Juno Award winning, violinist, composer, long-time member of Arcade Fire and founding member of Bell Orchestre, Sarah Neufeld recently announced her third solo album, Detritus is set for release on May 14, 2021 via Paper Bag Records. Today she offers us a new single + video for album track.
“I knew that Jason and I would work together again on some visual aspect for my third solo release, and it so happened that before I even began recording the album, we were presented with the opportunity to do a mini residence on Corsica with Providenza; an amazing collective with a farm, cultural laboratory, festival and residency program.” recalls Sarah. “I was doing a short solo tour in Europe in the summer of 2019 in order to re-work some of the pieces from the dance collaboration to begin to find a shape for the album that was to be recorded in the fall. In the middle of that tour, Jason and I travelled to Corsica for several days (graced once again with a suitcase containing Esteban Cortazar’s unique and beautiful creations). Besides performing in Providenza’s outdoor amphitheater, we were immersed in nature, literally staying in a treehouse perched on the side of a mountain, overlooking the dramatic coastline. I found that the pulse of the landscape resonated with the essence of the music, especially With Love and Blindness; a sense of rawness, of sensuality, of a strange gravity intensified by the hypnotic summer heat and the general otherworldliness of the place.”
Director Jason Last continues; “My ongoing creative collaboration with Sarah has always been an instinctive process. Because we know each other so well, and have worked together for so long, there is a lot of knowledge and trust that goes into the inspiration. The video is an exploration of our time there, surrounded by the rugged nature of this Mediterranean island that lends so well to the energy behind her music. Somewhere between documentation and fantasy, we captured Sarah in these environments, which later came together to visualize this powerful song from her new record.”
Detritus offers a patient, gorgeous evolution of Neufeld’s sound: a soft and open-hearted musical landscape, where the sound is abiding and reflective. Neufeld, who trained in various dance modalities throughout her youth – brings her customary kineticism to these pastorals, like the song of shapes in motion. Yet the movements are different than they have ever been: inward-turning and outward-facing, deliberate and generous, acknowledging the world with a love that will not flinch. It all originated with a collaboration: in 2015, Neufeld was invited to appear on stage with the legendary dancer/choreographer Peggy Baker. Baker had prepared a solo piece based on work from Neufeld’s second album, The Ridge, to which Neufeld added an original lyrical prelude. The live result was an incendiary duet, almost a sort of faceoff, which left each artist unsatiated. They agreed to reunite for a more extended collaboration – a full-length show with Baker’s company, where Neufeld would write to (and perform music alongside) Baker’s choreography. It was from here, Detritus would be formed.
Neufeld worked throughout the album process with her Arcade Fire bandmate Jeremy Gara, whose drums, synths and ambient electronics co-anchored the Peggy Baker shows and helped shape the reimagined album versions. She would go on to add her signature foot pedal bass synth and ethereal vocalizations, bringing in Bell Orchestre compatriot Pietro Amato’s sonorous French Horn swells, and woodwind wizard Stuart Bogie as a one man flute ensemble, layering clusters of chords atop Neufeld’s luminous compositions. Neufeld’s influences range from Bartok, to Arthur Russell, to Aphex Twin. Detritus will be Neufeld’s third solo album following acclaimed debut album Hero Brother which was produced by Nils Frahm. In 2015 Neufeld released Juno award winning Never Were The Way She Was with celebrated saxophonist and collaborator Colin Stetson, and in 2016 Neufeld released her second solo album, The Ridge.