sibylle baier

Shar­ing a new dis­cov­ery, an unex­pect­ed trea­sure cour­tesy of the hip priestSibylle Baier was a minor film actress in the 70s, appear­ing in Wim Wen­ders’ Alice in the Cities (1974).  She also wrote songs for her­self and those close to her, record­ing them on 4‑track tapes– which then remained in the clos­et for more than 30 years, as she aban­doned her career, moved to Amer­i­ca, and focused inward, rais­ing her fam­i­ly.  Her son even­tu­al­ly had a small press­ing of CDs made from these tapes for fam­i­ly and friends.  The disc came to the atten­tion of Orange Twin records, and in 2006 they released it, to some lim­it­ed acclaim.  Four years on, we can still safe­ly call Colour Green an obscure record­ing.

The straight­for­ward Euro­pean folk gui­tar style is sim­i­lar to, and prob­a­bly influ­enced by, Leonard Cohen’s ear­ly songs.  So, also, the poet­ic, per­son­al and emo­tion­al qual­i­ty of the lyrics.  A good part of what makes this music so com­pelling is the qual­i­ty of her voice, a qui­et, un-fussy alto, clear, under­stat­ed, yet haunt­ing.  Her Eng­lish is excel­lent, but the occa­sion­al uni­d­iomat­ic use of lan­guage— like “I grew up in declivities/others grew up in cities” is like a skipped beat, or an unex­pect­ed chord pro­gres­sion, pleas­ing, though per­haps not intend­ed.  Like­wise small­er things, like rhyming “woods” and “moods”, as one would when the lan­guage is ground­ed as much in the writ­ten as in the spo­ken.

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2 Responses to sibylle baier

  1. Greg Lyon says:

    My favorite tracks on this record are “Tonight” (the lead­ing track) and “Girl.” There’s an ambiance of des­o­la­tion and stark beau­ty on the lat­ter that very few songs have ever con­jured, for me at least. One that comes to mind imme­di­ate­ly is Syd Bar­ret­t’s “Gold­en Hair” (1970, from The Mad­cap Laughs), with lyrics by James Joyce. Another–more recent, far less famous, and per­haps less haunt­ing– is “Can You Blame the Sky?” by Alela Diane, from her 2004 debut, The Pirate’s Gospel.

    • blaise says:

      Agreed re. “Tonight” and “Girl”, though I’d sure­ly add the beau­ti­ful sec­ond track “I lost some­thing in the hills”. Those three are my faves by far. Check­ing out Alela Diane..

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