Colin Stetson - New History Warfare pt 2: Judges

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i used to have a regular sunday poker game w/ this dude's younger brother. Colin's career has been on a pretty stellar upward trajectory for quite a while now, but, even so, I would not have expected him to drop an unaccompanied solo record that is inexplicably, completely objectively, my favorite album of 2011 thusfar by a wide margin. I mean, I'm normally not even all that crazy about saxophones in general (or maybe I just haven't been listening to the right things?)

buhlogna mindstate (Pillbox), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 08:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

i enjoy this record and know nothing about that kind of stuff...

which parker, butcher or gustafsson albums should i be into ?

sisilafami, Wednesday, 15 June 2011 10:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

But that doesn't affect the way I respond to the album as a listener.

really? i didn't care for this much until i read about how it was recorded, that definitely made me hear it in another way.

sonderangerbot, Wednesday, 15 June 2011 11:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, not you anagram but anyone from WIREsville who reckons the process or the philosophy isn't important is being a bit rich really. Also given that what he does is at the other end of the sax scale from Mats, isn't it unfair to compare them?

Actual LOL Tolhurst (Doran), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 11:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

that is the wire praxis though, anything 'mainstream' making experimental claims usually gets shot down. off the top of my head i think of battles "mirrored" which received a poor review when released, but then made its way to their EOY-list anyway... sure there are more recent examples, haven't had subscription for a while though

sonderangerbot, Wednesday, 15 June 2011 12:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Fetishizing the way it was recorded is kind of beside the point imo.

not really, if the point of the music is to focus on rhythm and sound (in a very different way than those other solo sax guys)?

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 14:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also given that what he does is at the other end of the sax scale from Mats, isn't it unfair to compare them?

sure their techniques are different but all I said was that it doesn't sound all that thrilling or innovative to me. given that those are the kind of adjectives that are being bandied about in connection with this record I thought the comparison was valid. but yeah Evan Parker would be a better comparison than Gustafsson, both he and Stetson make heavy use of circular breathing for example which Gustafsson doesn't. Parker has that serpentine, fluttery sound which is totally trance-inducing. Stetson can do this up to a point but Parker has been doing it for 40 years.

ban this sick stunt (anagram), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

which parker, butcher or gustafsson albums should i be into ?

What I wrote in another jazz thread:

If you like Stetson then you'd be better off going for one of Parker's solo sax recordings like The Snake Decides or Conic Sections. My favourite Parker line-up would be his trio with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton, they've done a number of albums of which At the Vortex (1996) is my favourite. Also key: his trio with Alex von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens, of which Winterreise comes recommended.

Re Mats Gustafsson, see my post upthread. Not sure about Butcher.

ban this sick stunt (anagram), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

Saying both "Evan Parker has done this before" and also "I don't give a shit how it was mic'd" leaves me confused.
You're content to write off an artist because you've quickly identified his influences and a key aspect of his technique,
But then you claim that people who admire his innovative mic placement and mixing abilities are fetishists.
I dunno, I mean, when it comes to circular breathing sax players playing at 200 bpm
(Bass sax, in Colin's case), I'm not too hung up on "this has been done before"

Boehner & der club of GOP (Ówen P.), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also +1 on any recommendation for The Snake Decides and Conic Sections
But it sounds nothing like Judges, save that it also contains a saxophone

Boehner & der club of GOP (Ówen P.), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

Well I guess there's a difference between admiring a player's technique and admiring his kit or his set-up. I mean, I like Gilmour solos but I have no idea what kind of guitar he uses or how he makes it sound the way it does. At the end of the day all I'm saying is, if you like Stetson you ought to like Parker.

xp

ban this sick stunt (anagram), Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

holy shit dudes, this guy is something to see live. and Owen's right, the mic placement isn't some obscure trainspotting shit, it's an integral part of his sound.

You Post on ILX (Simon H.), Saturday, 18 June 2011 05:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

IT DOESN'T FUCKING SOUND LIKE AN EVAN PARKER RECORD. YOU ARE BEING BORING. I AM DRUNK. SHUT UP.

mississippi delta law grad (Hurting 2), Saturday, 18 June 2011 05:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

(xpost)

mississippi delta law grad (Hurting 2), Saturday, 18 June 2011 05:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

At the end of the day all I'm saying is, if you like Stetson you ought to like Parker.

