Album Review

Stetson, Colin – “New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges” – [Constellation]

Thurston Hunger   2/15/2011   CD, Jazz

History repeats itself, and so does Mr. Stetson, both by
virtue of a Vol. 2, but also in his deep-tone, deeper-breathing
sax cycles that propel this album. This release is amped up
a bit more than Vol. 1, but definitely recalls those cerebral
spirals stamped like theta waves crashing on hallucinated
beaches of Normandy. The initial blasts of Stetson’s sax sound
like a factory warning alarm. That sucker is going to blow!
Laurie Anderson floats in Dante-esque as the disembodied guide
offering angular narration. Provides a dual sense of casualty.
For a mostly one-man, one-take project, feels like a lot of
bodies strewn about. Anderson is minimal, on tracks 2 (so
minimal she is almost subliminal) 6, 10 and 13. The latter my
favorite, riffing on the phrase “Of all the wires, it was
the wires…” She sounds like a computer being a tad giddy,
encrypting a laugh as the now extinct humans once laughed at
it? The counterpoint to that is Shara Worden’s bluesy lament
on 8. Dark powers, apocalypic aftermath, “what war was that?”
This release plays well in full, but will slice fine on the
radio. Find it in jazz, but it’s just solid weird sound.

-Thurston Hunger

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