Sarah Neufeld – Forcelessness

Sarah Neufeld was born on Vancouver Island in 1979. She’s now based in Montreal and is best known as the violinist in Arcade Fire (you can find a post about Arcade Fire here). I’ll start off with the title of this post, Forcelessness, from Neufeld’s latest album,’Hero Brother’. The video is choreographed by Emery LeCrone and the dancers are Kaitlyn Gilliland and Pierre Guilbault…

Here’s the UK TV debut of Arcade Fire in 2005, on the Jools Holland show, playing the fourth track from their ‘Funeral’ album, which is called Power Out. Their performance completely blew away Jools & Co and made Arcade Fire the darlings of the UK music press…

Neufeld is also a longtime member of Bell Orchestre, a Montreal based instrumental ensemble. Richard Parry from Arcade Fire is also a member of Bell Orchestre. The symbiosis between the two bands is further highlighted by the fact that in 2003 both groups recorded their first album in the same studio at the same time. This track from Bell Orchestre is called Throw It On A Fire. It’s a homemade video yet the audio quality is good. It was recorded in Ontario in 2009…

Last month, Sarah Neufeld released her debut solo album, called ‘Hero Brother’. The following is part of the title track from the album. You might notice the Bartok influences in this piece. It’s almost as if she’s going to go into Rumanian Folk Dances at any moment…

This is how Sarah describes her solo work:

I began composing solo violin music out of the desire to explore and push my relationship with the violin and to develop the seeds of pieces growing in my consciousness for some time. Over the past few years of cultivating a meditation practice along side the physical yoga practice, my vision as an individual artist has come into focus- collaboration with others has and will always be a large part of how I create, but I found a solitary place within myself to jump off from. I’ve played the violin for so long it is the natural extension of my voice- The nuance and complex personality; sonically, rhythmically and emotionally existing in a single instrument is fascinating to me. My love for minimalism, pop music and improvisation comes through these compositions; this is where I come from. Hero Brother is a gathering of characters in our collective mythology- the strong and weak; the secrets buried underground, played by one instrument, echoed by my own voice as plaintive companion.

‘Hero Brother’ was recorded in Berlin by pianist and producer Nils Frahm, with Neufeld’s performances captured in a number of locations with site-specific acoustics. These included an abandoned geodesic dome, an underground parking garage, and the legendary Studio P4 orchestral recording hall at the broadcast complex of the former GDR. Here’s the final track from ‘Hero Brother’. It’s called Below

Here’s Sarah Neufeld talking about her work, before going on to play an untitled solo piece…

http://sarahneufeldmusic.com/

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