Best Of 2012, Guest Editors: Christopher O’Riley On Arcade Fire’s (Arrangement O’Riley) “Empty Room”

As 2012 comes to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

Perhaps best known for the NPR series From The Top, musician Christopher O’Riley is far more in-tune with music than most of the world. Not only does he host and mentor young musicians, O’Riley also transcribes and arranges songs by Radiohead, Arcade Fire and more for the piano and, more recently, the cello. O’Riley has just released a new album with cellist Matt Haimovitz, Shuffle.Play.Listen. (Oxingale), a tribute to contemporary composers and some of the most modern musicians. Owing to his virtuosic abilities and interesting outlook, we invited O’Riley to guest edit this week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

O’Riley: Cellist Matt Haimovitz’s peripatetically touring in all sorts of genres and combinations, centered by his position on the cello faculty at Montreal’s McGill University. We were privileged to record our double-album CD set, Shuffle.Play.Listen, at McGill’s wonderful studio/experimental sound laboratory, the MMR Studio, for five days last June. In light of Montreal being the home as well for the band Arcade Fire, it was a natural choice to include, as we did, two tracks by the band on the non-classical of the two CDs. There were two mini-HD cameras archiving most of the five days’ sessions, so we ended up with a lot of footage for live performance video. (Good evidence of there being no overdubbing, as one might suspect, given the complexity and sheer speed of this arrangement.) Matt actually took on even more virtuosic responsibility, as he became envious of my constant 16th notes. It’s justifiably one of the more popular tracks on a recording of which I’m most proud.

Video after the jump.