Colleen Everyone Alive Wants Answers

[Leaf; 2003]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: ambient, sound-collage
Others: Susumu Yokota, Brian Eno, Mum, Black Dice, Polmo Polpo

Explaining why this is a perfect album is difficult. If I were to play it to the majority of my friends, I would get blank stares and/or shrugs with orders to play Red Hot Chili Peppers instead. But what Cecile Schott does on this free-floating, macabre haze of an album is nothing short of miraculous. These are the worst dreams you've ever had, the ones where you understand you're dreaming and you want out so badly that your dream turns sour and thrusts a knife into your stomach. You feel it twist in your guts, but the pain doesn't come. You wake up drenched in sweat, and it's only been one song.

Everyone Alive Wants Answers captures a dreamstate almost as chilling as "DISC 2 TRACK 10" off of Selected Ambient Works Vol.2. There's a great, spacious din hanging over everything like a strong, steady wind at times. It contains a children's fantasy element, but it's more Lewis Carrol than anything else. There is a playful deception that goes on in her progressions, but a song proper never truly comes. What takes place in Schott's fragile melodies is akin to being able to pass through walls and to know exactly how it feels just before you die in a dream. It's difficult to explain why all 13 tracks are so much more rewardingly mind-altering than both of Mum's albums put together, but it's easy to tell anyone that is into taking a warped and wondrous 50-minute aural trip (headphones encouraged!) through queasy listening to snatch this puppy up.

It may sound like I'm making Everyone Alive Wants Answers out to be something that's going to give you nightmares. But what I'm really saying is this: if you're ever one of those people that has a disturbing dream (think the dream sequence in Rosemary's Baby - come to think of it, Colleen would've made a great soundtrack to that film) that, though it keeps waking you up, is too gripping to run away from. Everyone Alive Wants Answers is like falling into a state of unconsciousness full of fear, but feeling alive and vital because of that fear. It may sound complicated or simply confusing, but it's as close as I can come to capturing the sheer sonic perfection of this release. File it next to your Boards of Canada and My Bloody Valentine for "innovators of heady."

1. Everyone Alive Wants Answers
2. Ritournelle
3. Carry-Cot
4. Your Heart on Your Sleeve
5. Good-Bye Sunshine
6. One Night, and It's Gone
7. Long Live Mice in the Metro
8. I Was Deep in a Dream and I Didn't Know It
9. Babies
10. Sometimes on a Happy Cloud
11. A Swimming Pool Down the Railway Track
12. In the Train With No Light
13. Nice and Simple