Sarah Neufeld is a violinist and composer based in Montréal, Canada. Best known as a member of Arcade Fire, she is also a founding member of the acclaimed contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre and has performed and recorded with many other groups, including The Luyas, Esmerine and Little Scream.
Neufeld began developing pieces for solo violin in a more formal and focused 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. 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 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 vocalization, 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, an underground parking garage, and the legendary Studio P4 orchestral recording hall at the broadcast complex of the former GDR.
Sarah has recently premiered her solo music at BAM (Brooklyn), the WSO New Music Festival (Winnipeg) and Wavelength Festival (Toronto), of which Exclaim magazine wrote "the highlight of the night was most certainly Sarah Neufeld, whose compositions range from Reichian to folksy without skipping a beat; she uses violin squeals, growls, scrapes and slides to express varying emotions and stomps the stage beneath her for percussion.
2. Hero Brother
4. You Are The Field
5. Breathing Black Ground
6. They Live On
7. Wrong Thought
8. Right Thought
9. Sprinter Fire
Running time: 00:43:18
LP is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, credit insert, pull-out art poster and download code for 320 kbps MP3 copy of the album. Artwork by Tracy Maurice.
CD comes in a custom gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. paperboard with a printed CD dust sleeve.
Nils Frahm: Harmonium (track 5), piano (track 10)
Produced by Nils Frahm and Sarah Neufeld.
Recorded by Nils Frahm, assisted by Matthias Hahn in Berlin at Studio P4, Nalepastrasse Berlin. Additional recordings at Durton Studio, and on Nagra in a geodesic dome, an underground parking garage, and a train station, Berlin.
Mixed by Nils Frahm at Durton Studio, Berlin.
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal.