For nearly a year now, violin-sporting experimentalist Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy, has been dropping hints about his He Poos Clouds follow-up, Heartland, and its accompanying EPs. And while Heartland is still without any firm release schedule, there are finally some dates for the mini teaser albums, Spectrum, 14th Century and Play to Please.
On September 30, Spectrum will drop as a CD EP and ten-inch via Torontos Blocks Recording Club, and Play will be released on October 21, also as a CD EP (via Slender Means Society and States Rights) and on ten-inch (via Blocks). Each EP will come as limited-edition run of 1,000, and each will help tide fans over until the release of Heartland, which comes with an ambitious story arc set in an imaginary realm Pallett calls Spectrum.
"I thought a lot about Star Wars, and how, in the first trilogy, there is this incredible history that George Lucas created, and yet these things are only alluded to," Pallett told the Seattle newspaper the Stranger about the Heartland project. "They talk about Alderaan before it gets blown up, but they don't show what it looks like. Contrast that with the second trilogy, where they explained everything, how the Force works, all of it."
So with this in mind (whatever this is), Pallett is using the first of the EPs, Spectrum, 14th Century, to establish the mythology of Spectrum, ensuring Heartland "is cozy like The Hobbit rather than sprawling like The Lord of the Rings, as the Stranger so finely put it.
On record, this means Pallett is collaborating with his old pals in Beirut on "fake fields recordings, where "the entire corpus" of Beirut went outdoors in Quebec where "Zach led the group in some percussion stuff and I got the four brass players [Zach, Jon Natchez and the Pratts] to be choral for a bit," he told Stereogum. Lyrically, Spectrum is "about a religious boy who travels across the fictional country of Spectrum to do his gods bidding, Pallett told Toronto Life.
With second EP, Play to Please, Pallett is entering another world altogether. On it, he will be turning on his full big band mode as he pays homage to fellow Torontonian Alex Lukashevsky and reconfigures six Lukashevsky originals with a 35-piece band, the Toronto-based St. Kitts Orchestra (which includes Drumheller's Nick Fraser, Hidden Cameras Paul Mathew, and Andrew Bird, among others).
So to recap, Final Fantasy has one full-length on the way about a mythical realm called Spectrum, one EP laying the groundwork for that full-length, and one EP thats something else entirely. Got it? Hope so.