The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
By Bob Boilen | November 17, 2020
The Tiny Desk challenges artists to think outside their usual box. When they play my NPR desk, we don’t amplify the singer’s voice into the room, resulting in a more vulnerable sound. For their Tiny Desk (home) concert, the singer, musician and composer Owen Pallett did something different, but just as unusual. Owen recorded four songs in multiple stages on different instruments: first, they played acoustic guitar and sang; then they performed the songs again, but this time on violin and viola; finally, Owen layered the recordings in post-production, not really knowing what the final versions would sound like. They explain the whole process, charmingly, between songs.
From a bedroom in Toronto, Owen traverses their musical history, opening with a dreamy song from 2005’s debut album (as Final Fantasy), Has a Good Home, before moving on to a Beirut song he helped write, “Cliquot,” from that band’s 2007 album. “Perseverance of the Saints” is from Owen’s latest record, Island. Here it’s transformed from arpeggiated piano to guitar, and I love the tone it sets.
Owen not only performed each instrument in separate takes, but also did all the production work: recording, filming and editing. A remarkable talent captured in a candlelit bedroom.
“Perseverance of the Saints”
“Song for Five & Six”
Owen Pallett: vocals, violin, guitar
Video: Owen Pallett
Audio: Owen Pallett
TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Bob Boilen
Video Producer: Maia Stern
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Morgan Noelle Smith
Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann