Colin Stetson plays a multitude of instruments and makes most of them sound like nothing you've heard before. His arsenal includes alto, tenor, and the outsized bass saxophone, along with French horn. Employing a variety of often unorthodox techniques, including circular breathing to maintain a virtually seamless flow of sound, percussive pad tapping, simultaneous vocalizations, and elastic note definitions, Stetson creates a surreal sonic universe that's surprisingly accessible while probing the avant-garde. His music is littered with odd textures and sometimes jarring dissonance, but also passages of sparkling light, and melodic hinges are rarely far away. Stetson has played with Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV on the Radio, and Bon Iver, but the full expression of his work is best captured in his solo outings, including his last album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. There he manages to sound like a dozen musicians playing electronic loops and overdubs by using an extensive microphone system while dabbling with chamber music, drone, minimalism, wayward jazz, and even gospel, the last surfacing on an extraordinary reading of the standard "Lord I Just Can't Keep from Crying Sometimes" with guest vocals by Shara Worden. Stetson will appear solo in the Walker's Perlman Gallery. (Photo by Scott Irvine)
Thu., May 10, 6, 7 & 8 p.m., 2012
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