Part of Schott's reinvention involved a move from the streets of Paris to the shores of San Sebastián, and Captain Of None, like the record that preceded it, has an air of seaside tranquility. There's a childlike wonder to "I'm Kin," while "Lighthouse" and "Soul Alphabet" are delivered with a casual lilt, as if we're listening to Schott lazily play music to herself. On first listen, these seem like straight-ahead acoustic tracks, but their brilliance is hidden beneath the surface. The simplest, "Soul Alphabet," might be the album's crown jewel: soft, scratchy and vaguely mysterious, it loops simple ideas until they seem profound.
Schott has a way of weaving her strings into complex shapes, and she loops instruments originally played by hand into impossible patterns on "Holding Horses" and "This Hammer Breaks." That's where the electronic element comes in: she might be making almost all of these sounds with her own hands and vocal cords, but she puts them together with software that lets her go beyond the usual limitations of a folk sound palette.
Opener "Holding Horses" introduces another important aspect of Captain Of None—bass. More present than before, the low-end carefully nudges her songs, which adopt the placid pulse of dub as a kind of secret ingredient. Her music has never sounded more complete than it does here. The dub influence comes out most obviously on "Salina Stars," a lonely lullaby that feels out the space around it with melodica. "Eclipse" employs delay in a rudimentary manner that recalls the genre's foundational records, right down to the way things get loud and blown-out when she gets trigger-happy with the FX.
Like The Weighing Of The Heart, the majority of the sounds on Captain Of None are acoustic, but it's what Colleen does with them that makes it so much more than the plaintive record it might seem at first. Put it on as easy background listening and find yourself startled by the jagged looping of "Lighthouse" or the distorted drums on "This Hammer Breaks." But more important than what jumps out at you is what doesn't: silence, delay and the hypnotic effect of repetition are as much instruments as the musical instruments themselves. Those are all qualities we usually associate with techno, and that's where Schott really shines.