MusicNOW (Day 2)

May 14 • Memorial Hall

May 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Though less thematic than Friday’s MusicNOW roster, Saturday’s lineup features an equally fascinating collection of artists covering even more musical ground.

Owen Pallett is a Canadian musician better known as — yet another “one-person-band”! — Final Fantasy, the name he used for his first three solo albums. The classically-trained violinist’s music earned him a solid following, particularly in his homeland, and has drawn comparisons to Andrew Bird, Scott Walker and The Divine Comedy. He’s a first-call violinist for hip Indie bands, having worked on recordings by Fucked Up, Beirut and The Arcade Fire (Pallett arranged strings on a few of the Grammy darlings’ full-lengths), among many others. Pallett — who uses looping devices to get his big sound in a live setting — released his first album of imaginative Indie Chamber Pop under his real name with 2010’s existential Heartland LP for the respected Domino Records imprint.

Tim Hecker brings some electronic flavor to MusicNOW. But Hecker (also a Canadian) shares a similar spirit of adventure with the festival’s other artists. He is a collaborating fiend, having worked with dance troupes and other artists from various disciplines, created sonic art installations and produced and/or remixed both Electronica acts and less expected artists (like the heavy Progressive Metal crew Isis).

In his own work, Hecker has been lauded for the way he uses noise and dissonance to reflect tension and other emotion. His use of electronics as a compositional tool and mood changer on his abstract recordings add new wrinkles to the concept of Ambient music.

Rounding out Saturday’s lineup is Little Scream, yet another solo-act-with-a-band-name and part of the Canadian Indie music overthrow at MusicNOW this year. Laurel Sprengelmeyer (from Montreal by way of Iowa) is also an eager collaborator — her debut LP, The Golden Record, is almost as star-studded as a Canadian “We Are the World” session. Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry produced it and assembled backing help from his own band as well as groups like Stars, Silver Mt. Zion and The National (the band’s Aaron Dessner played guitar on her first single from the release).

Little Scream’s debut showcased her artsy blend of Folk, Rock and Pop and was lauded for the “old soul” sensibilities of Sprengelmeyer, causing the album to emit a wisdom and timelessness not usually anticipated from a “newcomer.”

MusicNOW featuring performances by Owen Pallett, Tim Hecker and Little Scream. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.