They do take their time, but Bell Orchestre gets it done.
The sextet from Montreal is never in a hurry when they release music. Their new opus, As Seen Through Windows, dropped in March but had been evolving since 2006. It followed in the footsteps of its predecessor, Recording A Tape The Colour Of Light, which was ready in 2003 but was released in 2005.
Taking the time to get it right is the band’s ethos, says horn player Kaveh Nabatian, who adds that they had fairly exacting specifications of Windows’ sweeping esthetic vision; classically inspired ethereal compositions that rely on wall-of-sound blends of strings, woodwinds and brass to express the ever-changing disposition of the disc. “If you’re going to cook a chili, you have to let it simmer for a few hours,” says Nabatian.
Of course, you could also blame Arcade Fire as a day job for three of the band’s members (bassist Richard Reed Parry, fiddler Sarah Neufeld and French horn player Pietro Amato who joins them on tours), for much of the time that it takes to make a Bell Orchestre album. The popularity of the band delayed Bell Orchestre’s first release when the group toured its first album Funeral.
“It doesn’t allow us as much time as we would have if people weren’t in super-famous rock bands,” Nabatian says of Arcade Fire. “We do get access to interesting people and to a whole other fan base that we wouldn’t have otherwise, though the music has to stand on its own for the people to stay interested.”
Bell Orchestra plays
• Toronto – The Courthouse Friday night.