Virtuoso violinist Owen Pallett isn’t the type to aim for the predictable. On his fourth solo outing (second under his own name after dropping the litigious moniker “Final Fantasy”) In Conflict, he’s finally crafted an autobiographical album, after years of high-concept Dungeons & Dragons-themed records. It’s equally daring and striking, and while there’s always been an emotional drive to his work, having context behind the narrative just makes it all the more impactful. Matters of love, the move from Toronto to Montreal, recreational drug use – all of it is laid out rather candidly. The instrumentation too follows the theme of conflict, the organic baroque elements squaring off against a tapestry of synths, masterfully added by Brian Eno. Expect the accolades and award nominations to come gushing in, and deservedly so. It’s unlikely you’ll find anything this stunning and effortlessly whimsical on the shelves this year. In Conflict is a must-listen.
After a European summer tour, Canadian dates will include September 4 at the Imperial Theatre in Vancouver, September 26 at the Centennial Theatre in Sherbrooke QC, and September 27 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. His set at the Danforth Music Hall during CMW was simply jaw dropping. Attend if you can.