Owen Pallett

Collective Concerts & CMW Present

Owen Pallett

Doldrums

Sat, May 10, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm

The Danforth Music Hall

Toronto, ON

$20 - $22.50 - $30.00

This event is all ages

Owen Pallett - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
Owen Pallett
In Conflict is full of love songs – more specifically, songs about liminal states and our loved ones locked in battle with them.

"The record is meant to approach 'insanity' in a positive way," Owen says – emphasis on the ironizing scare quotes around singular notions of insanity. "Depression, addiction, gender trouble, and the creative state are presented as positive, loveable, empathetic ways of being. Not preferable, per se, but all as equal, valid positions that we experience, which make us human."

The songs are pretty but deeply unnerving – they cause discomfort in sensuous & seductive ways. While made with the rigor of a classicist, this isn't classical music or even indie-classical music. Pallett is not just "approved of" by Establishment Art Music people (though he is) – he is also beloved for his accessibility; for the way his art reflects & resonates with Mainstream Pop Culture; for the emotionally cathartic outlet his music provides.

In Conflict comes after several years of collaborative work – Owen recently composed music on commission for London's Barbican, The National Ballet of Canada, and Anonymous 4; contributed arrangements to twenty-five records including Pet Shop Boys, R.E.M., Robbie Williams, Taylor Swift, Linkin Park and The National; created music for the video games Portal 2 and Sword & Sworcery; and received an Emmy for his soundtrack to the New York Times Magazine-sponsored Fourteen Actors Acting project, as well as an Oscar-nomination for his work on Spike Jonze's Her. Beyond all that, Owen continues to be a touring member of Arcade Fire, on synths and viola, and has, of late, recorded a half-dozen soundtracks for art films and performance pieces by directors and ensembles not famous enough to mention here (though Owen himself would be as likely to speak of a Toronto metal band he just finished recording as he would his more high-profile collaborations).

The record is the product of a perfectionist. He made it once in Iceland, chucked it, and made it again in two live-to-tape sessions in Montreal. "Thirty demos were cut down to twenty and then fifteen for the track list. Eight of the songs have been performed live. The earliest of them debuted in 2011. Guest vocalists include several heavenly-bodied women, one best friend and one famous guy." (Brian Eno's the famous guy. He sings layered back-up vocals throughout the record, plays synth on "The Riverbed" and guitar on the title track.)

Owen's lyrics are not poetic in standard ways or personalized in a manner that one can discern individual people. Like the music, the lyrics embrace maniac motion and cool-headed reflection – the immortal haze of life before thirty seen in sharp relief against the hyper-awareness of age that comes after. At the risk of repeating a thought: this isn't classical music but it is very well-composed. It's hard to say if anything deserves the designation "timeless," but In Conflict is singular enough to seem out- of-time, a notion its maker clearly has in mind:

"At five and six / even as a child you felt / the terror of the infinite" — "Song for Five & Six"
Doldrums - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
Doldrums
Doldrums is a musical venture produced by Canadian artist Eric Woodhead.

As a part of a larger community reacting to overhype and plasticity of modern youth culture and it's ultimately alienating nature, his music deals with, or helps him deal with, the loss of the individual in an increasingly altruistic society. Doldrums music reflects this societal change on the personal level, as a member of the last generation to remember life pre-internet and 24-hour status updates. His androgynous voice comes across mid-panic attack, floating in a sea of chopped up samples, disembodied vocals and tribal percussion. Spearing between electro-hallucinogenic freak-outs and languid nostalgia his tracks somehow manage to elevate classic pop melodies above a sample saturated sound collage.

Doldrums gained notoriety in their native Toronto through performances at The House of Everlasting Superjoy, a prominent Toronto DIY showspace they co-ran with members of DDMMYYYY, as well as playing at flash parties in abandoned spaces. 2010 saw them release a number of 7"'s including a split with DDMMYYYY and a VHS video mixtape. Woodhead began Doldrums in 2010 by posting videos and designing websites by fictional bands online under a variety of different band pseudonyms, Doldrums being one of them, taking the name from a favorite children's book, Norton Juster 's 'The Phantom Tollbooth". The stunning barrage of text and images with the music shows a pointedly critical take of what a 'band' is, which fortunately comes across no less digestible than Gorillaz.

This year after hearing his interpretation of their song 'Chase the Tear', Portishead announced they would release his song as the b-side to their single. At the same time new tracks fell into the hands of cult London indie label No Pain In Pop and were quickly confirmed for release as 'Empire Sound', his debut EP.

Though now based out of Montreal, Doldrums sound and attitude screams Toronto, where artists like skrillax, crystal castles and fucked up are known for challenging existing ideologies about format and genre.

His music is mostly influenced by that of his friends such as DDMMYYYY and Grimes who he toured with last spring, the references he makes to pop culture have a placed artificiallity and unfamiliarity to them. Doldrums is emotionally vindicating sonic exploration, a fractured mirror image of what our post-internet culture has become.

Doldrums is full circle from the pinnacle of pop to the depths of the underground. A revolving door going too fast to get out.
Venue Information:
The Danforth Music Hall
147 Danforth Ave
Toronto, ON, M4K 1N2
http://thedanforth.com/