Out on Smalltown Supersound, Carmen Villain’s Both Lines Will Be Blue is a tapestry of field-recordings, programmed drums, and synth that signal the Norwegian-Mexican songstress’ arrival at that elusive, meditative space of ambient.
Since 2013’s Sleeper, which was all close-cropped dysphoria and hall-of-mirrors acoustics, Carmen’s been trying to get out of her own head. This is her first fully instrumental LP and by turning away from the vocals she mines new depths of emotive intensity while retaining her talent for sullen grace.
Building on the back of a pair of superb remixes from ambient maestro Gigi Masin in 2017, her newest is a musical and thematic emergence. Early album tracks sample foggy wake-up calls and crackling Berlin U-Bahn announcements, lapping waves, and flute driven melody courtesy of Chilean-Norwegian flautist Johanna Scheie Orellana – Orellana’s misty and mountainous soundscapes are surely a nod to the pair’s Latin heritage. The record finally flowers with delicately muted passion on the penultimate track, ‘Sometimes I Love You Forever’. Pent up melancholic energy basks in the face of a cadence of understanding, slowly diffusing a reluctant synergy that aches to turn and face the sun, sometimes setting, sometimes rising.
Both Lines Will Be Blue is out soon on Smalltown Supersound – pre-order here.