous Bontempi organ.
“Wheezy and slow” is how you could charitably describe the sound that came out of that little beast, so when I wrote and recorded this instrumental with what must have been an appalling microphone, I’m not sure how I felt about it, but immediately afterwards a simple gesture taught me my first lesson in the power of production: I slowed down the tape. That simple act of slowing down the tape transformed the song entirely, and I remember listening to the song, completely mesmerized, thinking “*This* is what I need to do”. You might think I’m exaggerating or being pretentious when I say that slowing down a tape was my first lesson in production, and yet I truly believe that production is – no more, no less – the act of transforming sound to give shape and identity to a piece of music. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you work in, and it doesn’t matter whether you transform the sound in 50 different ways in 100 places over 40 hours of work, or just once in one second: what matters is the result, a transformed sound that suits *your* imagined ideal soundworld.
I have made the song available for the first time, on my Bandcamp, and you can download it for free or pay-as-you-wish, it’s really up to you, I’m just happy to finally share what was the first stepping stone on my journey as a solo composer/interpreter/producer.


released September 30, 2017
Recorded by Cécile Schott in 1995, Bontempi avril organ, 4-track Fostex tape recorder.


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Colleen Spain

Colleen is multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cécile Schott, releasing music since 2003 on Thrill Jockey, The Leaf Label and Second Language. 6th album A flame my love, a frequency, out October 20th on Thrill Jockey -
100% electronics + voice.
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