Owen Pallett, formerly known as “Final Fantasy” had this to say about his original name preference:
“Final Fantasy” is far more suitable than “Owen Pallett” because “Owen Pallett” is a Welsh-y name that suggests leeks, projects and ‘I’m the only gay in Aberfynn-Weldy.’ So Final Fantasy it is“
A pretty brusque comment you would not expect from someone whose got enough pazzaz to pass off as a prince on a high horse. Owen Pallett is first and foremost a master of musical choreography, a wizard at composing great white noise (for what is greater and whiter than classical music) and a formidable loop pedal extraordinaire. His music is the perfect marriage between classical ideals and modern sensations and he cuts a fine sterling figure, looking somewhat dashing and yah, i really need to resist talking about his fringe. Its phenomenal, by the way.
So, lets talk about the music. Heartland is the first album where he sheds his “Final Fantasy” moniker, symbolically coming out of his shell, or “taking off his shirt” if you will, and stepping into the spotlight as himself. It is also a concept album, about an “ultra violent farmer” called Lewis living in the land of Spectrum, who rages battle against his creator, Owen Pallett.
Herein lies the problem with concept albums, not very relatable i know.
Like the name suggests, the music is like a destination, a place which is a “narrative mess”. Many things are happening, but it is a beautiful place nonetheless, where the vistas are adored by light, the view is panoramic and everything else is dancing to the charming winds. And in this place, the great story begins with trepidation and confusion, Midnight Directives, an overture of the protagonists’ inner struggles. From there, the narrative trickles from a myriad of conflicting emotions and sadness to a narrow stream of determination and single mindedness, as Lewis bravely chants ” I’m never gonna give it to you” while he takes off his metaphorical shirt. Then in the brightly morbid Tryst with Mephistopheles, Lewis ultimately destroys his creator, and loses his identity in the process. While the feeling of loss permeates, you are simply awestruck by the impossible grace and power of the album.
Heartland is an illustrious effort, not only does Pallett successfully make the synthesizer sound like an estranged cousin to the classical orchestra but he also manages to empower the listener with the universal themes of love and courage. Like in the Great Elsewhere, where he weds a chaotic keyboard rhythm with frightfully paced drumming, and voila! The sound of 2 trembling hearts = great, undying love indeed.
By this time, we might have been softened enough to forgive him for his fraudulent fancies, as Lewis and Owen Pallett are all but the same person, and their battle invented for the sole purpose of competing for our adulation.
But it is also here that I find the album relatable despite all odds, for in each one of us there is a fictitious character waiting to come alive ; it is our dream to be overcome by our fictional selves, so we could have a taste of the tremendous courage and love they are capable of. And in that we share the same final fantasy with Owen Pallett.
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