by carl wilson

Horsetail Feathers!
Final Fantasy meets Alex Lukashevsky
(and Nico Muhly and many others)


At the request of longtime Zoilus favourite Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett), I'm very happy to offer you this preview of the opening track from Owen's new EP, Final Fantasy Plays to Please, which is a set of covers of songs by Alex Lukashevsky, a fellow Torontonian singer-songwriter and also of course leader of Deep Dark United, played with as many as 35 other musicians, dubbed the St. Kitts Orchestra (an expansion, then, on the St. Kitts String Quartet, who played on the last FF album He Poos Clouds), featuring members of the Hidden Cameras, Drumheller, Andrew Bird and others. The results are a jangling candybox of sound spilling from Pallett to aural palette, presenting Alex's songs in more accessible surrounds than usual, and perhaps introducing him to a host of other musicians who might begin to draw on his rich catalogue. Here then is a taste: Horsetail Feathers.

(This is the first time Zoilus has hosted an MP3 file, and it required a lot of tricky tech I've never used before, so if there's any trouble downloading the file, please drop me a note. Update: I think the problems people had should be fixed now.)

The EP is one of a pair being released at tomorrow's show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (the CD gods willing), the other being Spectrum, which features the members of Beirut and is the first installment of Owen's long-threatened imaginary-world conceptual suite, which will continue on the upcoming album, Heartland. (Exclaim! explains in detail.) A song from Spectrum and another from P2P were posted on Stereogum this morning.

Owen's show tomorrow is together with NYC compositional prodigy Nico Muhly, who in his mid-20s has collaborated with the likes of Bjork and Philip Glass and Bonnie Prince Billy but more importantly, as documented in this well-circulated New Yorker profile by Rebecca Mead, has a sensibility all his own, a classical version of the mashup and YouTube mind, and also a fresh-feeling kind of amodernism - neither post- nor anti-modernist, he seems unusually capable of bypassing not only the old 20th-C debates but also the conventional bypasses of said 20th-C debates. His new album Mothertongue blends the babble of digital information overload with the brouhaha of history, via his love of 16th-century English church music. (He's also a ridiculously entertaining blogger. If he weren't so charming I might want to kill him.)

Besides some evident sonic sympathies (the violin music, the use of looping figures, the unabashed embrace of prettiness, the knife-edge-thin layer of camp), Muhly shares with Owen a concern for communication and affinity and collectivity: Just as Owen has been stalwart to his compatriots in the Blocks Recording Club of Toronto, Muhly has made common cause with labelmates in a project called Bedroom Community, an Iceland-based label (not so local-aurist, then) that gathers "like-minded, yet diverse individuals from different corners of the globe who all creatively orbit around an inconspicuous building and its inhabitants on the outskirts of Reykjavik Iceland- Greenhouse Studios where the music is mostly created." (Another Bedroom Communitarian is Sam Avidon, a frequent Muhly cohort [/boyfriend?] who also appears in Toronto on Wednesday.)

I'd been planning to say more about Muhly but as the technical challenges of this post (yes, I'm a digi-wimp) have taken up too much time, I'll reserve further thoughts till after tomorrow's show. Meanwhile as a warmup, here's a video of Muhly's "It Goes Without Saying," from his previous album:

General | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, August 26 at 6:26 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (14)



I didn't get a chance today (my blogging time was 'et up by the socan prize announcement) but will report back on Friday - certainly there's a lot to say.

Posted by zoilus on August 28, 2008 11:43 PM



carl, you planning to write post-concert about this? would love to read your experience of it.

Posted by raw on August 28, 2008 7:49 PM



I really hope this EP results in more exposure for Alex's amazing songs. Way to go Final Fantasy!

Posted by Michelangelo on August 28, 2008 4:27 PM



Hi VH! I'm not sure what to say, it's working in Explorer and in Firefox and in Safari on mac and pc as far as i can tell so far. But if you can't make it play, try right-clicking and downloading it - that should work. There are no barriers I know of now, though that might just mean I don't know of all the barriers that could be...

(In other words, scoot over, is there room for me in that cave?)

Posted by zoilus on August 28, 2008 2:40 PM



and i clicked that last comment twice by accident and now i feel like a cavedwelling fool. which i suppose might be a positive thing.

Posted by vh on August 28, 2008 1:12 PM



i hear nothing, and it makes me sad. any advice? the little doohickey is moving along as if it is playing something but alas, no music comes out.....

Posted by vh on August 28, 2008 12:59 PM



i hear nothing, and it makes me sad. any advice? the little doohickey is moving along as if it is playing something but alas, no music comes out.....

Posted by vh on August 28, 2008 12:59 PM



final fantasy making an alex lukashevsky cover album? that's unbelievably exciting! he read my mind, I swear.

Posted by charlotte on August 27, 2008 10:54 PM



Thanks for sharing this rather extraordinary song. I am very excited to hear the rest of the EP.

Posted by rgsc on August 27, 2008 12:01 PM



Try it again now, Jessica.

Posted by zoilus on August 27, 2008 11:50 AM




I right-clicked the download link and tried to save the file, but it still requires username and password. Please help.

Posted by Jessica on August 27, 2008 3:16 AM



Whoops, thanks, Sean. Amidon.

Ali - Right now you can only download, not click and listen. Something in the setup of the file hosting service I just signed onto to do this causes that. I'll figure it out but it might take a day, as I've got other stuff that needs tending. But right now, right-click and download...

Posted by zoilus on August 27, 2008 1:53 AM



it's Sam aMidon, and he's maaaaarvelous. (also, part of the famous Amidon folk clan.)

the muhly/ammidon/doveman show in Montreal tonight was fucking excellent. with final fantasy - the mind reels...

Posted by sean on August 26, 2008 11:50 PM



Hey Carl... the download link requires a username and password when clicked on.

Posted by ali berkok on August 26, 2008 9:55 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson