Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges



Avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson defies convention, logic, possibly even physics on volume 2 of his New History Warfare series. Recorded entirely without the use of overdubs or loops, Stetson feels compelled instead to fill every second of the 14 tracks organically. There are idiosyncratic vocalisations, faint reverberations of his fingering, natural echoes, even on 4 tracks the profound and powerful vocals of sculptor/violinist/art rocker Laurie Anderson. There were no additions post-production, no samples, no splicing of separately recorded works.

Only once you have a grasp of the incredible amount of effort than went into recording Vol. 2 can you truly appreciate what a mind-boggling piece of music it is. Stetson’s vision of jazz is warped and fried, jagged hunks of sound protrude from quiet passages, driving, almost-but-not-quite formless rhythms shift in and out of focus. The sheer technical virtuosity on display would be hugely impressive in and of itself, but coupled with compositions as bold and fearlessly interesting as these it is truly exceptional. The most immediately impressive aspect of Stetson’s playing is his dynamism and diversity; he uses French horns as well as alto/tenor/bass saxophones, playing them all with the competence of a master. The many styles he employs are all instantly recognisable even through the veil of his twisted perception. ‘The Stars In His Head (Dark Lights Remix)’ is a searing journey through Reichian minimalism, while ‘Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes’ sees Stetson’s dark, rattling bass rumbling beneath the wondrous gospel inflected vocals of the peerless Anderson. ‘Red Horse (Judges II)’ is black and strange, with odd, breathy mutterings and rough, groaning horn blasts. This is absolutely essential. One of the most innovative, intelligent and downright brilliant pieces of music to be found anywhere this year.

Colin Stetson feat. Laurie Anderson & Shara Worden – Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes

Colin Stetson – Judges

Colin Stetson – The Stars In His Head (Dark Lights Remix)


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4 Responses to Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

  1. Pingback: Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges « Spotinews

  2. 23gremlins says:

    i was introduced to the music of that guy just a few days ago and i was literally blown away from the first second. i just bought his record and dont regret it!
    play it loud!

  3. Pingback: Music Of The Month: March 2011 « intrazome

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