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The music of Breathe Owl Breathe has always been steeped in magic. Their songs seem to occupy that hazy space between wakefulness and dreaming—where the tangible, earthly world meets the transcendental. It's been nearly a decade since this trio of friends began making music in a remote cabin tucked away in a Northern Michigan river valley, but despite the growth and experiences that have happened along the way—including recording five albums, releasing a children's book, and logging several cross-country tours—the band's sound is still deeply rooted in the mysticism, warmth and wide-eyed wonder that imbued their earliest songs.
Passage of Pegasus, Breathe Owl Breathe's sixth album, is in many ways a return to that world. But it also marks an evolution: the songwriting has grown, the compositions are more textured. This is a rich, complex record: Each song is like a little diorama, constructed with engaging imagery, beautiful harmonies, and affectional (at times minimal, other times cacophonous) instrumentation. Crafted over a two-year period in various homes and studios between the West Coast and Midwest, many of the songs went through intense versioning, while others waited in the wings for the rest to find their positions on the album. As such, Passage of Pegasus captures the spirit of an odyssey, and the listener can't help but be pulled along for the ride.
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Colin Stetson established himself as an intensely original solo composer and performer in 2011 with the release of the widely acclaimed New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. Judges ended up on countless year-end lists and emphatically proved that Stetson's approach to solo saxophone transcends niche or genre; a unique and emotionally resonant instrumental music with influences as wide-ranging as jazz, metal, pop, soul, drone, industrial, minimalism, electro-acoustic and modern contemporary.
Remarkably, Stetson channels these manifold musical strains into a singularly identifiable and personal sound as a polyphonic soloist who doesn't rely on looping/layering or multi-track/overdubs technologies. Anyone who has seen Stetson in solo performance can attest to the stunning physicality of his circular-breathing technique and capacity to produce a seemingly impossible palate of multiple voicings simultaneously in real time - making his already beautiful and evocative compositions all the more enrapturing and viscerally human.