Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Colin Stetson

It's that time of year again, the time when you realize that you never heard a bunch of the records that everybody else loved and if you had, who knows, maybe they'd have been your favorites, too. Anyway, I've been catching up on Colin Stetson's New History of Warfare, Part 2: Judges, and liking it a whole lot.

Here's what Dusted's Adam Strohm had to say about it:

"New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is an album of somber beauty, its flashes of color existing amidst a broad spectrum of grays. Like experimental films than toy with narrative and bend the viewer’s expectations in terms of plot, the album hints at some underlying tale, but, in the end, Judges is more concerned with atmosphere than event. “A Dream of Water,” with its visions of the chaos, despair and confusion, and Stetson’s cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes” are the disc’s most evocative tracks, the former featuring Laurie Anderson’s familiar spoken delivery, the latter a slow, sorrowful performance from Shara Worden. Many of Judges compositions are relatively straight lines, explorations of a theme or technique that, save for a few exceptions, aren’t especially demonstrative in their emotion. This way, Stetson avoids much of the constructed inevitability and dynamic shifts that can so blandly constitute emotional import in instrumental music. The inclusion of a choir on “All the Colors Bleached to White” and some of Anderson’s spoken work can feel a little too heavy, but moments of melodrama are fleeting, and change is always afoot. It’s rare that a track sounds too much like those that come before or after: in one of the most striking pairings, the beatbox-esque “Red Horse (Judges II)” is followed by the ecstatic “The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man,” with its hints of Albert Ayler, Stetson’s purest nod toward the sound of classic free jazz."

The rest of the review.

"The Stars in His Head (Dark Lights Remix)"

Even if you're not familiar with Colin Stetson per se, you've probably heard him playing for various high profile bands, including Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Tom Waits, the National, etc. etc. He's just been nominated for the Polaris Prize, too.


Ian said...

Oh crap, now that I see a video, I've seen him play with the National before, and he opened for them too. He's very good (I would have said that based on either his opening set or the album alone).

jenniferpkelly said...

It sounds like he's played with everyone in Canada, too. You almost couldn't help seeing him at some point.