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Baker's Dozen

Taking Stock: Colleen's Favourite Albums
Jude Rogers , May 12th, 2021 08:58

In this week's Baker's Dozen, Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) takes Jude Rogers on a journey through her musical life, from car tapes to heartbreak, taking in Arthur Russell, Love, Low, GZA, The Green Arrows and much more along the way.


Arthur Russell – World of Echo
Arthur Russell is maybe the musician that has the most influence on all of my recent output. I found out about his music pretty late, in late 2009, early 2010, but when I did, it was… I mean, as a word, 'epiphany' kind of gets on my nerves, but I did have an epiphany! As I started to listen to his music, I also got hold of the biography of him written by Tim Lawrence, called Hold On To Your Dreams. I mean, I can't say I've read a hundred musician biographies in my life, but I have read a few, and to me, that is hands-down the best musician's biography I've read.

Both that book and listening to the music in tandem was mind-blowing to me, because at the time, I was getting back into making music after a break that lasted a couple of years, and I wanted to sing but I wasn't sure I could do it. I just felt this overwhelming urge to sing, as I was listening to a lot of British folk music, specifically people like Shirley Collins – I loved and I still love Shirley Collins – and also Vashti Bunyan, but I was very worried that singing would make me lose my identity as a musician. Listening to Arthur Russell, specifically World of Echo, put all my worries to rest. It was like, 'OK, no, I can actually, I can do whatever the hell I want to do because this other person has done it and it's proved that you don't need to choose between pop and experimental music. You don't need to choose between instrumental and singing. You really can do it all.'

Arthur Russell also put my mind at ease because he showed me I could use effects without effects being there to hide your flaws or your inability to do something properly. At that point, my most recent album was Les Ondes Silencieuses, which was very minimal – I had gott kind of obsessed with the idea of being a real musician, somehow, like 'real' in inverted quotes, and wasn't using many effects at all. Arthur Russell gave me proof that you could use effects creatively because he was such a proficient musician. That paved the way to make me much more relaxed and open-minded about making music.