HE POOS CLOUDS
TOM69 | released: 19/05/2006 | LP
via Anost (Europe) via SCD (USA)
01 The Arctic Circle
02 He Poos Clouds
03 This Lamb Sells Condos
04 If I Were A Carp
06 I'm Afraid Of Japan
07 Song Song Song
08 Many Lives -> 49MP
09 Do You Love?
10 The Pooka Sings
When Owen Pallett began to work on the material for "He Poos Clouds" he decided to start with a list which should outline his approach.
1. A set of songs that attempt to modernize each of the eight D&D
schools of magic
2. Every song will be written for string quartet and voice
3. Nobody who listens to it will ever again entertain thoughts of suicide.
On his second album, "He Poos Clouds," Owen Pallet presents a clearly enhanced concept of his solo project. The core sound of his 2005 debut, "Final Fantasy Has A Good Home," was mainly based on Pallet's violin and his virtuoso handling of the loop pedal. He now proves his skills as an arranger, working with a large chamber music ensemble, featuring a string quartet, piano, harpsichord and percussion (among others). Still, Owen shows an impressive ingenuity for melodic lines and surprising turnarounds.
Regardless of the more extended scope for this album, "He Poos Clouds" was produced to maintain a certain intimacy. The overall atmosphere carries the ease of an afternoon dress rehearsal, as if the ensemble members played for themselves one last time before the crowd rushs in. Owen's mostly introverted vocals also express this mood of privacy.
The musical language of Owen Pallett is eclectic without letting its influences act as bare quotations for themselves. Traces were smeared with care and everything is consolidated and processed in such a peculiar way that we cannot designate the culprits any longer. He even integrates an amazing variety of stylistic spheres within the individual songs.
"The Arctic Circle" - A tango-like rhythm framework is transferred into a kind of West Coast-beatitude before going through a very dramatic sequence of modulations.
"This Lamb sells Condos" - The stylized ragtime parody of the piano intro meets seemingly innocent folk singing, piled up syncopated chords, and a reconciling boys' choir apotheosis.
"I'm afraid of Japan" - The internal unrest of the string arrangement establishes a tension towards the sweeping vocals, leading into a spooky ending: the voice and the piano gradually move into another more distant room, while an animated flageolet cluster a la Ligeti emerges in the foreground. This mood altering change of spatial properties in the middle of a song happens several times on "He Poos Clouds."