colin

Colin Stetson 2011 Fall Tour + Video Release

To say Colin Stetson has come into his own in 2011 would be an understatement. February 2011 saw the release of Colin's highly acclaimed solo album New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, broadly received as a sonic, conceptual, compositional and technical tour de force. Thanks to his trajectory as a session and guest player with a diverse crop of iconoclastic pop/rock practitioners ­– Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio, Arcade Fire – as well as his own tenure in bands like Sway Machinery and Bell Orchestre, Stetson was poised to bridge the gap between contemporary rock and more rarified currents of avant jazz. With the Judges album, he did just that, garnering high praise from the both the jazz and pop/rock worlds.

Colin's astounding physical engagement with his instruments (chiefly bass and alto saxophones) produces emotionally rich and polyphonic compositions that transcend expectations of what solo horn playing can sound like. Stetson is equally at home in the avant jazz tradition of players who have pushed the boundaries of the instrument through circular breathing, embouchure, etc. (i.e. Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson) and at the nexus of noise/drone/minimalist music that encompasses genres like dark metal, post-rock and contemporary electronics (i.e. Tim Hecker, Ben Frost – both of whom have mixed or remixed Stetson recordings).

Stetson's non-stop gigging at SXSW 2011 (on the NPR, Pitchfork and Pop Montreal stages) led to hundreds of dropped jaws and just as many superlatives about the man's mind-altering, heart-rending music: how it defies both genre boundaries and the physical boundaries of what one person can sonically generate in live performance with a single acoustic instrument, without recourse to looping pedals or other effects.

Through the 30-odd solo performances delivered in the wake of the Judges release in spring 2011, Colin continued delving into new compositions and especially more long-form trance/transcendental explorations. Having premiered a couple of these new songs at a small art gallery show in Montreal in May 2011, we were duly blown away (along with everyone else in the room) and encouraged Colin to record them while still in their raw, stamina-testing glory. He agreed and brought in good friend (and now Grammy-winning engineer) Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Islands) to help capture the performances in Stetson's own basement rehearsal/studio space.

The two pieces on this new EP both clock in at 10 minutes and are documented in direct fashion, using a handful of mic positions and, as usual, no looping or overdubbing of any sort. They are brilliant single-take performances that showcase Stetson's love for minimalism, a subtle pop sensibility, and a mesmerising, mantric, time-warping technical ability.

Those Who Didn't Run EP is an amazing addition to what will no doubt be an expanding Colin Stetson discography in coming years; a wonderfully-realized portrait of Colin's solo playing before he embarks on a year's worth of touring as part of Bon Iver's live band.

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Tour Dates

8/12 - 92Y Tribeca - New York, NY *
8/23 - Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art - Hartford, CT *
8/24 - Delilah's - Ithaca, NY
8/25 - Casbah Lounge - Hamilton, CA
8/26 - The Drake Hotel - Toronto, ON
8/27 - Zaphod Beeblebrox - Ottawa, CA
8/28 - Le Cercle - Quebec, CA
9/2 - Il Motore - Montreal, QC *
10/1 - ATP Festival - Asbury Park, NJ
10/3 - Burlington City Arts Center - Burlington, VT

*8.12 – w/Callers
*8.23 – 8.28 – w/Emily Wells
*9.2 – w/Rebecca Foon

Colin Stetson Named In NPR's Best Of 2011

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity. He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, making a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the explorations of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or playing at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz. His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio and Bon Iver.  Colin also plays in Belle Orchestre and Sway Machinery.
The music on New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was captured entirely live in single takes at Montréal's Hotel2Tango studio, with no overdubs or looping, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room. Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn that was multi-tracked.
The Judges sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse StudiosBen Frost.
The result is a highly original, experimental, euphoric record that fires on all levels: a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player; a compositional tour-de-force; and a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges features cover art by Tracy Maurice and will be issued on CD in custom 100% recycled paperboard gatefold jacket and on 180gLP with a limited edition screenprinted poster contained in the first pressing. The album will also be available digitally.

