Hereditary by Colin Stetson.

Colin Stetson has always been fairly rigorous about recording his solo albums and collaborations in real time, even in the recording studio.

I have, however, occasionally wondered what it would be like if he availed himself of the usual studio trickery, overdubs and the like.

On his soundtrack for Hereditary he utilizes some of those studio tricks, so my questions are answered to a certain extent. While there is, thank goodness, no pitch correction here or pop tunes, it does sound like an army of Stetsons.

As far as I can tell, the only other player is his sometimes collaborator Sara Neufeld on violin. Other than that, I believe it is mostly clarinets. A sea of clarinets. A wall of clarinets. A multifarious shimmering field of clarinets. All anchored by his usual percussive key clapping and low end manipulation of the Bass Clarinet.

This is a pretty awesome, and ballsy move, for the soundtrack to a mainstream movie, even a horror movie.

I mean, horror movies do get a little bit of a pass to break away from the usual John Williams and Hans Zimmer pablum that passes for soundtracks, but this IS a movie that a lot of people will see and Colin Stetson is not Bernard Hermann.

I am pleased, and astounded, that the director and producers would entrust the soundtrack to a clarinetist and saxophonist who is committed to exploring the outer limits of what is possible on those instruments.

As a listening experience, the album isn’t quite the moving pleasure that Stetson’s usual albums are, just based on the fact that most of the songs are quite short and designed to exist supporting the action of a movie. The closest touchstones are probably his collaboration with Neufeld, “Never Were the Way She Was” and his recording of Gorecki’s Third Symphony. That said, there are a lot of great moments here. And certainly a lot of instrumental technique to boggle at, if that is your sort of thing.

Also, probably, the closest I will get to seeing the movie. Horror movies aren’t really my thing, and judging from the soundtrack, this is a pretty terrifying movie.

#Hereditary #ColinStetson #SaraNeufeld #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack