New History Warfare, Vol 2: Judges
Colin Stetson is a Montreal-based woodwinds player whose main ax is the bass saxophone. His impressive and expansive technique on the big horn — he employs circular breathing allowing him to play continuously — is absolutely dazzling. In 2008, he released a striking album, New History Warfare, Volume 1, and this 2011 follow-up is excellent as well. No overdubs or loops were used to capture his sax work, but 24 microphones were employed to record Stetson’s massive sound. (A lovely, brief piece, “All the Days I’ve Missed You,”finds Stetson overdubbing French Horn parts.) Laurie Anderson adds spoken word on a few tracks, and Shara Worden sings on two cuts, including a version of the traditional, “Lord I Just Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes.” Listening to this album, you might think of Terry Riley’s soprano saxophone and Time-Lag Generator work from the ‘60s, but Stetson’s one-man band workouts are all his own. Judges ends strongly with “In Love and In Justice,” where droning tones and breathy sounds circle again and again.