Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Final Fantasy provides directions to Heartland
Ryan PflugerAfter much teasing and delay, details have finally come forth about Final Fantasy’s long-awaited third album and follow-up to 2006’s He Poos Clouds. Though the title – Heartland – has been known since at least late 2006 (that’s the first time I mentioned it at least), the actual record has been much longer in coming. And the delays are understandable – in the interim, Owen Pallett has become the go-to string arranger in certain circles, working on records from Beirut, Pet Shop Boys and Mountain Goats to name a very few as well as putting out two EPs of his own last year.
But the new album is finally done and will arrive on January 12 complete with a typically high-minded and utterly bizarre concept behind it. Pallett’s full explanation can be found in the press release, but key phrases that should give you some idea of what to expect are “a farmer named Lewis and the fictional world of Spectrum”, “compositionally modeled upon the principles of electronic music” and, “inversion of a Tomita record”. What any of that means is unclear to me, but at least one can be reasonably assured that whatever it is, it will come wrapped in strange and delicious orch-pop wrappers. Unless, of course, it doesn’t.
Pitchfork has a look at the album art for Heartland and as we await a first sample of Heartland‘s aural delights, enjoy a couple of tracks from last year’s EPs.
And if you want to talk strange synchronicity, consider Final Fantasy and Woodpigeon. Woodpigeon will also release their next album Die Stadt Muzikanten on January 12, both records will be orchestra-enhanced (Die Stadt also featuring a 30-piece choir), both just performed at the Rifflandia festival in Victoria, BC and while Pallett fell ill with what was originally feared to be swine flu (but wasn’t), Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton actually has come down with what appears to be the dreaded H1N1 virus. He’s been treated and is hopefully on the road to recovery, though it’s unclear if he’ll be well enough to make it to Pop Montreal this weekend. Fingers crossed. Either way he should be recovered enough by mid-month when Woodpigeon is set to participate in this Fall’s Banff Centre residency, where they’ll work on honing their craft with the likes of Steve Albini. Woodpigeon and Steve Albini – there’s a combination I’d like to hear. Update: And to be clear, the exact phrasing above was “appears to be” – tests are still not conclusive as to what grounded the ‘Pigeon and called for Jane Vain to cover for their Pop Montreal showcase, but the important thing is that Hamilton is on the mend and will be back in the (broad) general vicinity for a show at Cafe Deckuf in Ottawa on October 16 presented by I Heart Music. And he will not be contagious.
Also moving into the Banff Centre for that fortnight is Basia Bulat, also with a much-anticipated new record out in January. Heart Of My Own is out on the 26th of the month, and JAM has a chat with Bulat about the new record. Also check out a video of Basia performing “Gold Rush” in a DUMBO session.
As I’m following little threads and segues, It occurs to me that in addition to seeing the release of a follow-up to the inaugural Polaris Prize-winning record (He Poos Clouds, if you weren’t paying attention), both Woodpigeon and Basia’s last records were the top picks on my Polaris ballots this year as well Ohbijou’s new one Beacons, and its predecessor Swift Feet For Troubling Times topped my 2007 Polaris ballot… AND the new record was much-informed by their session at the Banff Centre last year. I daresay this post is at risk from collapsing in on itself in a quantum singularity of circular references, so I’ll finish this thread by saying that as much as I’d like to say that next year’s ballot will be full of fresh faces and new discoveries, all of the new Ohbijou, Woodpigeon and Basia records make strong arguments for repeat appearances. Wait, does that mean I’ve heard those last two records? Oh, uh, hey – look over there!
The National Post talks to Cuff The Duke’s Wayne Petti about the heaviness that informs their new record Way Down Here. There’s also features at The Georgia Straight, FFWD and Edmonton Journal. They play two nights at the Horseshoe on October 16 and 17.
In addition to their October 31 show at the Horseshoe, Noah & The Whale will be doing an in-store at Criminal Records earlier that night, precise time to be announced. Perfect for everyone with Hallowe’en plans as well as those who need a double-dose of weepy break-up tunes. And the band will probably have replaced if not recovered all the gear that was stolen the other night – tough break, that. Some seriously nice equipment in that trailer.
Never ones to be slaves to convention, Wheat have decided that rather than release another video from White Ink Black Ink, they’re releasing a video game. It’s Windows-only, unfortunately, so I can’t tell you if it’s any good or if up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-start gets you any free lives, but if you’re on a PC and take it for a spin, let me know how it is. I’m curious.
Video: Volcano Choir – “Island, IS”