Exclusive UK date by SFD: Stetson-Fox-Dunn the experimental American trio featuring Colin Stetson (Arcade Fire/Bon Iver/The National), Greg Fox and Trevor Dunn
For its first event, new boutique promoter Edinburgh Music Lovers (EML) has handpicked SFD Stetson – Fox – Dunn, the experimental instrumental trio of virtuoso American musicians fronted by bass saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, film composer and collaborator extraordinaire Colin Stetson.
SFD's sound is a head-spinning and brutal-yet-beautiful combination of post rock, free jazz, avant-garde metal and experimental noise, similar to Stetson and Fox's other project EX EYE. For reference points, think Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, Pharoah Saunders, Ornette Coleman, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Three Trapped Tigers, Aphex Twin, John Cale, and Stockhausen.
The show is the only UK date on SFD’s tour and Stetson’s first-ever appearance in Scotland.
Montreal-based musician Stetson, whose solo and collaborative output ranges across free jazz, post-rock, minimalism, black metal and electronica, is renowned as an incredibly intense live performer.
His utterly unique style of playing the bass saxophone and astonishing physical performances involve an unconventional circular breathing technique, him ‘singing’ into his instrument and creating percussive sounds by vigorously clapping his keys.
Such his reputation that he has been invited to play live and in the studio for a wide range of acts, including Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, The National, LCD Soundsystem, Lou Reed, David Bryne and Tom Waits.
SFD features Stetson, whose solo album 'All This I Do For Glory' was picked as the best release of 2017 by BBC Radio 6 Music's Mary Anne Hobbs, in collaboration with equally revered virtuoso musicians, drummer Greg Fox and bassist Trevor Dunn.
The band, who are working on their first album, explore what they describe as the “energetic extremes of dynamics, density, and physicality”. In other words, they push their bodies, music and playing techniques right to the limit during incredibly intense and improvised live performances.
Stetson in particular is known for his extremely physically demanding performances. With mics strapped to his neck and to his distinctive 4 feet long bass sax, he produces an astonishing range of sounds that appear to come from more than one person and instrument.
New Yorker Fox is renowned for his hyperkinetic and complex drumming. He incorporates Sensory Percussion software into his drum kit, which involves attaching sensors to the drums that read the sounds and play back electronic sounds.
Driven by Brooklyn bassist Dunn, SFD sets are improvised and a powerful spectacle as all three throw themselves headlong into the music. The sound is at times aggressive, at others abstract, a raw head-spinning fusion of free-jazz with the quiet-loud intensity of post-rock giants Mogwai and the glitchy electronic excursions of Aphex Twin.
It’s a continuation of the ‘more is more’ maximalist approach explored in Stetson and Fox’s other band EX EYE, where they push their music to the absolute extreme, producing a heavy and hypnotic wall of sound with complex layers of sounds, textures and rhythms.
EML director Jim Byers, a former music journalist, said: “As a boutique promoter dedicated to Edinburgh, our aim is to curate exciting, eclectic and experimental events for the city’s music lovers.
“For our first event, we wanted something extraordinary and we’re incredibly excited to bring Colin Stetson to Edinburgh with his new project SFD for an exclusive UK show.
“This is a show for open-minded music lovers who appreciate artists who push the boundaries of what is possible. Expect a completely unique and extraordinary experience - musically, emotionally and physically, as three virtuoso musicians push their bodies and instruments to the limits.”
For fans of: Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, Pharoah Saunders, Ornette Coleman, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Godflesh, Aphex Twin, John Cale, and Stockhausen.