Arcade Fire and James Murphy work on the intricacies of “Afterlife” in the latest preview of the band’s upcoming documentary, The Reflektor Tapes, which chronicles the making of their last album, Reflektor, and subsequent world tour.
The short clip arrives via Arcade Fire Tube and blends studio and live footage, fittingly opening with a perfect combination of the two: The vocal-only tracks of the song’s call-and-response section playing while frontman Win Butler performs the same part live. In the actual studio footage, the band can be seen performing parts of “Afterlife” together (wearing Day of the Dead face paint at one point), as well as recording individual instrumental tracks.
Multi-instrumentalist Tim Kingsbury dutifully picks out the song’s lead guitar riff, while elsewhere, Richard Reed Perry has a few tries at the song’s quick rhythm guitar part. “Turned your brain on, didn’t ya?” Murphy jokes off-screen after Perry requests another take. Audiophiles will also appreciate a peak at Murphy’s methodical, meticulous attention to detail as he sits at the boards searching for the perfect frequency, “one below the midrange and above the bass.”
The Reflektor Tapes was directed by filmmaker Kahlil Joseph, who’s previously helmed notable music videos for artists like Shabazz Palaces, Flying Lotus, FKA Twigs and Kendrick Lamar. Per a description on the film’s website, the doc “re-contextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape.”
Joseph incorporates interviews and performance footage, following the band as they record in Jamaica and Montreal, play an impromptu show at a Haitian hotel during Carnival and tour behind the acclaimed LP. The film will also feature a new, previously unreleased track, along with 15 minutes of unseen footage exclusive to cinema audiences.
The Reflektor Tapes will make its world premiere on September 12th as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. A wide release scheduled for September 23rd.