Exclaim!'s Staff Picks:​ Colin Stetson's 'When we were that what wept for the sea' Is a Cinematic Experience

BY Alex HudsonPublished May 23, 2023

Colin Stetson has been releasing dizzying sax albums for a decade and a half, but I still don't fully understand how he makes such visceral, relentless soundscapes — "recorded live, no overdubs/loops," as the credits of his latest album point out.

While I used to find Stetson's music a little too barren and jarring to be fully enjoyable, I mostly find When we were that what wept for the sea to be downright beautiful (albeit in a very haunting sort of way). Tracks like "Long before the sky would open" and the title cut feature gorgeous expanses of cyclical sax that resemble synth arpeggiators, with wordless moans providing the melodic counterpoint. He's made lots of film scores in the past few years, and this album is a similarly cinematic experience.

(52Hz Records)

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