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Monday, August 24, 2009 

Baby you've got to be more discerning



I have yet to really get into of Owen Pallett's recorded work, but I think that's mostly because I saw him live first, and his live show is just so astounding. I'd buy a live album from him in a second, especially one that includes many of his amazing covers (I've got an MP3 of him doing Celine Dion's "The Power of Love" that is just incredible) and although the nature of his violin + loop pedals approach means that structually he's forced to be fairly single-minded in his approach, he always constructs such gorgeous edifices it's hard to mind. Maybe I just need to sit down with He Poos Clouds and give it some serious listening, but I feel like that sense of construction and achievement isn't as palpable when he's in the studio and he doesn't have to do it all himself in real time (although for all I know he does anyway). So basically Final Fantasy is that rare act I can genuinely say I love (and if you can listen to this Bloc Party cover and not get why that is, I'll be shocked) where I have as yet little to no desire to hear/buy the records.

I've seen him live twice and been very impressed both times but loved neither as much as I do He Poos Clouds (or "This is the Dream of Win and Regine" or "The Butcher")! Maybe it is just to do with hearing the first album before really knowing how it all worked.

Have you seen the video of him playing in a rainstorm recently? Particularly amazing stuff.

I haven't, but I'd bet that it's from Hillside, where we watched one song of his and then left because the thunderstorm was about to start up again.

And yeah, it might just be a whichever-you-encounter-first thing. Always hard to tell!

I've seen Owen live three or four times and he's always astounding. That said, I'd heard "Has a Good Home" earlier and fell hard for "This is the Dream..." Nothing else really clicked until I saw him live, mind you. Once I heard it in a live setting it all sort of...made sense.

"He Poos Clouds" on the other hand, was immediately ingratiating. Possibly because it was recorded with a string quartet (you can hear the interplay) and is a more accomplished record. Plus, "The Butcher" and the single he recorded w/ Beirut (Hey Dad/What Do You Think Will Happen Next?) which are even more complex. His Alex Lukachevsky covers EP (Plays to Please) is pretty good too. Strength to strength.

But...even with all that said, his live covers of "This Modern Love" and Mimi's "Fantasy" are my favourite Final Fantasy moments.

Alex, have you heard his cover of "The Power of Love"? If not, drop me your email, you really need to.

I definitely want to hear He Poos Clouds again, but honestly the string quartet part is what makes me feel dubious about it (and why I want a Final Fantasy live album). I love the way he works solo, and while I'm sure he's a great arranger I'm not sure it'll be the same.

Yep, that's pretty good! A friend gave me a copy of He Poos Clouds recently and I'm just getting into it. His voice is very Sufjan Stevens, don't you think?

I can hear that, though it's not a connection I'd made previously. I'm not a huge Sufjan fan, to be honest.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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