Michael James Owen Pallett (born September 7, 1979) is a Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist from Toronto, Ontario. He won the 2006 Polaris Music Prize for the album He Poos Clouds.
Pallett is best known as a solo artist, formerly under the name "Final Fantasy". Leon Taheny is also credited as drummer and engineer. More recently, Pallett has toured with guitarist/percussionist Thomas Gill.
Pallett has been noted for his live performances, wherein he plays the violin into a loop pedal, a technique also used by musicians such as Andrew Bird, Jeremy Larson, Emily Wells and Zoë Keating. Pallett uses Max/MSP to do multi-phonic looping, which sends his violin signal to amplifiers across the stage.
* 1 Life and career
o 1.1 Final Fantasy
o 1.2 Other contributions
* 2 Discography
o 2.1 With Les Mouches
o 2.2 Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy)
+ 2.2.1 Studio albums
+ 2.2.2 EPs and singles
+ 2.2.3 Various songs
o 2.3 Other contributions
* 3 References
* 4 External links
Life and career
Pallett's father is an avid church organist who provided a background in solely classical music until early preteens. From toddler age, he studied classical violin and composed his first piece at age 13. A notable composition includes some of the music for the game Traffic Department 2192, to scoring films, to composing two operas while in university. Apart from the indie music scene, he has had commissions from Bang on a Can, the Vancouver CBC Orchestra, and Fine Young Classicals.
He believes his work is implicitly influenced by his sexuality, saying, "As far as whether the music I make is gay or queer, yeah, it comes from the fact that I'm gay, but that doesn't mean I'm making music about it."
Pallett received an Honours Bachelor of Music for Composition from the University of Toronto in 2002.
Patrick Borjal, Pallett's boyfriend, began working as his manager in 2006, and formed the management company Boyfriend Management.
The name Final Fantasy, under which Pallett recorded prior to the release of Heartland, was a tribute to the well-known video game series, of which Pallett is a fan.
Final Fantasy performing in 2005.
Pallett's debut album, Has a Good Home, was released on February 12, 2005, by the Blocks Recording Club, a cooperative, Toronto-based record label of which he is a founding member. "Adventure.exe" from this album was used in a series of 2006 commercials by Orange in the United Kingdom. Pallett did not intend to sell the song for this purpose, but its use was authorized due to an alleged miscommunication with his record label, Tomlab. All of Pallett's income from this use is donated to Doctors Without Borders.
Pallett's second album, He Poos Clouds, was released in June 2006, though the video, directed by Jesse Ewles, was released on March 1, 2006. The album consists entirely of string quartet arrangements. Eight of the ten songs are about each of the schools of magic as described in the rules to the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The album was named winner of the 2006 Polaris Music Prize. Uncomfortable with receiving a prize sponsored by a mobile phone conglomerate, Pallett gave the money away to bands he liked who needed financial assistance.
On November 11, 2006, Pallett posted to a fan forum to announce a new album, tentatively titled Heartland. Subsequently on July 9, 2007 on the CBC Radio One program Q, Pallett said that the album would be released no earlier than mid 2008. In the same interview he confirmed that it would be titled Heartland, and that it was an album about nothingness.
In 2007, the song "This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine" was used in a commercial for Wiener Stadtwerke without Pallett's permission. Instead of litigation, Pallett and his booking agent Susanne Herrndorf approached the company for sponsorship for a music festival of their curation. The resultant Maximum Black Festival featured Final Fantasy, The Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, Frog Eyes, Max Tundra, Six Organs Of Admittance and others. It played Vienna, Berlin and London. In September 2007 they did a Take-Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon.
In October 2007 Final Fantasy released a vinyl 7" on Tomlab's Alphabet Single series ( The Letter "X" ). The two tracks on "X", recorded in Montreal with Zach Condon, of the band Beirut; predate the album He Poos Clouds. The tracks – "Hey Dad" and "What Do You Think Will Happen Next?" are both played regularly at live shows. The song "Hey Dad" contains a melody borrowed from the Nintendo video game "Super Mario Bros. 3"; specifically it is the music from the "Coin Heaven" bonus/hidden stages. Also, the song is quite similar in melody, lyrics and tone to another of Pallett's songs – "→".
In March 2008, Owen Pallett under the alias Final Fantasy, collaborated with Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste on a cover of Björk's "Possibly Maybe" as part of Stereogum's tribute to Björk's album,