Montréal-based violinist and Arcade Fire member Sarah Neufeld is one of Canada's most exciting singular composers. Her music is a thoughtful journey through pop-minimalism with hypnotic balance of sound and song.
Best known as a member of Arcade Fire, she is also a founding member of the acclaimed contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre. Neufeld began developing pieces for solo violin in a formal sense in 2011, though she has made improvisation and solo composition part of her process and practice since first picking up the instrument at a young age.
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Neufeld counts Bela Bartok, Steve Reich, Iva Bittova and Arthur Russell among the formative influences for her solo work, in tandem with an ear for the textures and sensibilities of contemporary electro-acoustic, avant-folk and indie-rock music.
Neufeld's debut solo album Hero Brother, released in 2013 on Constellation Records, indeed channels all of the above, flowing through shifting atmospheres and oscillating between restrained, stately ambience, emotive études, and raw kinetic energy. Small touches of wordless vocalisation, harmonium and piano supplant the violin in a few places. The album was recorded in Berlin by pianist and producer Nils Frahm, with Neufeld's performances captured in a number of locations with site-specific acoustics, including an abandoned geodesic dome.