Listen to Owen Pallett's Heartland Now on Exclaim.ca

Listen to Owen Pallett's <i>Heartland</i> Now on Exclaim.ca
After four years, one Polaris Music Prize, two EPs and nearly a name change to Skylord, Canada's best violin-toting, orchestrally inclined singer/composer Owen Pallett has finally releasing the long-awaited full-length follow-up to 2006's He Poos Clouds. The album, long-known to be titled Heartland, was officially self-released by For Great Justice Records on January 12 and will be streaming on Exclaim.ca all week.

You can listen to Heartland right now in its entirety here.

In contrast to Pallett's previous efforts as Final Fantasy, Heartland will be a fully orchestrated outing, meaning that his violin and voice will be supplemented by brass, woodwinds, synths and drum machines. According to Pallett, "Heartland was compositionally modelled upon the principles of electronic music. The principles of analogue synthesis informing symphonic writing, like an inversion of a Tomita record. These songs, too, were designed to be as dense with polyphony as the Final Fantasy live shows can become. While writing it, I kept an image in my head of putting so many notes on the page that the paper turned black."

The record began to come together in November 2008, when Pallett and Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara flew to Reykjavik, Iceland to write and practise at the Greenhouse, Valgeir Sigurõsson's studio (where, among others, Björk's Medulla and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's The Letting Go were recorded) with engineer Mio Thórrison at the boards.

The recording process started the following January in Prague, where Pallett was joined by the Czech Symphony. When he returned to North America in the summer of 2009, Pallett met with Rusty Santos (who produced Animal Collective's Sung Tongs and mixed Panda Bear's Person Pitch) to work in both Toronto and New York on the final details of the record. Other contributors to Heartland include Matt Smith (Nifty), Reg Vermue (Gentleman Reg) and Nico Muhly.

The finished album, Pallet explains, "is about the beginning, middle and end of a relationship. But it's sung from the point of view of the object of my affection. This record encapsulates a whole year of work for me, and was difficult to see through, but I'm immensely proud of the results. I hope you enjoy it."

In support of the record, several tour dates have been announced, which you can see here.

Heartland will be streaming on Exclaim.ca until January 25.