Originality88
Longevity84
Overall Impact87
Reader Rating1 Vote60
86
For those listeners ready to submit to the unrelenting, 'off into the woods' vision of an uncompromising artist operating at the peak of his powers, you'll find a plethora of pleasures on this disc

Here, on his fifth album, the American saxophonist and Arcade Fire/Bon Iver collaborator Colin Stetson conjures a thrilling,  muscular vision of modern jazz that introduces subtle rhythmic alterations to his fiery, minimalist style.

The Montreal-based bass saxophone player and composer Colin Stetson has been busy broadening his range in recent years, re-tooling Gorecki’s ‘Third Symphony’ and working with the likes of Justin Vernon, My Brightest Diamond, Badbadnotgood, Laurie Anderson, Sarah Neufeld and Ex Eye.

His new opus, ‘All This I Do For Glory’, sees a return to the unabashed singularity of his earlier work that also embraces a renewed percussive vigour. As ever with the mercurial honker, this is ‘jazz’ reverberating through the prisms of glitchy electronica and Steve Reich/Philip Glass-like minimalism rather than wading through the concert hall or conservatoire terrain of flowing be-bop or incendiary free jazz.

The hypnotic opening title track finds Stetson on sun-dappled form, punctuating serene, almost Balearic phrases with jittery shrieks and hollers, prioritising atmosphere over lyricism. Underpinned by a loping beat that could be from the Flying Lotus toolbox, it showcases the abrasive and percussive qualities of his instrument, whilst bringing to mind the emergence of a mythical, lumbering creature from its lair as it rises from hibernation.

‘Like Wolves on the fold’ commences like an Aphex Twin-styled piece of IDM with a recurring reed motif, then swells to epic proportions with the injection of what sounds like a horse being whipped, cantering to a howling, tumultuous conclusion. The chilly ‘Between water and wind’ surrounds the horn-blower’s elongated notes with a disconcerting bass rumble; here his trademark circular breathing imbues the tune with even more of an agitated physicality.

The lush ‘Spindrift’ sees Stetson summon a grandiose, synapse-melting vista from his sky-scraping flutter, a Nils Frahm-like voyage of soothing ambient noise flecked by rays of pristine sunlight. ‘In The Clinches’ flies out the traps with raw bustle and honk, a bellicose bellowing demonstrating an affinity for bending awkward combinations from between musical notes. ‘The  lure of the mine’ builds patiently towards a fevered catharsis, climaxing with a fizzing break-beat outro.

For those listeners ready to submit to the unrelenting, ‘off into the woods’ vision of an uncompromising artist operating at the peak of his powers, you’ll find a plethora of pleasures on this disc; even in his gnarliest, wilderness moments there’s always a goosebump payoff.

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