If you only listen to one song today, make it “The Ridge” by Sarah Neufeld (2016, from the forthcoming album The Ridge).
Sarah Neufeld is a violinist and composer working out of Montréal. In 1997, she and the brilliant ambient-electronic/noise/drone musician Tim Hecker moved from Vancouver to Montréal. Although it took a while, she eventually became deeply entrenched in the Montréal/Constellation Records post-rock scene. She was a full-time member of The Arcade Fire for a while, and is still a contributor. She’s also been a member of Belle Orchestre, and The Luyas. In addition, she’s collaborated with Rebecca Foon on albums by Esmerine and Saltland.
In the late aughts, she started to write her own stuff, separate from the work with those numerous projects. She finally released her solo debut Hero Brother in 2013, then an EP called Black Ground last year. Her sophomore album The Ridge will be out in early 2016.
Earlier this year, Neufeld made an astounding album with Colin Stetson (which I featured here, and had a successful tour in support of it. It’s my understanding that she’s going to tour extensively in support of the new album, which is scheduled for release on February 26, 2016 via Paper Bag Records. I just got something in the mailbag about the forthcoming release, and it’s a no-brainer for me to feature it here.
Jeremy Gara from The Arcade Fire plays drums on the new album, and while it’s mostly instrumental, and mostly centered around the violin, Neufeld does sing a bit. From what I’ve heard, it’s more “vocalizing” than “singing”, but whatever it is she’s doing, it’s magical the way her voice plays off the violin.
I’ve only heard one song from the album, and it’s pretty great. This is that song.
“The Ridge” by Sarah Neufeld
I love how it gets crazily busy right smack in the middle of the song, right around 4:10. The drums get a little heavier, and there’s some other musicians in the mix there, but I don’t know any of those details. It’s like organized chaos and beauty together.
If this song is any indication, I’m going to absolutely love the album. From the looks of things, 2016 is going to get off to a roaring start. Especially with albums by Canadian artists. I can’t wait.