Colin Stetson-New History Warfare Vol.2:Judges

His music is a non-stop barrage of sound that searches for, and finds, ways to make a unilinear instrument such as his sound polyphonic. Stetson employs not only a complex melodic line that pops out over a sea of supporting, textural notes, he uses everything that his instrument and he himself physically has to offer. Percussive key clicks serve as not only drums of sorts, but mimic the pitch and timbre characteristics of the pizzicato plucking of a double bass. Multiphonics—complex clusters of pitches sounded simultaneously as a result of overblowing certain key combinations—help to not only thicken the sound, but provide unique colors to certain parts of a song. Some of these tracks have so much sound, so many cross-crossing and overlapping elements, it simply doesn’t seem possible that one musician is making them in real time. “Judges” has clattering percussion, a menacing bassline, and a growling lead element that sounds like an anguished voice processed in a strange way. Well, the percussion turns out to be a close-mic’d recording of the instruments’ keys being manipulated, the low-end comes from the fact that Stetson plays the enormous bass saxophone and has a good sense of how to underpin a tune with a deep pulse, and the lead voice is indeed his voice– Stetson vocalizing through the horn as he blows. That all of these things come together at once in a piece that is compelling and highly musical is nothing short of miraculous. The key to Stetson’s approach is that he uses an array of microphones placed in strategic places– on the horn, on his neck, on the other side of the room– and then mixes everything down into a churning cauldron of sound  

  1. Great footage of the man in action over here…

    As well as sounding incredible it’s truly something to behold.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: