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Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry Plots Album With Members of the National

'Music for Heart and Breath' is very literally composed and performed

picture-22380-1373903912Dan Reilly // May 21, 2014

Sometime between recording Reflektor and touring all over the world, Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry found time to record a new solo album. Music for Heart and Breath is a neo-classical album that features Nico Muhly, Kronos Quartet, and the National’s Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner, among others, and the songs themselves were performed in a really unique way. 

“Here is what it is: Very soft, very quiet music, played utterly in synch with the heart rates and breathing rates of the musicians performing it,” Parry wrote. “Every note you hear is either in synch with the heartbeat of the person playing it [or] the breathing of the person (or one of the surrounding persons) playing it. So what you hear when this music plays is precisely in time with someone’s quiet, internal rhythms. Brought to musical life by a handful of different ensembles.”

The LP must have been in the works for a long time. As Consequence of Sound points out, Parry performed a portion of it at All Tomorrow’s Parties back in 2012 when the National curated the festival. You can see video of that below, while Music for Heart and Breath is due out June 9 from Deutsche Grammophon.