Timber Timbre Explain How Colin Stetson Got His Creep On
Published Apr 07, 2011Timber Timbre's Creep On Creepin' On, which came out earlier this week on Arts & Crafts, marks the transformation of Taylor Kirk's solo-identified persona into a band plus key sidemen. One of the most important new sonic ingredients is Montreal saxophonist Colin Stetson, best known for his work with Arcade Fire.
A critical element to Creep On is the subterranean menace of the low ranges of Stetson's saxophone collection. Lap steel guitarist Simon Trottier, one-third of the Timber Timbre trio, was responsible for bringing Stetson in.
"It's really something to see that guy come to the studio with seven saxophones. He was using a bass sax," Trottier tells Exclaim! "The way he was playing, it was like 'oh shit, that guys a soldier.'"
Kirk adds, "I wasn't familiar with him at all. He showed up with every type of saxophone and set them all up. Then he did all this circular breathing stuff, it was really cool."
Stetson is a master of circular breathing, a technique often used in jazz in which a wind instrumentalist can sustain tones by continuously inhaling and exhaling. When applied to Stetson's main axe, the ultra-low bass sax, the results can sound powerful and strange. Kirk likens Stetson's recent solo album New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges (Constellation) to Philip Glass.
According to Trottier, Stetson's artistry was overwhelming in the studio. "Colin was trying stuff and Taylor was 'oh I don't know' and a little bit shy to tell him 'I don't like that, I prefer this.' He wanted to ask him to play very straight two three notes but we were so impressed by Colin that we didn't say anything. We recorded, and afterwards decided what we wanted to keep."
For more on Timber Timbre's Creep On Creepin' On, check Exclaim!'s recent April cover story on the band here.