Colin Stetson – SORROW

Album Review by John Nugent | 30 Mar 2016
Album title: SORROW: A Reimagining Of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony
Artist: Colin Stetson
Label: Kartel
Release date: 8 Apr

Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 is a masterpiece of minimalism. It makes sense, then, that a fellow master of the minimal – avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson – should reappraise the Polish composer’s most famous work. Like Max Richter’s retooled Vivaldi LP, this is a fresh, inventive take on a classical standard.

Even those who do not have an Ultimate Classical Chillout CD rattling around in a glovebox should be able to recognise the occasional leitmotif in its brooding new form: given a gurgling menace from Stetson’s bass saxophone here, a jangle of electric guitars there.

Minimalist in style, if not scope, there’s lashings of Godspeed You! Black Emperor in its audacious bluster and experimental fervour. It is, almost by definition, not for everyone, and it is a stretch to say Stetson improves on the lush instrumentation of the original. But that isn’t the point. This is something at once new and familiar, and it demands your attention immediately.