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Dirty Projectors and Bjork - Mount Wittenberg Orca

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 12 / 11 / 2011



Dirty Projectors and Bjork - Mount Wittenberg Orca
Label: Domino Records
Format: CD

intro

Brief, but wonderful collaboration on seven track album between Bjork and equally eccentric Brooklyn-based band, Dirty Projectors


It is often said that there is a fine line between genius and madness. If this is the case, then I’m certain that Björk lives on said line, one foot firmly planted on each side, and I imagine that it could often be a lonely existence. Not any more, though – with this collaboration, Ms Guðmundsdóttir has finally hooked up with someone as far out as she is. The songs on 'Mount Wittenberg Orca' were written over five days by Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth and recorded over three days in April 2010. Initially the seven songs on the album were performed unamplified in a Manhattan book store, and I imagine that these concerts would have been quite something to behold. The studio recording has been available digitally for some time, but no physical release has been available until now. Opening track 'Ocean' begins with wordless voices soaring in natural harmony like Arctic winds, at once chilling and warming, comforting and disturbing. The overall sound of the track is somewhere between Clare and the Reasons and Debussy’s tone poems, and, as an overture to the album, it clearly sets the listener’s expectations of what is to follow. Second track, 'On and Ever Onward', is more conventional. Fabulously arranged vocals are used in lieu of instruments (the only instrument on the track is a melodic but understated bass-line). The song is bright and uplifting, and Björk’s quirky vocal is a perfect foil to the wonderfully complex vocal backing. Each of the album’s seven tracks is a modest masterpiece of vocal dexterity, melodic charm and harmonic bliss. 'Mount Wittenberg Orca' is, I suppose, the natural product of a collaboration between Björk and Dirty Projectors: the latter’s song-writing style is a direct evolution from their album 'Bitte' Orca, and the former’s vocal arrangements are reminiscent of 2004’s a cappella masterpiece 'Medúlla'. The album closes with the wonderful 'All We Are', featuring more breath-taking vocals and a gentle cymbal underpinning a particularly affecting duet between Björk and David Longstreth. 'Mount Wittenberg Orca' is an enjoyable excursion to the outer reaches of mainstream music, and the pairing of Björk and Dirty Projectors is inspired. My only complaint is that, at a mere twenty-one minutes, the album (in reality more of an EP) is simply too short. I loved what I heard, and would have happily listened to more. This is an inventive wonder of an album, and I would love to hear further collaborations between these artists. Normally, I would balk at the prospect of paying full-price for an album as short as this, but in this case the material is well worth the price.



Track Listing:-
1 Ocean
2 On And Ever Onward
3 When The World Comes To An End
4 Beautiful Mother
5 Sharing Orb
6 No Embrace
7 All We Are


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/dirtyprojectors/
http://dirtyprojectors.net/
https://www.youtube.com/user/dirtyprojectorsusa
https://plus.google.com/105513769437665931357
https://twitter.com/dirtyprojectors


Label Links:-
http://www.dominorecordco.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DominoRecordCo
https://twitter.com/DominoRecordCo
https://www.youtube.com/user/DominoRecords
https://plus.google.com/+DominoRecords



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