After years of steady reissuing that has unearthed a few great recordings, several decent ones and more still that had been forgotten for good reason, the music industry shouldn’t be surprised that suspicious eyebrow raising greets each “amazing” rediscovery. Nevertheless, as neatly as the story of Sibylle Baier and her only album adheres to the lost-to-time folksinger archetype, that’s no reason to skip over Colour Green: There may not be a more persistently bewitching release this year.
A German theater actor, Baier was in gloomy spirits at the end of the ’60s. After a friend took her on a road trip, however, she felt renewed and began writing these perfectly dreamy songs—“The music just fell out,” she said, and from there it seems to have nestled into a breathy space between the suffocating melancholy she had been feeling and the restrained optimism that Europeans do so well.
The only place where Colour Green departs from the classic-reissue script is that it isn’t a reissue: Baier, who sounds like a less-burdened Nico, recorded the songs between 1970 and ’73 on a reel-tape recorder, to share with relatives and friends. In 2004 her son transferred them to CD, but even then just as a gift for the family on the occasion of his mom’s birthday. But he later made a copy for his friend J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), who passed it to the label Orange Twin. The lesson here? Take more road trips, save all your old tapes and pick up this new nonreissue