Published Jan 28, 2016It's been three years since Colin Stetson released his New History Warfare Vol 3 LP. While the producer has been plenty busy ever since (teaming up with Sarah Neufeld for an album last year), he hasn't returned to a long-form solo project in a while. That will change in 2016, as Stetson has a new album on the horizon.
Called SORROW, the album is based on Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3. That said, in a press release Stetson explains that it "draws heavily from the world of black metal, early electronic music, and from my own body of solo saxophone music."
To achieve a new sound from an existing score, Stetson changed up the instrumentation, using electric guitars, synths and a string section.
Alongside Stetson, the album features appearances from the Arcade Fire's Sarah Neufeld, Esmerine's Rebecca Foon and Liturgy's Greg Fox.
In a statement, here's what Stetson had to say about the album:
We all have those moments when we experience a piece of music that transforms us, and this was one of those moments for me. Over the years, I went on to listen to this record countless times, always determined to absorb every instance of it, to know it throughout and fully. And this dedication to a thorough knowledge of the piece eventually gave way to a need to perform it.
The concept was simple, and true to the original score. haven't changed existing notation, but rather have worked with altering instrumentation, utilizing a group consisting heavily of woodwinds, synthesizers, and electric guitars, as well as retaining an element of the orchestral in a string section of violins and cellos, which features prominent and decorated Canadian musicians Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre) and Rebecca Foon (Saltland, Esmerine).
My approach was "additive", in that I imagined certain sounds or parts, though not present in the original, were (to me) extensions of the emotional core of the piece. For example, the instrumentation is rounded out by the most extreme of those sonic/timbral/musical additions, the drum set. Performed inimitably here by NYC drummer/percussionist, Greg Fox (Liturgy, Guardian Alien, Z's). My background and education in classical concert music is here, as well as a focus on group improvisation. The arrangement draws heavily from the world of black metal, early electronic music, and from my own body of solo saxophone music.
The result is an intact rendition of Henryk Górecki's 3rd Symphony, though one which has been filtered through the lens of my particular musical aesthetic and experience.
SORROW will arrive on April 8 through Kartel Music Group. A trailer for the release is available below, along with an extract from the album.