"Stetson demolishes clichés to unleash fresh, unexpected energies. It's like being inside an enormous brass tunnel full of windy byways and slamming valves, at once exhilarating and frightening." - Pitchfork
Colin Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and spent a decade in San Francisco and Brooklyn honing his formidable talents as a horn player, working extensively live and in studio with a wide range of acts including Tom Waits, TV on the Radio, Arcade Fire, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. Meanwhile he has developed an utterly unique voice as a soloist, principally on saxophones and clarinets, his intense technical prowess matched by his exhilarating and emotionally gripping skills as a songwriter. He settled in Montreal in 2007.
In 2008 Aagoo records released Colin's debut, the first in his New History Warfare album cycle. New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges arrived via Constellation in Spring 2011, kicking off a hectic year of solo engagements and year-round touring as part of the Bon Iver band. The album met with universal acclaim from critics across a spectrum of jazz and indie rock/pop cultural spheres: "pure revelation" according to All About Jazz, the album was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, and landed on year-end lists at Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, SPIN and the Village Voice. His frequent appearances on stages at SXSW, All Tomorrow's Parties, and countless stops on the international jazz festival circuit cemented his reputation as a versatile and virtuosic player while bringing his solo work to a broad international audience.
Colin's astounding physical engagement with his instruments (chiefly bass and alto saxophones) produces emotionally rich and polyphonic compositions that transcend expectations of what solo horn playing can sound like. Stetson is equally at home in the avant jazz tradition of players who have pushed the boundaries of the instrument through circular breathing, embouchure, etc. (i.e. Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson) and at the nexus of noise/drone/minimalist music that encompasses genres like dark metal, post-rock and contemporary electronics (i.e. Tim Hecker, Ben Frost - both of whom have mixed or remixed Stetson recordings).
April 2013 saw the release of New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light via Constellation, completing the conceptual and narrative arc of the series and constituting a definitive realization of his unparalleled musicianship and stunning skill as a composer.