Apr. 26th, 2010

starlady: headphones on top of colorful buttons (music (makes the people))
Last night I went on what was originally an impulse to see Owen Pallett, formerly known as Final Fantasy, play the sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.

Short version: Holy shit Owen Pallett is AMAZING. He is still on tour, if you like avant-classical and/or avant-pop music, you owe it to yourself to go.

Long version: I first became aware of Final Fantasy as the guy who does the string arrangements for (and plays in, I think) The Arcade Fire--as a matter of fact, one of his most famous songs, "This is the Dream of Win & Regine" is about The Arcade Fire. The recorded versions of his songs are awesome, but they just can't compare to what he does live, which is real-time looping of himself on his violin layered on top of other loops, with him continually singing and playing at the center of the sound, kind of like listening inside an egg, if you take my meaning. Now, this would be awesome live in and of itself, because Pallett really is a good live player; he puts in energies and sounds that just aren't on the studio versions. But aside from being an awesome composer he is also a phenomenal, phenomenal violin player. What he does with col legno bowing in particular is jaw-dropping, but that's just one of the many arrows in his technical quiver (and his violin is clearly a beautiful instrument; it even sounds great when he's shouting into the soundbox). Pallett could have had the classical world at his feet, but instead he is playing geeky music about video games and failed love affairs and modern life in churches. Musically speaking he deserves to have the world at his feet; the musicianship involved in many of his songs, which have insanely complicated syncopated rhythms, is just incredible. I can play the violin decently, but damn I barely have the mental power to answer yes or no questions while I'm doing it, but Pallett lays down loops and coordinates them while playing difficult finger passages and singing. It really is incredible. At the end we gave him a standing ovation, or at least, those of us with classical music backgrounds did.

Concert-going peeves )