Monday, March 20, 2006
decorate, round the base, all the graves of our lost loves

One Song: Perfect Songs for an Imperfect World


download: Final Fantasy: The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead

I like to share a lot of music. I'm constantly either sending songs to, or shoving headphones in the hands of friends with the exclaimation, "you've got to hear this!" And, I didn't realize just how great this song was until I started sharing it with a lot of people. You see, I'm a huge sucker for violins, so initially, I chalked up some of my affection for the centre piece of Owen Pallet's glorious debut LP to that unquivocal love of the instrument. I'm sure a lot of the .mp3s I've inflicted on friends go unlistened, and I'm certain a lot of the mixCD tracks get skipped, but this song almost always illicits a positive reaction... "thanks for the CD, that 'CN Tower' song is amazing." It's even more amazing, because it's so very, well, weird. There are, of course, pop sensibilities buried in the track's three and a half odd minutes, but Owen's love of Xiu Xiu and Destroyer is evident in both the off-kilter delivery and story telling. That being said, you're never going to sell everyone on "Crank Heart," but for some reason "The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead" seems to click in the minds of the majority who are lucky enough to hear it.

Andrew Bird may still be independent music's most celebrated track looping fiddler, but he also, for better or worse, fills out his sound with guitar, xylophone, his awe inspiring whistling, and Nora O'Connor's very sweet croon. Conversely, while Pallett will sometimes be joined on stage by a drummer or string quartet, on record, he truly stretches a single instrument to its limits. "Bass" lines, descending pizzacato melodies, layer upon layer of bowed lines, and even an uncanny mimicry of a drum machine are all coaxed out of a violin throughout "Has A Good Home." And, while not all of the elements that pop up on the album are present on "The CN Tower...," it may be the best example of how each part builds to make the final, glorious, whole.

The song begins with a sonar-ping like set of stacatto notes that are soon joined by a deeper bowed figure that creeps underneath. Then comes Owen's voice, dried out almost to the point where it sounds like he's being recorded through a radio or telephone, mingling with further flourishes of violin. The whole thing builds remarkably fast, but it isn't until the two-minute mark that the song really hits its stride. It's then when a descending violin streaks in, then another, then another; a torrent of strings all threatening to collapse on eachother. And, just when you think the swirl of notes just might fall apart, it all ends just as it began, settling back down to earth with a lone violin.

now playing: Final Fantasy - The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead

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8 Comments:

Brilliant! Thanks, I never woulda heard of them.

By Blogger Queen of Sheba, at 9:26 AM  

no relation to anything here, but Feist is playing the vancouver folk fest again this year July 15th.

By Anonymous Jason, at 12:32 PM  

heheh i love this Final Fantasy song too.

By Blogger fenny, at 5:16 PM  

I was just wondering if, like myself, you have friends that aren't as passionate about music as we are? God knows I've tried.

By Anonymous Mike, at 7:28 PM  

definitely... in fact, i have very few "music friends"... which can suck when it comes to finding people to go to really obscure shows sometimes.

By Blogger Quinn, at 11:47 PM  

oh.. and jason, thanks for the headsup on Feist.

By Blogger Quinn, at 11:48 PM  

strokes, may 17th at plaza of nations...they still do shows there?

By Anonymous Shea, at 8:30 AM  

damn shea... you storm into town for one day, and you already scoop me on a show announcement.

By Blogger Quinn, at 10:18 AM  

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mp3s are for preview purposes, if you like what you hear, buy it at your favourite indie record store. please don't direct link to photos. click for more.

writing by Quinn
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