Final Fantasy

You can call me a philistine, but the term “experimental” scares me a little bit. Maybe y’all agree with me? More often than I am comfortable with “experimental” becomes some sort of catch-all term for… well, for lots of things that wouldn’t be nice to say here in this my first post of the new year. Alas, Canadian violinist Owen Pallet AKA Final Fantasy, who notably arranged the strings for Arcade Fire’s “Funeral” amongst other past musical endeavors, is unequivocally “experimenting” with his solo musical offerings and I can’t find a single unkind word for him, nor would I want to. These songs are non-linear, funny, offbeat, complex and unexpectedly beautiful. Pallet maintains all of the musicality of his classical training while successfully maintaining a lovely pop sensibility. Now don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely traces of some of the oft-loathed hallmarks of “the independent sensibility” (i.e. utilizing the word poo in the album title, naming oneself after something random like a video game, writing an album that is apparently “an eight-song cycle about the eight schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons,” etc.) but he’s smart. Really, really smart. So Pallet gets away with all his geeky wit and irony like a bandit. All things said, I’m really shy about dropping the L-word, folks, but let me say here, loud and proud: I love this. Don’t dig it? Then just listen one more time, for me, and then decide. Okay?

13 Replies to “Final Fantasy”

  1. You need to see this man play live. He is a genius. (He has already composed two operas.) The show had me in tears it was so beautiful.

  2. Echoing the comments about his live show…
    it really is spectacular.
    Stunning music accompanied with stunning visuals. A highlight is when he performs Mariah Carey's Sweet Fantasy. For real.

  3. Final Fantasy live is one of the most incredible experiences. An artist accompanied him in a church and projected her artwork like mini-movies, one to fit each eight schools of magic in Dungeons and Dragons.
    And he titled his musical project Final Fantasy because, when he was 13, he wrote the music for the game.

  4. I saw Owen play up here in Vancouver, the day after he won the inaugural Polaris Music Prize. Which is s a music award annually given to the best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label. It was an amazing show, he is an amazing man, and i say keep the vocals. This was my best show of 2006, followed closely by Joanna Newsom. Both are artists that are so much better live.

  5. What an amazing album. I have the Many Lives -> 49mp ep as well and it’s worth checking out. He also did some string arrangements for the Arcade Fire albums. Keep the vocals, very unique and it adds to the whole experience.

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