They've worked with Arcade Fire and Brian Eno, arranged for Taylor Swift and Pet Shop Boys, and been Oscar-nominated for their score for Spike Jonze's film Her, but Canadian violinist, keyboardist, guitarist, and vocalist Owen Pallett is never more impressive than when performing their own work in its purest setting: an artist alone on stage conjuring a quirky kind of magic, creating and looping interweaving lines of violin, keyboard, and guitar with their vocals in real time.
'More than simply crossing the indie and contemporary-classical divide, Pallett kicks up the dust and asks you to find your own way through...Moody, majestic, cosmic.'
Pallett is a classically-trained violinist and composer (they've had work commissioned by the Barbican, Bang on a Can, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra), but they quickly established themselves on the indie music scene in the 2000s, initially under the name Final Fantasy. Their second album under this moniker, 2006's He Poos Clouds, praised for its inventive string quartet arrangements of quick-witted, personal songs, won the Polaris Music Prize. Pallett started releasing music under their own name in 2010 with the Heartland album. The acclaimed In Conflict, which featured Brian Eno on guitar and synth, followed in 2014, before Pallett returned in 2020 with Island, which saw them collaborate with the London Contemporary Orchestra to create a wholly immersive sonic landscape on an album some critics described as his best work yet. Pallett's music can be described as a dense and sometimes volatile chamber pop: his intricate songs, sophisticated yet playful, by turns beautiful, tense, and jarring, create vivid worlds for their composer's alter-ego characters to inhabit.
Pallett's live shows are dizzying affairs: feats of artistic and technical brilliance, for sure, but cut through with an emotional authenticity and directness that marks them out from many of their peers. Always looking to broaden the scope of their live work, Pallett built a special pedal board-based looping rig a couple of years ago. 'I hate playing with a laptop onstage, so I spent six months researching how to build what I wanted,' they explain. 'I think it could be the best thing the world has ever heard!' Come and hear for yourself at Dox+.
Owen Pallett – violin, keyboards, guitar, vocals
Estimated duration of the concert: 90 minutes