Holy amazing music: Colin Stetson on La Blogotheque

His just-posted set on gorgeous French video site La Blogotheque seems like as good an excuse as any to bring up Montreal saxophonist Colin Stetson.

It’s hard to even find words to talk about Stetson’s new album, New History Warfare, Vol. II (out now on Constellation), without just getting bogged down in superlatives. The guy really is helping redefine what can be done with a saxophone, which is no small feat in the face of what, almost a century of jazz? If you need some big name collaborators to tempt yourself into listening, he’s toured and recorded with Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Bon Iver, David Byrne, TV on the Radio and plenty more, and is a touring member of Arcade Fire. This solo stuff is headier than that, but every bit as impressive, if not more so.

His setup is pretty simple, from my understanding: He’s got a mic outside the bell, one inside the sax, one to pick up the clicks of the keys for percussion and one by his mouth to capture some of the extra pops and squeaks that he likes to throw in. That, plus a talent for circular breathing and a pretty much endless compositional creativity, is all he needs to make some obscenely impressive sounds. It’s not easy listening by any stretch, but man is it worth the effort.

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