Sarah Neufeld is an exploratory violinist and composer from Montreal, Canada. Best known as a member of Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre, she has recently been making waves via an open-minded collaboration with saxophonist Colin Stetson and two solo albums of spellbinding, widescreen music. Having picked up her instrument at the tender age of 3, she has since taken her violin on an unconventional life long path and her myriad of experiences have revealed themselves in Hero Brother (2013, Constellation Records) and new breathtaking releaseThe Ridge (2016, Paper Bag Records).
The live performances Neufeld creates as a duo with percussionist Stefan Schneider have an expressive freedom that makes them both physical and restrained, rhythmic and minimal, while retaining a free flowing spiritual dimension. Her contemporary song structures are enhanced by haunting electronic glazes, her own spectral vocalisations and a distinct pulsating, percussive edge. Old world folk melodies of Bela Bartok can be heard but she also explores the deep well of Arvo Part’s compositions, the playful sensibilities of Arthur Russell, Julia Holter’s hypnogic electro-acoustic textures and naturally Arcade Fire’s raw kinetic energy.
Neufeld’s debut solo album Hero Brother, produced by Nils Frahm, employed touches of wordless vocalisation, harmonium and piano in support of the violin. New record The Ridge heightens the narrative tensions and absorbs the listener by making more explicit the vocals, synths and tellingly, the drums (Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara), with Colin Stetson andTim Hecker also adding to the mix. The songs have the transcendental ability to fix the listener to the spot but are also able to drift into hypnotic zones while imbuing the atmosphere with a powerful sense of drama and landscape.
One of Canada’s most exciting and singular composers – Exclaim
Neufeld’s focused, restless recordings invite the listener to share in the intensity of her ritual as a performer, creating a necessary and refreshing air ofintimacy. – Pitchfork
It is crafted with care and precision and will hopefully open the door for many to the world of instrumental, abstract orchestrated composition… strikingly gorgeous and textural – Under The Radar