Owen Pallett: A Bloody Morning
The Polaris-winning art-rock auteur serves up a cinematic treat featuring lush strings.
By Kerry Doole
Owen Pallett - A Bloody Morning (Secret City): The Oscar-nominated and Polaris Music Prize-winning composer and songwriter released a surprise album, Island, a week ago, one already receiving rave reviews.
He follows that up with a video for a focus track, A Bloody Morning, and both the clip and the cut reaffirm what a huge talent the orchestral pop auteur is.
This is a genuinely cinematic 7 minutes long piece featuring lush strings and Pallett's clear and yearning vocals. Fans of Radiohead and Sigur Ros need to explore this.
A label press release notes that "conceived and directed during the pandemic, the video for A Bloody Morning was directed by Vincent René-Lortie and choreographer Brittney Canda. The dancers—ranging in age from 6 to 72—were filmed with no physical contact, entirely through windows and doorways, including a care facility on strict lockdown.
“Honestly, at first I wasn’t sold on the concept,” says Pallett. “I worried that the video would end up pornographing the quarantine, and I declined.” Convinced by the director’s enthusiasm, he moved forward. After seeing the near-final cut, Pallett says "I couldn’t believe how cathartic it was to see the video, how perfectly it fit the song, and how meaningful and necessary it was for me to see it when I did.”
Almost entirely acoustic, Island was recorded live at Abbey Road Studios with the London Contemporary Orchestra, a setting indicative of his international reputation.
Pallett's reputation as a musician was bolstered by his violin playing for groups including Arcade Fire and the Hidden Cameras, and as a solo fiddle and loop-pedal act, Final Fantasy. His second release as Final Fantasy, 2006’s He Poos Clouds, was awarded the inaugural Polaris Music Prize.
Pallett’s commissions have included string, brass and orchestral arrangements for Frank Ocean, Caribou, the Last Shadow Puppets, the National, The Mountain Goats, Christine and the Queens, R.E.M., Linkin Park, Sigur Rós, Taylor Swift, and the Pet Shop Boys. Since the release of In Conflict (2014), Pallett has earned an Oscar nomination for film scoring work on Spike Jonze’s Her, and an Emmy for Sølve Sundsbø’s Fourteen Actors Acting. A score for Matt Wolf’s documentary Spaceship Earth is out now.
Expect a vinyl release for Island later in 2020, with 2021 tour dates to follow.
Publicity: Kim Juneja, Take Aim