Colin Stetson Releases Live Video On Pitchfork

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity. He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, making a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the explorations of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or playing at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz. His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio and Bon Iver.  Colin also plays in Belle Orchestre and Sway Machinery.
The music on New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was captured entirely live in single takes at Montréal's Hotel2Tango studio, with no overdubs or looping, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room. Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn that was multi-tracked.
The Judges sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse StudiosBen Frost.
The result is a highly original, experimental, euphoric record that fires on all levels: a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player; a compositional tour-de-force; and a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges features cover art by Tracy Maurice and will be issued on CD in custom 100% recycled paperboard gatefold jacket and on 180gLP with a limited edition screenprinted poster contained in the first pressing. The album will also be available digitally.

Colin Stetson Premieres "Stars In His Head"

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity. He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, making a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the explorations of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or playing at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz. His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio and Bon Iver.  Colin also plays in Belle Orchestre and Sway Machinery.
The music on New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was captured entirely live in single takes at Montréal's Hotel2Tango studio, with no overdubs or looping, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room. Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn that was multi-tracked.
The Judges sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse StudiosBen Frost.
The result is a highly original, experimental, euphoric record that fires on all levels: a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player; a compositional tour-de-force; and a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges features cover art by Tracy Maurice and will be issued on CD in custom 100% recycled paperboard gatefold jacket and on 180gLP with a limited edition screenprinted poster contained in the first pressing. The album will also be available digitally.
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North American Tour Dates:
2/03 - The Stone - New York NY
2/5 - Le Cercle - Quebec, QC w/Tim Hecker
2/10 - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QC w/Tim Hecker
2/17 - The New Musuem - New York, NY

Band of Heathens new CD is 'Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster's Son'

2010 was a year of making noise and news for the Band of Heathens. With 200-plus show dates, a fifth anniversary celebration, appearances at Lollapalooza and other top national festivals and a taping of Austin City Limits with Elvis Costello, it is remarkable that the Heathens even found time to write and record a new studio album, but they did.

The result is Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son, a surprising, multi-faceted gem of a disc. Their third studio album and the fifth release overall, Top Hat Crown displays the wide range of classic influences fans and critics have come to admire in the band, yet they’ve added, built and grown. Producer George Reiff, celebrated for his work with the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, the Courtyard Hounds (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks) and Ray Wylie Hubbard, tended to the album’s vibe and spirit, which is reaching, rocking, bluesy, funky and enjoyable as hell, from its rocking opening to its serene acoustic conclusion.

The Band of Heathens is constantly being compared to The Band because of the musical finesse that overlays their timeless, rootsy core. And the three founding members are all skilled multi-instrumentalists who can play almost any position in the field. But TBoH has reached so many fans so fast because of the echoes of and subtle homage to so many different artists at the core of the Americana canon, including Tom Petty, Tony Joe White, the Grateful Dead, Leon Russell, George Harrison, and other rarified stylists. You can hear a little of all that at a Heathens show or on disc, and Top Hat Crown feels like the most coherent and mature encapsulation of those elements so far.

Given the timelessness of their sound, one gets the sense that Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks would have gravitated toward the same essential feel had they met in 1975 or 2045. As it happens, it was in 2006 after each songwriter had established residency gigs on the same night of the week at Momo’s, an eclectic-minded club on Austin’s famous Sixth Street. Friendship, semi-regular sit-ins and harmony jags gelled into something quite rare: a band with three frontmen, each with enough humility and passion to invest in the larger project. The sum transcended the parts. Bassist Seth Whitney was a member from the get-go. Drummer John Chipman joined in 2007 as their road calendar got heavier.

The Heathens took their time getting their first studio album out, but when that eponymous debut was released in 2008, they proved they could write and record a coherent statement that measured up to their show. They followed relatively quickly with One Foot in the Ether toward the end of 2009. Both shot to the top of the Americana chart and remained there for months, evincing a longevity rare in any format of music. Each added songs to the band’s set lists that have become staples and favorites: “Jackson Station,” “Cornbread,” frequent set closer “Don’t Call on Me” and the rocking, cathartic “L.A. County Blues.”

