CD Review

Bell Orchestre's debut CD impressive

by Rachel Bott

I would like to take this moment to reveal something extraordinary that I am lucky enough to already enjoy. Richard Reed Parry, Sarah Neufeld, Stef Schneider, Pietro Amato and Kaveh Nabatian have created one of themost beautiful albums I have ever heard.

Together as Bell Orchestre, they have made their debut as a fascinating and powerful group, though on the entire CD therre is absolutely no singing whatsoever. The fact that the CD still makes meshiver with delight I happen to find beyond impressive.

Bell Orchestre consists of several members from the already-loved group Arcade Fire, along with other incredible musicians. The group's album, "Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light," features what sounds like their most passionate jazz sessions. It touches on many areas, accomplishing a sort of soulful dignity one minute and progressing to an exhilarating round of instrument-bashing the next.

The album sounds like a behind-the-scenes, before-the-show practice session that captures wonderful moments in musical talent of its members.

This band has an unusual effect on this genre of music, with their random sparks of volume and intensity and the strange instruments manipulated to their full potential.

Of especially strong mention, though it's nearly impossible to pick apart the album, is Neufeld's violin masterpieces scattered throughout the CD. Her erratic and unmirrored talent is spine-tingling to the extreme.

While this CD took two years to polish up and finish, the tone is the complete opposite of over-produced, regardless of what song you happen to be listening to. From the moment the horns make their entrance on track one, you are captured and mesmerized.

I close my eyes and it feels like I'm watching these musicians literally just jam together. No doubt, the actuall written music is difficult to play, but real passion comes through in the delivery, and not once do I get the feeling that it's over-practiced. Rather, the delivery sounds spontaneous and even improvised-after all, it's obvious a lot of strong, creative minds worked together on this project.

They sound like a band of friends who picked up instruments clear back in grade school, and never put them down. Instead, they keep experimenting and theykeep playing their hearts out,and that is what makes them timeless and unique.

Now I've come to unveiling the best part of the album. Even as I write this I know I can't explain in a way that will do it justice, you'll just have to hear it, but I want to tell it anyway. During the last few moments of the song Nuevo, all the musicians whistle together the melody of the song, and it's quite grand to hear. The background music ceases as they seamlessly join in whistling, and you cannot distinguish between their voices at all. It sounds somewhat strange, but I can assure you hearing it gives it a whole new meaning.

In fact, when I first learned of this band as they opened for the Arcade Fire gig last month, it was the whistling alone that left me speechless and goosebump-covered. I immediately knew I must have the CD, and the whistling was just as great live as it is on the album.

If you can envision yourself appreciating enthusiastic and ahead-of-its-time fantasticness in music, I strongly suggest investing in this album. If nothing else, you at least must heart the whistle solo...there's nothing else like it!

. Rachel Bott is a music enthusiast who works as a para-professional at Outlook Elementary School.


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