by Eric Hill @surgeryradio
This week’s album pick is also the April Vinyl of the Month for our subscribers. Never Were the Way She Says is a collaboration between husband-and-wife team of Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld.
Colin Stetson has been disturbing the air for quite a few years now with the baritone sax work on his New History Warfare series for Aagoo and Constellation records. Violinist Sarah Neufeld is a member of Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre and also released her first solo album, called Hero Brother, in 2013 on Constellation.
This album carries itself like a muscular aristocrat, balancing Stetson’s engine room thump and squall with Neufeld’s soaring stringed arpeggios. Recorded, as is Stetson’s manner, live without overdubs, it is a wondrous affair to hear how orchestral two people in a room can sound. With circular breathing, contact mics, choral vocalizations, hand on brass percussion… not to mention the interplay of both instruments… haunting. Neufeld’s violin strangely seems to provide a brittle and nearly invisible bounding structure to… perhaps corral isn’t exactly the right word… Stetson’s surging textural cycles.
Balanced against nervous and galloping themes like “In the Vespers” are slower and contemplative moments as in “With the Dark Hug of Time,” that seems to creep out of its own shadow like a stalking feline. There is no shortage of wow moments over the album’s duration, that’s for sure.
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