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Bell Orchestre: As Seen Through Windows



Bell Orchestre

Album: As Seen Through Windows
Label: Arts & Crafts

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Montreal’s Bell Orchestre is a six-piece instrumental unit that fleetingly resembles the other band featuring two of its members: The Arcade Fire. But what bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Richard Reed Parry and violinist Sarah Neufeld get up to on As Seen Through Windows is more along the lines of improvisatory chamber music, as on the opening number, “Stripes,” which evokes 20th-century classical with a raggedness more common to Arcade Fire. That’s not all the album sounds like, though: The blurry glow of “Water/Lights/Shifts,” if not for its all-acoustic instrumentation, could be an easy highlight of an ambient-techno compilation. (There’s even a cover of Aphex Twin’s “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball” here.) That provides a solid overall idea of what to expect: Bell Orchestre’s second album is an imaginary soundtrack with a gauzy overlay and a gentle fussiness that pervades everything. If this music has a color, it’s periwinkle. And that’s true even when things move with some force, as on the drone-to-a-stampede closer, “Air Lines/Land Lines.”