Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld have a long and successful history of collaboration. Outside their Arcade Fire affiliation (Stetson’s a frequent producer/player, Neufeld’s a former full-time member and current touring member), the duo have been part of an improv jazz trio dating back to 2010 and also toured the US and Canada together as soloists back in 2012. Now, they’ve joined forces to release a brand new collaborative album called Never were the way she was, due out April 28th via Constellation Records.
The bulk of the album’s eight compositions were written on the road throughout 2014. From there, the duo holed themselves up in a farmhouse attic in rural Vermont alongside producer Hans Bernard (Leif Vollebekk and THOMAS), recording without the aid of “overdubbing, looping, sampling, cutting, or pasting.” The album was later mixed in Montreal by Mark Lawson (also of Arcade Fire fame).
According to a press release, “Never were the way she was is guided by the metaphorical narrative of the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains; excited, exalted, and ultimately exiled in her search for a world that resembles her experience. The album’s expansive sonic trajectory and multiplicity of structures and voicings belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The result is a musical chronicle that powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon, a soundtrack that requires no images but profoundly compels the imaginative.”
To accompany today’s announcement, the duo has shared album opener “The sun roars into view”. Here, the pair demonstrates its inherent sonic chemistry: Just as Stetson’s bass saxophone serves as a distinct pillar for Neufeld’s darting violin, that more overwhelming, intrusive sound is given nuance by that gentle string instrument. Listen in below.
Pre-orders for the album are ongoing.
Never were the way she was Tracklist:
01. The sun roars into view
02. Won’t be a thing to become
03. In the vespers
04. And still they move
05. With the dark hug of time
06. The rest of us
07. Never were the way she was