Owen Pallett announces & releases new album, 'Island'; shares video for "A Bloody Morning"
Photo credit: Yuula Benivolski

Owen Pallett announces & releases new album, 'Island'; shares video for "A Bloody Morning"

Island, the latest album from Oscar-nominated composer and songwriter Owen Pallett, is out today, May 22, 2020 on Domino / Secret City Records (Canada).  The album is available everywhere digitally, with a vinyl release later in 2020, and tour dates in 2021 to follow. 

Listen to "Island" HERE

Owen has also shared a new video for “A Bloody Morning”, conceived and filmed during the pandemic. by director Vincent René-Lortie, and choreographed by 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, Owen moved forward. After seeing the near-final cut, “I was floored,” Owen 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 begins with 13 darkened chords, and was recorded live at Abbey Road Studios with the London Contemporary Orchestra. The introduction is sound of waking up—alone, and on the shore of a strange land. What follows is a shimmering and luscious orchestral album that draws across the full breadth of Pallett’s discography, from Heartland’s Technicolor to the glittering, fingerpicked guitar that marked Pallett’s first records with their trio, Les Mouches. 

Island is about being alive, asking why, and all the most hideous stuff of life. The songs don't divulge the answers.  "I don't know what's happening next, guys," Pallett warns.  

For the first time, Pallett—who has a lifetime of classical training—created an album without brooding over the way it might be performed on stage. This wasn’t easy:  Pallett’s initial reputation was founded on their live virtuosity, playing violin for groups including Arcade Fire and the Hidden Cameras, and a solo fiddle and loop-pedal act, under the name Final Fantasy. Pallett’s second release as Final Fantasy, 2006’s He Poos Clouds, was awarded the inaugural Polaris Music Prize. 

In addition to Pallett’s Grammy award-winning work with Arcade Fire, 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 their film scoring work on Spike Jonze’s Her, and an Emmy for Sølve Sundsbø’s Fourteen Actors Acting. Their score for Matt Wolf’s Spaceship Earth, a documentary about a crew who spent two years quarantined inside a replica of Earth’s ecosystem called BIOSPHERE 2, is out now.

"I grab the hem and lift the fabric over my sweet head," Owen Pallett sang once, years ago. "I know what you're looking for / and I'm never gonna give it to you."