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How has the Canadian landscape, whether urban or rural, inspired or influenced your music?
Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts, Susan Aglukark and other Canadian musicians tell us about their perception of place
• Northern soliloquy
  - The music man
• Canadian musicians
• The marrow of music
• Science of sound
  - Psychoacoustics
• Indie nation
• Canadian sound inventions
• Nature’s orchestra
• Knowledge Toolbox
• Cartographer’s table
• Just the facts

Recording a Tape the Colour of Light
  • Based in Montréal.
  • Pietro Amato – french horn, Sarah Neufeld – violin, Kaveh Nabatian – trumpet, Richard Reed Parry – double bass, Stefan Schneider – drummer.
  • Came into existence doing music for art projects, such as contemporary dance, puppetry and theatre.
  • Their instrumental music has been described as post-rock and chamber-rock and is made up of strings, bells, horns, drums, samples, field recording and quiet noise.

I must admit I've given less thought in my lifetime to my natural undings affecting the music I make and more so to my surroundings affecting my emotions. I guess emotions informing creativity makes it a direct link.

I'm from Vancouver Island and, like most people from the West Coast, I've always been obsessed with nature. Canada has some pretty special and wild places. Insert hippie memory here: I used to improvise on violin in the woods by a river.

Out west the first thing on people's minds when asked anything about life, it seems, is their natural surroundings. People talk about it as much as they talk about their dogs. So, in true rebellious form, when I was 18 I moved to Montréal — the city with the most depressing array of highways and factories coming in from all sides. The only time you can see the horizon is from the lookout on Mount Royal, or from the old port, and then it's flat and brown and frozen most of the time. I think the harshness of the climate and the strict urbanity here drives people to be more active in their creativity.

Bell Orchestre makes music that tells stories without words, from the minds of five different people. Our music doesn't have a clear origin, more of a meeting place of different ideas that want to interact, to make something exist out of what we're all thinking and feeling.

Some of the music on our album was composed in a cottage in Vermont in the dead of winter. We had to ski our equipment in and play music around a bucket of coals. Some of that music is very fierce. Some is gentle and dream-like. When I hear any of the music that we made on the frozen lake I'm transported back there. Would we have made different music elsewhere? Probably.

— Sarah Neufeld  


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