I love Stetson and like/respect Evan Parker even more and on a different level, but I do not think this ^ is an accurate statement.

hay lbj hayyy (absolutely clean glasses), Saturday, 18 June 2011 06:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Finally getting around to hearing this album and I like it quite a bit, but to echo the thoughts of others I might like it even more without the spoken word bits and vocal parts. I just want to hear this dude play his sax all day long. But I did want to address this point:

I could definitely see why such a person would find this album appalling, in that it is neither difficult nor avant garde

I think this is a bit silly and dismissive, particularly wrt to people who aren't up on their Mats or Parker or even Wire. I mean, for someone out there this will be difficult and it may certainly seem avant garde to someone who's coming from, I don't know, Miles Davis as an introduction for them to the possibilities of jazz. I've really liked a lot of what Owen has had to say over the years and totally respect his opinion, but I can't help but sense a bit of the expert sniffing at the newcomer with that, "THIS is NOT difficult nor avant garde". Maybe not to you, but to someone it just might be.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 19:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, but it's just not difficult is it? Some cool teacher in my school used to play shit like Philip Glass and Michael Nyman in assemblies, no one ran out screaming because musically it's quite straightforward and easy to get your head round - even if there is a lot of theory to go with it or knowledge of process to go with it. As is this.

It might sound a bit "odd" at first if you're coming to it not having heard anything similar - a bit inexplicably ragged and harsh but I can't see how that would be a bar to potential enjoyment.

For starters Miles Davis is generally more difficult 'to get' than this surely?

Death To False Camp (Doran), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 20:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

Of course it's impossible to say really as it's totally subjective etc. but we're really just talking about arpegios and simple note progressions repeated. Or pop music as my WIRE reading mate calls it.

Death To False Camp (Doran), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

For starters Miles Davis is generally more difficult 'to get' than this surely?

Well I guess maybe we are working from different ideas of what "difficult" means. I don't think finding something to enjoy in Miles is that tough, especially his more lauded work. There are melodies, solos and other components pretty easy to grab onto, even as a rookie jazz listener. I don't think there is much on the Stetson album that would provide an "easy" entry point for the novice.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Fair enough. Although I've heard a lot of Miles Davis I only really listen to the electric stuff but I get what you're saying.

Death To False Camp (Doran), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

it has tons of melodic and rhythmic repetition, in a way that should definitely make sense to anyone with electronic/dance music ears

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

Damn

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 11:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah this is cool.

The Invisible Superstars (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 11:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

this is great stuff, just heard it for the first time last week, it gets better and deeper with each listen

Michael B Higgins (Michael B), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 14:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

new one: so far, so good

tsarnaev paleface (imago), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:17 (11 months ago) Permalink

find it strange that nobody's commented on this already, but then ILM's shift to house and rap exclusivity is almost complete so I barely expect anything else

here's yer stream: http://www.npr.org/2013/04/21/177495625/first-listen-colin-stetson-new-history-warfare-vol-3-to-see-more-light?sc=fb&cc=fmp

tsarnaev paleface (imago), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:20 (11 months ago) Permalink

I'm interested, just been too busy to check it out yet. Thanks for reminding!

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:23 (11 months ago) Permalink

super super competent
but can't help but feel a bit let down on this one, on my listens so far.

sean gramophone, Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:46 (11 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

only a matter of time until 'brute' ends up in some manic dubstep mix.

This Is Not An ILX Username (LaMonte), Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:22 (11 months ago) Permalink

I didn't listen to this cuz the idea of all the celebrity guest vox turned me off

jay-z's ansari (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:42 (11 months ago) Permalink

the laurie anderson guest spots are pretty cringey, but it really doesn't take up much of the record

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:50 (11 months ago) Permalink

oh lol wait so there's a new one? nm

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Saturday, 11 May 2013 01:17 (11 months ago) Permalink

hmm so yeah this first track -- who is that singing? I don't hate this, but I'm a little tired of the abundance of exuberant close harmony singing I've been hearing lately in indie stuff

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Saturday, 11 May 2013 01:19 (11 months ago) Permalink

this is good though. I think he belongs much more to steve reich/bang on a can and to the new agey end of noise than he does to jazz or free jazz.

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Saturday, 11 May 2013 01:20 (11 months ago) Permalink

the singer is the bon hiver guy unfortunately

This Is Not An ILX Username (LaMonte), Saturday, 11 May 2013 03:55 (11 months ago) Permalink

was intrigued by the prospect of a new stetson LP until I heard that bon iver was doing vocals on some songs. maybe I'm awful, but there it is.

