Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld Explores Every Movement Around “With Love and Blindness”

On the island of Corsica, Sarah Neufeld found all the visuals she needed to accompany Detritus, out May 14, while participating in a small residency with the artistic collective Providenza. By the summer of 2019, while on a small tour of Europe, the Arcade Fire violinist and composer, began working with director Jason Lewis, reworking several pieces from the dance collaboration that would shape her third solo album. 

Videos by American Songwriter

“In the middle of that tour, Jason and I traveled to Corsica for several days—graced once again with a suitcase containing Esteban Cortazar’s unique and beautiful creations,” recounts Neufeld. “Besides performing in Providenza’s outdoor amphitheater, we were immersed in nature, literally staying in a treehouse perched on the side of a mountain, overlooking the dramatic coastline. I found that the pulse of the landscape resonated with the essence of the music, especially ‘With Love and Blindness,’ a sense of rawness, of sensuality, of a strange gravity intensified by the hypnotic summer heat and the general otherworldliness of the place.”

On “With Love and Blindness” and throughout the other six songs of Detritus, Neufeld, who trained in various dance in her youth, explores the actual movement around each track. The idea for Detritus formulated in 2015 when Neufeld was invited on stage to perform to a piece dancer and choreographer Peggy Baker had prepared around her second solo album, 2016’s The Ridge. Dancing to the music of her album, Neufeld and Baker extended their collaboration around a fuller piece, which led to Detritus.

Shaping the reimagined album version from her work with Baker, Neufeld enlisted Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara to contribute more ambient electronics, synth, and drums—in addition to her Bell Orchestre bandmate Pietro Amato who added French Horns  with Stuart Bogie weaving a layers of flute—while wrapping her own vocalizations around each arrangement.

Sarah Neufeld (Photo: Jason Lewis)

On “With Love and Blindness,” Neufeld dances around all the intricate, instrumental emotions surrounded by the natural elements of the island. For Lewis, working with Neufeld has become more of an instinctive process following their collaborative work together.

“The video is an exploration of our time there [Corsica], surrounded by the rugged nature of this Mediterranean island that lends so well to the energy behind her music,” says Lewis. “Somewhere between documentation and fantasy, we captured Sarah in these environments, which later came together to visualize this powerful song from her new record.” 

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