Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Introducing... Erin Chapman! + Owen Pallett

Introducing... Erin Chapman! Joining Team Tome, Erin comes to us straight outta Seattle, WA (although she will always think of herself as displaced Texan), Erin adds a feminine mystique, theater background, and some pretty cool projects in her wake. If you think this review is dope (we do), check out www.seriousandgifted.com and greater than or equal to blog. Welcome Erin!

Heartland (01.2010, Domino Records)

For: Andrew Bird, Xiu Xiu, Boy In Static

Byline: By dropping the Final Fantasy moniker Mr. Pallett produces his most accomplished and stirring album to date.

Simply put: Owen Pallett’s newest installment, “Heartland,” enraptured my soul and my imagination. Sounds cheesy and too good to be true, right? But seriously, throw on some headphones and listen to this album with your eyes closed, and before you know it, you will be creating a love-torn opera, with the all the smoke and lights to go with it.

This may have been a result from being on a kick of watching too many musicals as of late, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Pallett’s training in classical music and music theory are abundantly apparent. Every instrument, note, verse seem to serve a particular purpose in telling a story.

With two operas under his belt, it comes as no surprise that there seems to be an underlying storyline both lyrically and musically to “Heartland,” with each song leading directly into the next. The listener is immediately gripped to the intoxicating build of excitement of instruments in “Midnight Directives.” I am sucker for songs that provide a slow build of momentum, so it is no surprise that a favorite of mine is “Red Sun No. 5.” Not mention, I love the faintly heard flute on the track. If you are to press pause for an “intermission,” it would be after “The Great Elsewhere.” A beautifully composed track, where Pallett’s string arrangement causes a momentous build to the song, which after it climaxes he brings the song to a close, and in my imagination I can see lights slowly dimming on the stage.

The curtain arises again, with slowly creeping, but welcoming “Oh Heartland, Up Yours!” The climax being “Flare Gun,” with what seems to be a battle cry, allows the rest of the album to resolve itself. It begins to slow down and taper off, ending with “What Do You Think Will Happen Now?” Pallett’s voice sounds nothing short of a trained musical artist, soothing the dizziness caused by the looped and cryptic piano. The piano causes your heart to match the speed of the beat, which can feel the urgency of the song, but ends with resoluteness and all is resolved.

With meticulous attention to detail, Pallett produced an album that will tickle not only the ears but the imagination. He awakes the listener at times with awkward mixtures of strings and percussion, such as in “Tryst With Mephistopheles.” At times it seems as though the two parts are playing different songs, but Pallett provides a solid, strong ending to his album, and leaves the listener contemplative and yearning to listen to the entire album again and again.

Erin Leigh Chapman

No comments:

Post a Comment