Monday, April 15, 2013

Artist of the Day: Colin Stetson

Colin Stetson's music is the most mechanical living beast one could ever imagine. This is why the musician's work is such a paradox, because however much labor he places in it, regardless of how structurally solid his art is as a whole, its effect on the listener transcends blueprint. What Stetson achieves with sound isn't something that can be calculated, or even estimated: it leaps into the field of potential with both wings outstretched, capable of picking up any and all willing passengers.

And who hasn't been enlisted in the great army of Colin Stetson? Sure, one could argue Stetson has been the willing passenger in the careers of prolific artists like Arcade Fire, Feist and Bon Iver, just playing the demanded tune of the moment. But most familiar with these acts can earnestly say Stetson's appearance was much more than that. The man's virtuosic grasp of the saxophone breathes new life into all types of melodies, no matter how long the part-- just a few notes, and Stetson could evolve a brooding ballad into a love cry. (With that ridiculous statement, can you tell who the fanboy is here?)

Ultimately, though, the reason Colin Stetson is on my mind is his upcoming release. New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light will be released on April 30, and the album will probably be one of the least digestible recent releases. It'll initially be a little abrasive, yes, but unlike the musician's collaborative work, Colin Stetson creates emotional movements from abrasion in his solo music. All the dust will come together to create one beautifully unified whole, and that's one occasion for which we can all be excited.

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