ABOVE: COLIN STETSON. IMAGE COURTESY OF SCOTT IRVINE
It’s not often that music feel entirely new—more often, songs reference whence they came, pay homage to their origins, and build upon their roots. Colin Stetson’s do not.
Steeped in a profoundly innovative practice and sound, the Michigan-born, Montreal-based saxophonist, composer, and vocalist makes songs that resonate deeply; innovative layers of pealing, dredging horns with wordless vocals. Stetson has perfected the art of circular breathing—that is, he is able to simultaneously play his horn, and sing through the instrument, without breaking for air. Many of his tracks are recorded in one live take. Stetson is a member of Bon Iver’s touring band, and Justin Vernon appears several times on his forthcoming album, New History Warfare Vol. 3: See More Light.
The video we are pleased to be premiering today does not feature Vernon, but does employ the talents of collaborating filmmakers Isaac Gale and David Jensen. “Among the Sef” is a beautiful, haunting meditation, and Gale and Jensen’s visuals do it justice, a black sea churning and breaking as the camera dips below and above the water’s surface.
Much like Stetson’s voice, the only mammalian elements in the video are otherworldly and fleeting—two whales diving in tandem, the silhouettes of people on the bluffs, brief cuts to an alarmingly spooky masked figure. “Among the Sef” solidifies Colin Stetson as an enigmatic figure in contemporary music, equally versed in avant-garde and drone music as he is in popular indie rock. The combination proves mesmerizing and utterly alluring.
COLIN STETSON’S NEW HISTORY WARFARE VOL. 3: SEE MORE LIGHT IS OUT APRIL 30. FOR MORE ON THE ARTIST, PLEASE VISIT HIS FACEBOOK PAGE.