Other kinds of recognition and respect rolled in. TBoH was honored as Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards and nominated as Best Duo or Group by the Americana Music Awards. The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli called theirs the best set he saw during South by Southwest 2009. And the rest of the press has been equally effusive: The Dallas Morning News calls them “a must-see show.” Maverick magazine says they’re “magnificent.”

One can anticipate similar praise for Top Hat Crown, as it stretches without breaking faith with the feel and integrity that got the Band of Heathens this far. Opener “Medicine Man” sets a hoodoo tone with slappy upright piano and a swaggering lyric sung by Gordy Quist.

Another early Quist lead is “Polaroid,” which the guys say was influenced by the Jayhawks and mid-career Beatles. It coasts along on a robust acoustic strum decorated by jangly chiming electric guitar — a pluperfect fusion of pop and roots. Ed Jurdi gets his first lead vocal licks in with “Should Have Known,” a deeply bluesy slow shake that bolsters the regret of the song. Colin Brooks evokes current events and the craziness of modernity with “Enough,” whose mantra-like lyric and mid-tempo groove will have people nodding along in time. Brooks also shines with his lead on “Gravity,” a tour-de-force of forward motion and organ-generated psychedelic colors. Then some bone-rattle percussion ushers in a glowing, single-chord jam ride and a three-part chorus that swells with love.

Fans of the band will note one familiar song here. “Free Again” was written, recorded and released as a single in a blast of energy in the summer of 2010, inspired by the mind-boggling Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It’s sincere and sarcastic, playful and chastising. And it’s part of a Louisiana theme that closes out the album and ties the whole project together. “Hurricane,” the album’s lone cover, a Nashville-written tune from an old Levon Helm album, is a poignant portrait of an aging Gulf Coast salt reflecting on storms and eerily anticipating Katrina. And “Gris Gris Satchel,” the final cut, is a gorgeous and soothing acoustic tune that evokes old New Orleans and memories of great Crosby, Stills & Nash tracks.

Like that historic group, the Band of Heathens is distinguished by collaboration and load-sharing. And while songwriting and vocal duties are chiefly handled by the three guys across the front of the stage, they are decidedly a five-man band, benefitting from the equal input of all. This can lead to a lot of deliberation and creative tension. But it also means the music that emerges has been through five filters and enjoyed the collaborative creative power of five music-loving minds. “When I write a song with Ed or Colin, I usually hear it a certain way in my head,” says Quist about the power of the process. “When we bring it in to the band, the song almost always comes out turned on its head, leaning in another direction from where it started.” Music fans nationwide will hear that distilled quality upon the release of Top Hat Crown.

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TOUR DATES:

Thurs., March 3  ANN ARBOR, MI
Fri., March 4  CHAMPAIGN, IL
Sat., March 5  ST LOUIS, MO
Fri., March  11  SAN ANTONIO, TX
Sat., March 12  DALLAS, TX
Tues., March 15  AUSTIN, TX (SXSW)
Sat., March 19  HOUSTON, TX
Tues., March 29   DENVER, CO
Wed., March 30   ASPEN, CO
Thurs., March 31   PARK CITY, UT
Fri., April 1  BOISE, ID
Sat., April 9  SANTA CRUZ, CA
Sun., April 10  SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Mon., April 11  FOLSOM, CA
Tues., April 12   BAKERSFIELD, CA
Wed., April 13   LOS ANGELES, CA
Thurs., April 14  PHOENIX, AZ
Sun., April 17  DRIFTWOOD, TX

Colin Stetson To Release "New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges"

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity.  He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, conveying a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the playing of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz Fest.  His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Antibalas and Bon Iver.  His live solo performances are absolutely stunning and uncategorisable and he conveys a commensurate intensity and iconoclasm on this new studio album of original material.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was recorded entirely live in the studio at Montréal's Hotel2Tango, with no overdubs or looping pedals, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room.  Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn suite ("All The Days I've Missed You") that was multi-tracked by Colin.

