Carmen Menz Bar, Halifax NS, May 27

Carmen Menz Bar, Halifax NS, May 27
Photo: Steve Louie
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Identity is a fluid concern in most music, but electronic music especially: it's music that negotiates one's humanity with machinery, often built for an audience to lose themselves for a moment or two in a patterned, digital otherworld.
 
Catherine Colas used to perform under the name French Pretzel, and her current project goes by Carmen, but she was clearly just "Catherine" to a good number of showgoers at her OBEY Convention set Friday night (May 27). (Colas was originally based in Halifax, but now calls Montreal home.) Though her instrumental compositions are cold, ambient and moody, she couldn't help but mug a bit between songs to friends in the audience, having a quick goof and sticking out her tongue at times.
 
On tracks like "Dissuasion" and "Quota," Carmen used small, quiet pulses and synth patterns as foundations, adding in hazy washes of reverberated atmosphere overtop. Rarely were there more than a few key sounds to keep track of, but it was the almost hypnotic repetition that drew you in. A chatty crowd made it tough to fully absorb those soundscapes, but their woozy vibes still made an impact.