Carmen Villain (aka Carmen Hillestad) was born in the USA, lives in London, and is half-Norwegian, half-Mexican – a cocktail of ice and fire that can be heard throughout Sleeper’s tempestuous, dreamlike music. Throughout this debut album, lyrics are plastered over loose, abrasive instrumental tracks, on which Carmen plays guitars, bass, drum machines, keyboards and percussion. Sleeper’s distinctive production was halved between herself and Emil Nikolaisen (Serena-Maneesh), who also played drums and keyboards; and she also collaborated and co-produced one track with Prins Thomas, who sequenced the album. Most of the songs are about escaping an unsatisfying world, with references to sleeping, displacement, anxiety, feeling trapped, but longing for something more. Carmen draws on a lineage of sprawling, taboo-busting lo-fi rock: Sun City Girls, Sonic Youth, Royal Trux, Broadcast, Bikini Kill and The Stooges, and equally admires This Heat and the cut ‘n’ paste productions of J Dilla and Wu-Tang Clan.
We’ve already shared first single, “Lifeissin,” produced by Emil Nikolaisen. Now, we offer up the remix by Norwegian disco mastermind, Prins Thomas, premiered via The FADER. Prins Thomas takes Carmen Villain’s seductive psychedelics and turns them into an epic disco stomper. Both will be released together as a 12″ next month, and digitally on Feb. 5. Sleeper follows on March 12th.
“Prins Thomas, a leader in the field, puts his magic touch to new, weird rocker Carmen Villain . . . The ‘Lifeissin’ remix is fairly spaced out, taking a break a few minutes in for something resembling psychedelic rock, but its strongest when it rides into the clouds. The original is melancholy and beautiful . . .” – The FADER
“The former Vogue cover star, who used to go by the name of Carmen Hillestad, has switched paths from beautiful face to beautiful voice with her debut LP, Sleeper. The first single is a shakily emotional track countered by buzzing guitar squalls and stadium-sized drums. . . The track paints its own picture, and Carmen Villain reinvents herself – no camera crew required.” – Refinery 29
“[‘Lifeissin’] beckons like an intimate conversation half-heard through a wall . . . The longer you listen, the less sense it makes. And then, at the end, the song begins to erase itself, with a cold jet of synth eating away everything in sight.” – Pitchfork
“Carmen Villain has one of those voices that somehow gains strength from fragility. On ‘Lifeissin,’ she uses a simple, windy guitar vamp and reactionary drums to create a swirling piece of psychedelic pop that feels futuristic enough but could also sit nicely on the shelf with ’90s Matador mainstays like Cat Power.” – RCRD LBL
Carmen Villain Sleeper and “Lifeissin” 12″ pre-order: http://bit.ly/U3IVWt