OUR LAST HOPE
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
On New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, Stetson applies the same techniques. Twenty microphones, planted like roses around a room - capturing the ripple of notes, the wails of resonance, the violent clack of fingers on keys and the shriek of Stetson's own voice, sounding through the horn; like Stetson has two hearts, four lungs, can sing two different sorrows at once. While several of the album's songs have vocals - precise, supple poetry by Anderson, a ghostlier presence by Worden - the power is in the push of breath through brass, the dive and heave and buck of Stetson's playing. Writing breathlessly in early January (I had been forbidden from posting a song here), I cited Nat Baldwin, Mark Hollis, Mogwai, Mt Eerie, Alexander Tucker, Phosphorescent's Pride, Born Heller, Alèmu Aga, Richard Youngs, Peter Brötzmann and James Blake. This scarcely gives Stetson his due. Judges sounds like nothing else. It is like being struck by a comet.
Would you like to listen? Due to the vagaries of Stetson's PR campaign, I can offer only this song, a re-imagining of Bell Orchestre's "The Stars In His Head", a song which you may have already heard (I had), on a 2009 Bell Orchestre remix album. Two more tracks, "Judges" and "The righteous wrath of an honorable man" are streaming at NPR and Constellation respectively.
But really you simply need to order this disc, $12 on CD and $17 on vinyl and $8 as an MP3; or go see Stetson and Tim Hecker in New York, Montreal or Quebec City; the Montreal launch is at La Sala Rossa on February 10.
Because Judges sounds like an ember, a hope, a wasteland's light. It is pain and loss and dumb death; groans and summons from the night. It has been years since so dark a thing has touched me. Like Arvo Pärt's Für Alina, like Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet, this is a work for bare heart and dawn.
It is only January but there is an album of the year.
Posted by Sean at January 31, 2011 10:37 AM
This album is devasting. I keep trying to write about it but the words don't come out right. Thanks for continually putting up great music.Posted by herohill at January 31, 2011 10:51 AM
I don't think you've written this forcefully (at least on STG) about a new sound in a long, long time, and even if there wasn't a track to listen or links to follow I'd probably be buying Judges simply due to the urgency of this post.
Immense thanks.Posted by Ryan at January 31, 2011 12:52 PM
"Righteous wrath" is an unutterably excellent track.Posted by Orlando at January 31, 2011 7:34 PM
Extraordinary music, classic STG posting. Thanks for bothPosted by J at February 1, 2011 10:58 PM
Wow! Wow! WOW!Posted by Jon B at February 2, 2011 12:31 AM
Yeah, love the way you wrote about this. Such urgency.Posted by Kevin at February 3, 2011 11:02 AM