- Mon May 15 2017
- 8:00 pm
- Main Hall
- Colin Stetson, With Justin Walter
Colin Stetson, With Justin Walter
Collective Concerts presents
with opening act Justin Walter
in The Great Hall’s Main Hall
Monday, May 15, 2017
Doors 8 pm | Sets at 9 pm, 10:15 pm
General admission | 19+
Tickets available online, also at Rotate This and Soundscapes
Join the Facebook event
Colin Stetson established himself as an intensely original solo composer and performer in 2011 with the release of the widely acclaimed New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. His latest album, All This I Do For Glory, debuted April 28, 2017.
Over the years, Stetson has worked extensively live and in studio with a wide range of bands and musicians including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, TV On The Radio, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Bill Laswell, Evan Parker, The Chemical Brothers, Animal Collective, Hamid Drake, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Angelique Kidjo, Fink, and David Gilmore. Meanwhile he has developed an utterly unique voice as a soloist, principally on saxophones and clarinets.
Previously, Judges ended up on countless year-end lists and emphatically proved that Stetson’s approach to solo saxophone transcends niche or genre; a unique and emotionally resonant instrumental music with influences as wide-ranging as jazz, metal, pop, soul, drone, industrial, minimalism, electro-acoustic and modern contemporary.
Remarkably, Stetson channels these manifold musical strains into a singularly identifiable and personal sound as a polyphonic soloist who doesn’t rely on looping/layering or multi-track/overdubs technologies. Anyone who has seen Stetson in solo performance can attest to the stunning physicality of his circular-breathing technique and capacity to produce a seemingly impossible palate of multiple voicings simultaneously in real time – making his already beautiful and evocative compositions all the more enrapturing and viscerally human.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light was the final installment in a trilogy of solo albums and Stetson’s most ambitious song cycle to date, again recorded live in single takes with a wide array of microphone positions and again mixed by groundbreaking producer Ben Frost. Colin’s membership in Bon Iver over the past two years has also led to vocal contributions from Justin Vernon for this record, who appears on four songs, with a diverse approach on each, and whose voice constitutes the only overdubbing on the album.
The record’s 15-minute centerpiece, title track “To See More Light”, is the longest piece Stetson has yet recorded and possibly the heaviest: a tour de force of swirling arpeggiation, continuous breathing, pumping valves and vocalizations through the reed of the horn that gives way to a tremendous, screaming, sea-sawing dirge through the song’s final movement. This latter stretch conjures a sort of saxophonic sludge metal, and the album’s heaviosity references other sub-genres of metal as well, most notably in the hardcore blast of “Brute” (abetted by Vernon’s cookie monster barking) and the ambient grindcore throb of “Hunted”. In other instances, the album is soulful and even hymnal, especially where Vernon’s vocals play a lead role.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light stands reliably as the apotheosis of Stetson’s New History Warfare trilogy and certainly signals the full flourishing of his unique talents as both composer and performer, pressing his arsenal of virtuosic techniques into the service of vivid, impassioned and conceptually astute songcraft.
The upcoming All This I Do For Glory is an exploration of the machinations of ambition and legacy, an examination of the concepts of afterlife, and the first half of a doomed love story in the model of the Greek tragedies. As a narrative, it exists temporally somewhere between 2015’s Never were the way she was (with Arcarde Fire’s Sarah Neufeld) and the first volume of the NHW trilogy.
Experience Colin Stetson’s diverse discography live in Toronto at The Great Hall, May 15, 2017. Trumpet and electronics musician Justin Walter, who contributed EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) and keyboards to Stetson’s 2016 album Sorrow, opens the show.