Illustration by: Alex Solman
Cécile ‘Colleen’ Schott is in the prime of her life.
The French composer has been releasing records for over 10 years, including the classic The Golden Morning Breaks and Les Ondes Silencieuses. Her recent work, however, has arguably been her best. 2013’s The Weighing of the Heart, the first Colleen record to put her vocals centre-stage, was described by FACT’s John Twells as “40 minutes of economic, uncluttered and most importantly unique music”, while this year’s Captain of None is perhaps her most ambitious record to date: an ode to dub-reggae that’s more bass and vocal-driven than her previous work.
Colleen’s FACT mix is a companion piece of sorts to Captain of None, and focuses on music that “has specifically influenced” the album, “mostly from the point of view of song-writing, interpretation, production, or just a general “feel” in the music, for lack of a better word.”
“No other song”, Colleen tells us, “encapsulates how these various aspects of music-making are intertwined in Jamaican music better than Burning Spear’s ‘Door Peeper’. Released in 1969, the combination of Burning Spear’s voice, percussion, compressed horn line, minimal instrumentation and lyrics, and dry but deep production make this song one of the most earth-shaking I’ve ever heard. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Scientist’s ‘Dangerous Match 1’ from 1982 sounds like underwater swimming in weird waters and shows how abstract and stylized Jamaican music can be.” Elsewhere on the mix, examples of “crazy tape manipulation”, “radical production” and “killer basslines” remind us just how much even the more outsider side of today’s music owes to dub.
Colleen’s FACT mix closes with Lee Perry’s ‘Return of the Super Ape, a track that she “heard in my childhood. [It was] one of the many Lee Perry/Upsetters songs contained on a tape that my parents bought in the late 70s and which we played in the car on long trips. To this day I just love this track and still find it totally unique and one of a kind: you can never be sure of what it is that you’re hearing on this song: monkeys, spanners falling on the floor in a metal house, a jazz band lost in Jamaica, soap bubbles transformed into notes… before one of the best breaks and song finales of all time.”
Burning Spear – Door Peeper
Scientist – Dangerous Match 1
Tapper Zukie – Simpleton Badness
Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus – Long Time Ago
Noel Ellis – Reach My Destiny
Augustus Pablo – Pablo In Fine Style
King Burnett – Paul Bogle
Niney And Observer All Stars – Weeping Lotion
Collins Music Wheelers – Collins Sweat
Wackies Rhythm Force – Black Africa
Prince Far I – Plant Up
Tapper Zukie – Man Ah Warrior
Little Madness – Mother Country Version
The Gladiators – Bongo Red
Black Kush – Natural Rock
The Upsetters – Return Of The Super Ape