You can call me a philistine, but the term â€œexperimentalâ€ scares me a little bit. Maybe yâ€™all agree with me? More often than I am comfortable with â€œexperimentalâ€ becomes some sort of catch-all term forâ€¦ well, for lots of things that wouldnâ€™t be nice to say here in this my first post of the new year. Alas, Canadian violinist Owen Pallet AKA Final Fantasy, who notably arranged the strings for Arcade Fireâ€™s â€œFuneralâ€ amongst other past musical endeavors, is unequivocally â€œexperimentingâ€ with his solo musical offerings and I canâ€™t find a single unkind word for him, nor would I want to. These songs are non-linear, funny, offbeat, complex and unexpectedly beautiful. Pallet maintains all of the musicality of his classical training while successfully maintaining a lovely pop sensibility. Now don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely traces of some of the oft-loathed hallmarks of â€œthe independent sensibilityâ€ (i.e. utilizing the word poo in the album title, naming oneself after something random like a video game, writing an album that is apparently â€œan eight-song cycle about the eight schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons,â€ etc.) but heâ€™s smart. Really, really smart. So Pallet gets away with all his geeky wit and irony like a bandit. All things said, Iâ€™m really shy about dropping the L-word, folks, but let me say here, loud and proud: I love this. Donâ€™t dig it? Then just listen one more time, for me, and then decide. Okay?