Dirty Projectors + Björk
Mount Wittenburg Orca
Domino Recording Inc.
Listening to Dirty Projectors’ album Mount Wittenburg Orca (featuring Björk as co-collaborator) definitely classifies as one of the most interesting experiences of my life. If it turns out that the band wanted to evoke an almost dumbfounded-mixed-with-intrigued response from their listeners, then they’ve certainly achieved that. Suffice it to say, I’m having a hard time trying to express how I feel about Mount Wittenburg Orca.
On the whole, the album sounds spontaneous, fractured, strange, awry, occasionally a little corny, and at other moments, very pretty. Much of what the album relies on are the vocals, both in the harmonies and the melodies, giving each song its colour, tone and mood. While everything else, whether it be bass or percussion, merely serve to prop up the vocals. The record’s salient quality is the ambitious vocal work. Although at times the vocals can induce ear-wincing, it’s hard not to appreciate the effort these guys put into the vocals. The band experiments with different styles, tones, dynamics and effects to diversify the vocals, so much so that listening to the album from start to finish is like walking from one end of a circus tent to the other and experiencing all the varying sights and sounds, whether they are fun or disconcerting.
And Mount Wittenburg Orca does feature a wide range of qualities. For example, the vocals on “Ocean” reminded me of a certain unpleasant memory of being in a condensed space with a few crying babies. On the other hand, the song “All We Are” sounds like the type of lofty music that would accompany a dream sequence of frolicking through a vast empty field. Mount Wittenburg Orca undoubtedly has some moments that can alienate its listeners; but it also has really ambitious vocal experimentation that many music-lovers will appreciate.
– Joe F
Album Review: Dirty Projectors + Björk – Mount Wittenburg Orca