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CD Feature/ Maile Colbert: "moborosi"

img  Tobias

Maile Colbert has mentioned that she needs the help of all senses to feel “whole” and a balanced person. A director, video artists and composer, all aspects of her work are mutually influenced by each other, each uttering constituting a synthesis of the most diverse disciplines.

This may be a reason why she is currentlx working on completing an ambitious opera project on “millennialism and apocalyptic thought and theory” with singer Gabriela Crowe. Opera, after all, has traditionally been seen as the art of arts and the one genre which binds all others together. It does not seem far-fetched, therefore, to regard “moborosi”, as much as it has been conceived as a self-sufficient album, as the overture to the larger work taking shape in the background.

In fact, it may be regarded as a concise introduction into her oeuvre as a hole. This just over thirty minute long debut contains a collaboration with abovementioned Gabriela Crowe, features poetry by her brother Ian as well as her soundtrack contributions to “How little we know of our Neighbors”, Rebecca Baron’s documentary on the “Mass Observation” public spying project in the UK - and fully demonstrates her versatility and ability to integrate her personal approach into the equally idiosyncratic work of others.

As a composer, Colbert’s style may be characterised by a perfect symbiosis between the ages: Monophonic chant, classical themes and reverb-pedalled broken piano chords have the same status on “moboriso” as aerial, translucent drones, backwards-played themes, electric configurations and filtered synthesizers, without anything appearing irregular or out of place.

Another distinct feature consists in her technique of naturally placing these musical objects within close range of each other and of playing them back simultaneously, without regard of whether this does their historic background justice or whether their tonalities match for 100%.

This is not meant to be disrespectful. Colbert merely sees and hears with different eyes and ears, her entire sensory system is geared towards an intuitive view of the world and towards finding out “how elements (...) around us effect us psychologically and physiologically”. Just as if she were using the short stretch of this album as a space for reflection, it keeps coming back to the same trains of thought, with some strings overlapping and synthesizing as part of a Freud’ean materialism.

Everything on this record is self-referential, with tracks popping out of other pieces like smaller babushkas hiding inside their taller counterparts: The piano of “Day of Fire” is part of “Broken Camera Sunset”, the barely one-minute long “Sweet still Sleep” is contained within “primitive” and the abstract rhythmic charges of “begin” act as a Leitmotif for the entire work.

Consequently, a hermetic, haunting, slightly surreal and yet inwardly quiet mood is predominant on “moborosi”, its structures speaking to each other in tongues, as its body awakens in the middle of a full-moon night, startles and falls back to sleep again. Still, things are never opaque or oblivious – Colbert’s artistic language is clear and coherent, her tone soft and void of radical outbursts.

There is no need at all for her to feel envious of her brother’s abilities as a chef, expressing himself fully through his food. While she may need the help of all senses to function as a person, her music definitely doesn’t need any visuals to be appreciated.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Maile Colbert at MySpace
Homepage: twenty hertz Records

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