The music produced by the Arcade Fire-ettes Richard Parry and Sarah Neufield in the guise of their original and intriguing conglomeration of echoing, windy and comforting music; Bell Orchestre produce instrumental, horn fuelled offerings for you to sail away to. Their personalities work concurrently with their music, as I discovered in a Liverpudlian house of food and candles. One minute Richard was chipping away at my walls of ignorance regarding the raison detre for their Montereaux’s quintet; Bell Orchestre;

“I find it musically therapeutic; it is different (From Arcade Fire) the way we work together.”

Then I found myself caught up in the earnest musos enthusiasm for what he does so early in the interview, I found my self saying to the waiter; “I’ll have the same as him”; not realising that he had ordered a salt latte.

The effervescent Sarah exclaimed;

“We often practice whilst sitting making tea.”

On that note an appealing looking frothy latte was placed in front of me. However, the taste made my tongue dry up like the song writing skills of Oasis and I felt my heart sinking down under the weight of sodium chloride. Like a true pro, I kept a stiff upper lip and somehow spluttered out my request for them to expand on their practice practises, as Richard took on the role of saviour;

“We often used to rehearse in my old loft and in a tunnel at the bottom of my road, where sounds would reverberate around. We don’t have to be amplified, so we can practice outside.”

Sarah interjected with an adventurous glint her eyes:

“We used to practice in a heavy metal space. There would be these thrashing guitars drowning out our horns.”

Their atmospheric, instrumental album ‘Recording A Tape The Colour Of Light’, features the throbbing horn fuelled instrumental mind massager of ‘Upwards March’ that in my opinion, has a The Silent Orchestra and Aphex Twin feel to it. This number is booming with imagery and contentment, how big apart does imagery actually play in this number? A crafty chortle was emitted by both of the interviewees with the mention of Aphex Twin. A sense of irony was exuded by Richard, as he took on his reply;

“That number is the exception to the rule on the album really; there were no mental images in mind while we were making it. The imagery, kind of came in later, as an afterthought.’

In order to restore some integrity into my initial question, I requested clarification of these images;

“Erm, Guardian Angels, mainly, I think. Something like that anyway the idea us someone watching over us and guiding us.”

Sarah quickly substantiated this notion, but added a broad caveat;

“It is ethereal the imagery, but people can picture different images to the song, which is good.”

‘Upwards March’ after several listens is like a blank slate and is definitely one to listen to with an open mind. It is unbelievable the pressures put on bands in the spotlight these days and the media are feasting on the Arcade Fire like pigs at a trough at the moment. How do they manage to find time to produce soothing and caressing music with the Bell Orchestre? Are they more of a unit, as they don’t seem to have a distinguishable front person?

“We are quite flexible, some people feel strongly about one thing then they take over for that moment, but once we start going we can go in any direction. We have played some gigs supporting Arcade Fire that has helped us strike a good balance between the two outfits.”

So, there is a lot of compromise, eh? I continued boldly; doesn’t that mean you get something nobody wants? Richard shrugged then Sarah stepped in with the confidence and belief of Sammy Sosa to field this one;

“Or, you get something nobody could have thought of?”

Oh yeah, that is a pertinent point isn’t it? The combination of the salt latte and the exposure of my negative outlook meant that my heart was well and truly in my socks at this point. I saw a thoughtful and pensive look appear Sarah and Richard’s faces, so it was time to turn matters seriously political. Were they alarmed by the recent court case in America involving Sony, whereby a label was legally castigated for paying and offering inducements to DJs to give their artists more prominent airplay? Is the music industry up for sale?

A reflective mood came over like a them stark change in the weather preceding the main man’s reply;

“It has been for a very long time.”

A crafty grin appeared on his friendly face, before drawing the following analogy;

“I was reading an article about Cervante’s; ‘Don Quixote’ the other day about how that was a parody about on the theatre industry is money driven. This was written hundreds of years ago. The music industry is much the same. It is not a new phenomenon. I think it is good for bands like Bell Orchestre the way that music works out, especially the internet. People get bored of what is out there and look around for new stuff.”

Having been hit for six on a few questions the Shane Warne spirit possessed me and I stumped the receivers when I asked them to answer on the other person's behalf what song, book, poem, film or T.V. show summed them up the best. Sarah strained and looked to be giving an answer but simply said;

“Oooohhh, I need more time”.

The answer never materialised, but then maybe they are saving it for a song? Bell Orchestre’s music is the smoke from the Arcade Fire and it will continue to seep into the air surrounding open minded music lovers out there and fill their heads with peace and tranquillity.


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