If you were in an empty room with a camera, could you take a masterful picture? If you were in an empty room with a saxophone, a set of microphones and a single take, could you make a masterful album?
The genre of jazz is a kind man. A man that offers you stories that keeps your body inside the atmosphere of a smoky club and your soul outside to see the stars; he offers to show you the beauties of the world and often, he isn’t even talking.
Colin Stetson is not that man. He is the jazz that seeps inside your veins and kills you. His single instrument will tie up your senses into knots inside yourself and leave you to implode. There is an intrigue to be taken from his album New History Warfare, Vol. 2; an atmosphere created too disturbing to understand.
As a multi-reedist, Stetson recorded this entire album live in single takes without usage of modern sound editing to produce effects, instead using over 20 microphones in a single room to produce gigantic sounds that could swallow you whole. The tracks feel incredibly spiritually-driven and contribute many new concepts for the avant-garde. New History Warfare, Vol. 2 is a limit-breaking work that pulls more daunting stunts than many could try for.
In its magnitude of technical achievements, this album sets an example for its own genre. The album functions on a continuous stride that occasionally is interjected by spoken word artist Laurie Anderson, its an effect that fleshes out this album as a whole more than just individual parts. Doing so strengthens Stetson’s work and dramatizes the highs and lows of the life his instruments carry. The highest point on the album is when My Brightest Diamond’s singer Shara Worden comes in on the song Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes; a song so powerful that it gives the emotional impact of a phantom looting your happiness away in your sleep. If jazz were being murdered by its biggest fan, this is what it would sound like.
This album is my dad.