Colin Stetson

New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light

BY Vincent PollardPublished Apr 26, 2013

Forming the final part in Stetson's New History Warfare trilogy, To See More Light is comparable, both stylistically and thematically, to its 2011 Polaris Music Prize-nominated predecessor. In a similar manner to Judges, it was recorded, for the most part, live in one take, employing the same clever mic placements, impressive circular breathing, simultaneous singing while playing, rhythmic valve-tapping and brooding atmosphere. The guest vocalist this time around is Justin Vernon, who Stetson has recently played with as a touring member of Bon Iver, a head-scratching marriage on paper that, to their credit, couldn't be a better fit in practice. The use of the vintage bass sax with the sci-fi themes, at times, summons up the dystopian, retro-futuristic imagery of Terry Gilliam or Jeunet and Caro (the directors of Delicatessen). By far the most successful and complete of his trilogy, To See More Light is a masterpiece that organically and coherently blends Stetson's avant-garde playing and dark, complex themes with accessible and compelling compositions that bring a ray of hope not just for the characters in his underlying narrative, but for the future of music.

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