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Baker's Dozen

The Passions: Owen Pallett's Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , May 29th, 2014 09:25

Owen Pallett's new album helpfully gives us the title for our latest Baker's Dozen, as he talks Luke Turner through selections including Tori Amos, Throbbing Gristle, Jean Luc Ponty, Dean Blunt, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Total Freedom and Diamanda Galas


Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
In the process of making this record I was going back and doing a lot of examination of autobiography to try and get my head wrapped around some stuff. Part of that involved this feeling of going back to my teenage years and the music I was into then, and a lot of that was female singer-songwriters, like PJ Harvey and Tori Amos and Lisa Germano. Tori is so big and important to me, and now I realise that there's this incredible influence that she had, and I didn't even recognise it - just in the way that she approaches self-indictment in her songs, she's never ever blameless or guilt-free, she's always including herself as part of her castigations. I remember exactly when I first heard her. I was staying at a friend of my brother's. He would have been 20 years old and I would have been 15. My friend and his brother were doing something and they had this giant Bösendorfer piano with an extended octave. At the time my brother was working for Microsoft, so you can imagine what he and his friends got up to. "Oh my god, I have $200,000, I'm totally going to buy this Bösendorfer piano with an extended octave." So in the piano bench was Under The Pink and I opened it up and started playing 'Pretty Good Year', and when you get to that moment where it shifts keys and goes crazy it blew my mind. "What is this music?"

I went out and got Little Earthquakes first, then I got Under The Pink and Boys For Pele. Those records were pretty teenage for me. I kind of got off the boat on To Venus And Back and every time I've gone back and listened to her there's been the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia; I've been trying to avoid any feelings of living in the past too much, so it's been a painful thing to listen to. Also the vocals are mixed very high for my tastes so when I put it on it's like, "Wow I have to sit down and absorb this." It's not good cooking music or whatever, which is really what I'm into now, instrumental cooking music that accompanies the sound of frying livers. It was when I was getting to the completion of In Conflict and was sequencing it that I got heavily into her and was really just appreciating just how incredible those songs were, and how incredible those records are. I actually sequenced In Conflict to have a similar sort of arc.