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Baker's Dozen

Embedded In The Skull: Colin Stetson's Favourite LPs
Cian Traynor , March 9th, 2017 10:27

As the experimental multi-instrumentalist prepares to release an envelope-pushing solo album and play the Quietus-partnered Big Ears Festival in Tennessee, he takes us through 13 LPs that have shaped the journey so far.


Henry Threadgill – Where's your cup?
I hadn't heard Threadgill's music until around the age of 17. He was then, and remains still, my favourite 'jazz musician'. His sound is what I've tried to emulate my whole life. When I first heard this, it validated certain musical goals that I had – compositionally and improvisationally – to stick to a particularity about the way I played, avoiding more conventional vocabulary in jazz and improvised composition.

I actually had a class with him once at Berkeley where he broke down the way he composes. It was just this eureka moment of, 'Here's someone doing exactly what I always thought you should do.' I'd already been enamoured with his work but it was so fulfilling to see the nuts and bolts of it – to have them fit so perfectly into my preconceptions of what it meant just from listening. My relationship with this particular record is mostly in the overwhelming influence of his sound and compositional style on me.

Were you ever able to share your own music with him as your career developed?

No, I never thought to do that. It was just a week's workshop. We talked a little bit in the context of a classroom and I learned an immense amount, which I'll always cherish, but I know that he won't remember me. I've no expectation of that. Maybe I should try to send it to people I respect but that's not something I've ever sought out in life.