Stetson is able to weave an uninterrupted flow of arpeggiated swirls and chordal progressions while simultaneously singing yearning melodic lines through the reed of his horn - a technically powerful combination, exponentially intensified by Colin's innate sense of pace, phrasing and trajectory.  Stetson approaches his solo work with one foot firmly rooted in a pop sensibility, harmonically and in terms of overall song structure - a sensibility on fine display in longer pieces like "Judges", "The Stars In His Head (Dark Lights Remix)" , "Clothed In The Skin Of The Dead" and "Fear Of The Unknown And The Blazing Sun".  He can paint short, ecstatic spirals of rapid-fire ostinati that move through the entire range of the instrument, full of subtle rhythmic shifts and filigree, as with "The Righteous Wrath Of An Honourable Man", "From No Part Of Me Could I Summon A Voice" and "A Dream Of Water", all of which clock in at the 2-3 minute range (and the last of which features a spoken word vocal by Laurie Anderson).  Colin can also shred, especially when rallying the full force of the bass saxophone, whether in the foghorn blasts that open the album or the gasping syncopated pulse of "Red Horse (Judges II)".  The seamless, steamy, multi-timbral drone that underpins Shara Worden's guest vocal on "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes" demonstrates another side of Colin's mastery and sensibility.

The sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik and mixed by Ben Frost, the critically acclaimed experimental electronic/ambient composer and producer whose shared influences of minimalism, noise and black metal made him the perfect choice for a bold and unconventional approach to the raw material.  Frost pushes and pans different mic signals to the fore from song to song (and within songs), eliciting a cornucopia of details and extremes in Colin's playing and highlighting the complexity of sounds generated by a single horn in Stetson's hands.  Rhythms are formed by clicking keys, minute textures are brought forward by running ambient mics extremely hot, and low end is at times pushed fully into the red to devastating effect.  Mastering by Mell Dettmer provides the final touch.

The result is a highly original, experimental and thrilling record that fires on all levels: as a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player, as a compositional tour-de-force, and as a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness: a challenging work that resists classification but remains accessible to music lovers of many stripes.

Colin Stetson Announces US Dates w/ Arcade Fire

Colin Stetson has performed the solo saxophone music of New History Warfare in practically every type of venue that music inhabits, and although this music may seem challenging on it's surface, every audience in every room in every city has received it with a warm and energized embrace.

From chanting and clapping crowds of rock fans while opening up for the Arcade Fire in a string of Get out the Vote rallies for the Obama Campaign last summer to a captivated and curious standing room only in rural Germany. The monks at the National Shrine of St. Francis Assissi were so thrilled with an easter sunday performance that they had him back for two more in the years to come. It is a spectacle of physical extremes (Lexy Benaim of the Harlem Shakes likened it to watching the Olympics, and Alex Green at Caught in the Carousel calls him "the Roger Federer of avant-garde instrumental music") and an intense and cathartic experience of sound and lyricism.

Both sonically vast and melodically accessible. Allmusic.com's Sean Westergard had this to say: "Colin Stetson is an absolute master of the saxophone...New History Warfare, Vol. 1 is a truly impressive, fully formed, and highly individual musical statement... Stetson's compositions and ability to tell a musical story are what make this a great album. You haven't heard saxophone music quite like this".

Aside from his work as a soloist, Stetson has brought his unique voice on winds and brass to stage and studio with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Fiest, Bon Iver, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Marc Ribot, David Byrne, Jolie Holland, Sinead O'Connor, LCD Soundsystem, My Brightest Diamond, Angelique Kidjo, Anthony Braxton, and The National.

Tour Dates:

Tue Oct 5th - Big Sur CA Henry Miller Library

Thu Oct 7th - Los Angeles CA Shrine Auditorium

Fri Oct 8th - Los Angeles CA Shrine Auditorium

Sun Oct 10th - Mexico City Palacio de los Deportes

Tue Oct 12th - Monterrey Banamex Theater