Colin Stetson

New History Warfare Vol.2: Judges

Constellation • 2011

It is probably the least possible album of these days: Colin Stetson is a bass saxophonist. He is a jazz musician, who has played music with Fred Frith, Ned Rothenberg and Anthony Braxton and who has gone the path of the rampant with them. He is also a tour member of Arcade Fire, plays with TV On The Radio, Caural, The National and last but not least with Bon Iver. His solo album A New History of Warfare Vol. 2: Judges neither sounds like free improvisation nor like well thought-through pop. It is his game to play the saxophone like others play the Didgeridoo, using a blowing technique which lets the air that produces the sound circulate continuously. Whatever gives the canadian musician everlasting breath, takes the one away from the audience. What remains is a music never heard, which translates the sound colours of Jazz into the structural rhythm of contemporary electronic music. This can be ambient like in The Stars In His Head, groovy like in Judges, but also reduced to the rhythm like in Red Horse. The tracks were recorded in one go, without any loops or overdubs, with the help of countless microphones surrounding the woodwind, which adds intimacy to the recordings. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Laurie Anderson add their voices every now and then, such as in Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes. Here, it all comes together.