Wondering what the hell all this business about 'Lewis' and 'Spectrum' is on Owen Pallett's new opus Heartland is? Yeah, well this track by track guide won't exactly tell you, but fascinating stuff nonetheless... plus you're likely to learn at least one new word!
Originally this song was called 'The End Of Time' and was supposed to be at the end of the record. But I found myself wanting to skip ahead to it, so I rewrote the lyrics and put it first.
'Keep the Dog Quiet' / 'Mount Alpentine'
I was listening to some bands who use digital distortion pedals and amp modelling and getting into the sound of Metal Zone. That's how this song began. With that wall of sound at the end. This song, I think I'm re-imagining myself as Huitzilopochtli, he's the god that needed the blood of Aztec virgins.
'Red Sun No. 5'
Called 'No. 5' because, like Chanel No. 5, it was the fifth version that made the cut. Earlier versions were good, but they cut a little too close to Sunday In The Park With George.
'Lewis Takes Action'
Initially that beat was meant to be a McGuffin, but who are we to deny ourselves the finest pop beat in the world? The bi-tonal woodwinds at the end are modelled after a ring modulator. 'No-Face' is the name of a cockatrice.
'The Great Elsewhere'
The move to multi-phonic looping made me make some weird compositional choices. i.e. songs like this one that build and build. I sang it into a tape echo and twiddled the knobs while I sang. As a kid I was really into Magellan and this song re-imagines that bit when he was killed by a Filipino chieftain. On the island of Mactan, the Filipinos have statues of both Magellan and the chieftain who killed him, they revere them both equally. Magellan for bringing them to Jesus Christ, and Lapu-Lapu for sticking up for Filipino sovereignty. There's a really good song by Yoyoy Villame about it.
'Oh Heartland, Up Yours!'
This song was the last one I sang, because I wasn't sure if I could get away with "concatenation". I sang the vocal take for this song in Nico Muhly's closet, surrounded by billions of dollars worth of nylon drapings and fabulous capes.
'Lewis Takes Off His Shirt'
It's a big sine wave LFO.
I love to hate to love those synth presets that play with stereo hard pan. I put half the orchestra on one side of the room and the other half on the other and then turned on some noise gates. So it sounded like a see-saw.
'E is for Estranged'
This song isn't supposed to be on the record at all - too personal -but it was Jeremy's favourite so I kicked off some of the others. The vocals were double-tracked but Rusty thinks double-tracking is passé so he slapped them in the centre.
'Tryst with Mephistopheles'
The name comes from a really old BASIC game that you had to program yourself, line by line. The song itself doesn't really have anything to do with the Devil, but I like the idea of an 'inventory'. There's a G G G G G G G G thing that just goes on and on. In this song, the narrator disembowels me and then pisses off the side of the mountain.
'What do You Think Will Happen Now?'
I might be giving too much away now but I think I'm drawing parallels between the panopticon in which Lewis exists and the place I've put myself as a homebody musician.