Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A roaring, terrible sadness...
March 17, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Colin Stetson is an unusually gifted sax player. He's worked or is working with Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, GY!BE, Bon Iver and others. He's opened for Arcade Fire, Tim Hecker, and The National. What's most unusual about Stetson is that he's able to make all the sounds you hear with one horn, utilizing no loops or overdubs. Stream three tracks and download one or watch two videos of him play.
posted by dobbs (28 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, how do you like that? Dusted just had a review of his new album.
posted by box at 9:14 AM on March 17, 2011


That is a big fucking saxophone
posted by ghharr at 9:22 AM on March 17, 2011


For whatever reason, all I can think of right now is him playing Glass' soundtrack for Koyaanisqatsi. I want to see this very very badly.
posted by hanoixan at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2011


(MeFi's own) Said the Gramophone turned me onto Stetson. I need to see him perform live.
posted by defenestration at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


His new album is an absolute MASTERPIECE. I don't say that often.

Said the Gramophone had a great write-up on him. "It is the most exciting and devastating record that I have heard in seasons; it is a roaring, terrible sadness."
posted by naju at 9:26 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is a big fucking saxophone

That's a Bass Sax, right? Here's a comparison with a baritone for reference.

Bigger ones do exist, such as the Contra Bass Saxophone.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:32 AM on March 17, 2011


Wow, that's some really freaking impressive saxophonery. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by cobra libre at 9:35 AM on March 17, 2011


Yes, but can he play Yakety Sax?
posted by schmod at 9:36 AM on March 17, 2011


Who is Arcade Fire?
posted by monospace at 9:37 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's worked or is working with Tom Waits...

I knew a human vocal tract couldn't make those noises. Admit it — "Tom Waits" is just an extended technique for the saxophone.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


He is clearly above the law.
posted by hermitosis at 9:49 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I hadn't watched the video first, I'd be imagining an even bigger sax right now while listening to the streaming songs. Bigger and with tentacles.
posted by orme at 9:51 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please let him play in the Wordless Music line-up someday. It would be perfect.
posted by functionequalsform at 9:53 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really nice. Thanks.
posted by zoinks at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2011


Incredible artistry and talent -- thanks!
posted by MustardTent at 10:04 AM on March 17, 2011


That is incredible. Thanks for pointing this out.
posted by chemoboy at 10:10 AM on March 17, 2011


i saw him play live a few years ago, and was completely blown away by the extraordinary technique. It's kind of like the saxophone playing crossed with throat singing, and hits you in powerful physical waves of sound. Go and see him if you get the chance.
posted by silence at 10:31 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am listening to Stetson's latest album "New History Warefare Vol 2: Judges" and it is truly spectacular. Spotify link.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2011


I recently saw him supporting Godspeed You Black Emperor here in Madrid. Bought his album immediately. You have to see him live if at all possible. Godspeed was great, but I was thinking about Colin's performance on my way home and kept playing his album on loop for a good week afterwards.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:19 AM on March 17, 2011


I think my heart just got torn in half. If I was on something with more download than a surfstick right now his albums would be mine. Thanks for the introduction.
posted by vansly at 11:42 AM on March 17, 2011


Stetson is faaaaaabulous. He is to the saxophone what Ziporyn is to the clarinet.
And that is amazing!
posted by Theta States at 12:06 PM on March 17, 2011


He really owes quite a lot to Evan Parker, whether by direct influence or not. (Warning: Parker is less "accessible" than Stetson.)
posted by O Blitiri at 4:27 PM on March 17, 2011


He's just doing multiphonics and singing through the horn.. don't drink the Flavor-Aid on this guy.. he's good at his shtick but I bet a lot of real sax players would just laugh at him.
posted by ReeMonster at 4:47 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I played saxaphone for a few years, and never got good, but I still say Stetson is nuts. Multiphonics, singing through the horn, using the keys as percussion, circular breathing; these are all common techniques. Playing them all at the same time? That's harder. Making good music that way? This guy is a whackadoodle crazy music genius.

I get the comparison to Evan Parker and I wouldn't be surprised if Stetson's familiar with him. At the same time, I think Parker owes a lot more to abstracting Coltrane's sheets of sound approach in the service of generating dense, abstract tonal clusters.

By comparison, Stetson is exploring the potential of emulating musical arrangements with multiple voices, entirely through a single instrument. That he's making interesting music this way - rather than music that's interesting because of how it's made - is part of why this is so impressive.

(Was I the only one to hear Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" in the track "Judges"?)
posted by ardgedee at 8:11 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get the comparison to Evan Parker and I wouldn't be surprised if Stetson's familiar with him.

Would any contemporary solo saxophonist NOT be familiar with Parker?
posted by Theta States at 10:29 PM on March 17, 2011


I would again like to also point out the brillaince of Evan Ziporyn... Sound player embedded there for wonderful listening!
posted by Theta States at 10:35 PM on March 17, 2011


So awesome. Thank you for passing along. I love this.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:45 AM on March 18, 2011


Awesomesauce.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:59 PM on March 18, 2011


« Older The only thing more off the hook than these Indian...  |  Michigan State University buil... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments