Colin Stetson | Those Who Didn’t Run (Constellation)

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This EP is a slow burn, with a huge payoff.

Colin Stetson’s turned a benumbed wind instrument (bass saxophone) into something almost tribal—dare I say “sexy”—in his newest offering, Those Who Didn’t Run. Each throbbing lift, twist, or drop he makes with his horn is accompanied with a sense of physicality you might expect to find in a rock song. The melody sways in and out of focus, as you might expect if you’ve heard his previous work.
The EP is short on tracks but long on content. The two songs that comprise the release are each over 10 minutes long, which gives Stetson plenty of time to weave his dark, haunting bellows amid the trickling of his percussive clamor. His repetitive arpeggios shift ever so slightly that each alteration to the melody could easily go unnoticed.
Like Stetson’s previous work, this EP is a slow burn, with a huge payoff. Employing a Reichian sensibility, Stetson twists the repetition elegantly and subtly, until the listener in lands on foreign shores without knowing they were ever en-route. The gradual effect is both mesmerizing and numbing. As his swimming notes pump and whirl, the composition metamorphoses from light to dark, slow to fast, and it’s all I can do to keep up. | Glen Elkins

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