Millsner, Saturday, 11 May 2013 05:01 (11 months ago) Permalink

W/e I will still listen to it. I have never knowingly heard a note of BI

Drugs A. Money, Saturday, 11 May 2013 07:02 (11 months ago) Permalink

I listened to it a lot when NPR was streaming it and really enjoy it. I wouldn't say that I love the vocals but I didn't see them as a problem at all. The Bang on a Can comparison makes sense to me. I hadn't seen this thread before. I had no idea that people compared him to Evan Parker. That comparison seems pretty wrong to me, unless Parker has some more pattern-based work that I'm unfamiliar with.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Saturday, 11 May 2013 07:24 (11 months ago) Permalink

heard this in other music the other day and ended up buying it; the first time i've bought a record due to hearing it in a shop in years. didn't notice any evan parkerisms.

stirmonster, Saturday, 11 May 2013 07:28 (11 months ago) Permalink

this is real raw/feel good shit, the new one. i think bon iver is only on a couple tracks. it reminds me of phillip glass, but sort of a blues take. kinda mono-themed. it sounds nothing like evan parker

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 11 May 2013 07:58 (11 months ago) Permalink

some of the saxophone stuff sounds like an upright bass. i don't know if he close-mics parts of the instrument, or if there's extra-instrumental layering or what, but at times it recalls a cello sound or something deep, bowed. think of john cale's electrified viola, loose, looping repggios driving the tunes.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 11 May 2013 08:17 (11 months ago) Permalink

err, repggios

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 11 May 2013 08:18 (11 months ago) Permalink

the bon iver dude sounds like tv on the radio or some shit. generic. fuck, fleet foxes, all that shit blends in. i guess bon iver got a signature sound or whatever, but i don't recognize it. sorry, bad tangent.

there's some resonant, affecting, hear my train-a-coming shit on this new one. or maybe that's thom yorke

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 11 May 2013 08:34 (11 months ago) Permalink

I should probably get into this dude.

they all are afflicted with a sickness of existence (Scik Mouthy), Saturday, 11 May 2013 09:40 (11 months ago) Permalink

The big criticism of Stetson isn't that he sounds like Evan Parker but that he's using the same techniques to do something 'less interesting' or 'less valid' (ie free improv). The trouble with this attack on Stetson is that it ignores his real innovation, which is in recording and mixing the multiple channels from a single take by the use of lots of contact mics - which are placed all over his instrument, him and the room. This is how he ends up with such a massive sound on what is, ostensibly, a solo live saxophone album with a guest vocal. But some critics are all too happy to ignore this because it stands in the way of what they feel they have to do, which is to sneer at an 'indie guy' doing it all wrong.

The Bon Iver guy ruins the new one for me though.

Doran, Saturday, 11 May 2013 10:26 (11 months ago) Permalink

waaaaaaaay too much bon iver. i feel like i'm slighting stetson by being so dismissive, but that guy's fey voice is such a turnoff for me. not so much on that song where he screams, but his voice is just incapable of doing the same kind of heavy-lifting as a laurie anderson or a shara worden.

borntohula, Saturday, 11 May 2013 16:13 (11 months ago) Permalink

http://youtu.be/Tu9Qj1ZekSI

i think it's stetson on "brute" ... not sure if that's the song you're referencing tho

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Sunday, 12 May 2013 03:43 (11 months ago) Permalink

it's bon iver on "brute". i think his voice works really well on that one, possibly because i'd never have known it was his voice if i hadn't read it on the sleeve.

stirmonster, Sunday, 12 May 2013 05:02 (11 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Listened to this yesterday and I think I prefer it over pt2. Amazed at how diverse it is, but I also find it kind of painful to listen to - not because of the skronking sounds (I quite like those) but because I know playing like that must surely and slowly be killing him. As such sometimes listening to this guy is like listening to the sounds of an abattoir where animals are slaughtered for the sake of food (that may well be delicious all the same).

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Tuesday, 18 June 2013 14:04 (10 months ago) Permalink

huh, i didn't even notice bon iver on this one - thought it was all the better off for having fewer guest spots than the last one and spotlighting his incredible ability as a player instead.

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Tuesday, 18 June 2013 14:36 (10 months ago) Permalink

Not to pop the joke, but we can only yearn for a world where Bonny Bear took such a principled stance

pfunky boyster (Drugs A. Money), Saturday, 21 December 2013 10:35 (4 months ago) Permalink

Me, I like Justin's contributions. Transcribing his vocal parts I'm blown away by the timbre of his voice-- so many overtones! he sings like a C3-- and also a looseness to his phrasing. Obv I'm a big stan for Laurie and Shara. My desire for "no guest vocals" is greediness on my part, want an uninterrupted 45 minutes of nothing but Colin's own singing and blowing, maintain a unified sonic world, something that reflects the ascetic, disciplined nature of his practice

fear of zing failure (flamboyant goon tie included), Saturday, 21 December 2013 15:51 (4 months ago) Permalink

The ATP recording is great for that

http://www.npr.org/event/music/140920372/colin-stetson-in-concert-atp-festival-2011

Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, 21 December 2013 18:30 (4 months ago) Permalink


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