Following the reissue of Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light in December, Erased Tapes are thrilled to announce the reissue of the band’s second album As Seen Through Windows. Expanding further on the foundation that Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light laid, the group refined and tightened their sound on this masterpiece.
Bell Orchestre is a collaborative instrumental group based in Montreal. Whose six members come from wildly divergent musical backgrounds, and the unlikely chemistry that results from their collaboration is the very thing that sustains their connection. It’s as if the group as a whole has tapped into a very particular, very distinct energy: like that of an approaching storm. In many ways, Bell Orchestre is the sum of not only its parts but the sum of its influences and inspirations.
Bell Orchestre has been known to retreat into the woods to make and write music: The specifics of time and place, the elemental forces at work outside, and those forces that exist inside all come into play within Bell Orchestre’s musical process. This particular music could be made by no one else at no other time in history.
Now looking back at the recording sessions, lap steel guitarist Michael Feuerstack remembers, —
"I don’t know how aware we were of the uniqueness of our bond and the resulting methods of music making, but they are very evident across this recording.”
The experience of listening to Bell Orchestre, whether live or recorded, is almost that of experiencing a form of synaesthesia: the result is a collage-like construction of not just sound but visual elements as well. From a herd of elephants to that approaching storm on the horizon, from a quiet forest in the country to ice forming on a city street, from watching vapour trails disappear in the sky to watching the changing light of dusk through a window. The result then is not so much cinematic as it is evocative: Bell Orchestre have not just written the music to the film – they have created an invisible film that only comes to life in the listening.
For this Album Bell Orchestre retreated to Banff Centre in the rocky mountains of Alberta to write the follow-up to their debut album. The title As Seen Through Windows is inspired by the rehearsal space where it was written. The room had two exterior walls entirely made of windows, and with the cinematic view of the mountains, they saw occasional herds of elks and deer passing by.
The album was produced by John McEntire (Stereolab, Jeff Parker), drummer and producer of the legendary Chicago post-rock band Tortoise. McEntire had been the group’s dream producer to work with.
"I think I was more starstruck around John McEntire than I’d been around anyone before,”
— says violinist Sarah Neufeld. McEntire was up for trying anything in the studio and inspired the band endlessly.
As Seen Through Windows will be available on Black Double Vinyl, Limited Edition Double Clear Vinyl, and digitally from April 28th, 2023.
Artwork by Bernd Kuchenbeiser