Dirty Projectors + Björk - Mount Wittenberg Orca

Mount Wittenberg Orca est un EP, à l’origine digital, des Dirty Projectors en collaboration avec Björk. Il fait suite au concert donné le 8 mai 2009 au Housing Works Bookstore Cafe à New York. Organisé à l’initiative de Brandon Stosuy de Stereogum.com, les bénéfices ont été reversés au Housing Works, une ONG dévouée à la lutte contre le SIDA et au mal-logement.
David Longstreth des Dirty projectors a composé plusieurs titres pour l’occasion et Björk a rejoint le groupe pour interpréter quelques chansons. Certaines ont, par la suite, été enregistrées en studio et compose donc cet EP.
Il est vendu sur le site www.mountwittenbergorca.com au profit de la National Geographic Society afin de créer des zones marines protégées.

Interprétation : Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian, Björk, Brian McOmber, David Longstreth Haley Dekle, Nathaniel Baldwin
Mastererisation : Joe Lambert
Mixage : Björk, David Longstreth Nicolas Vernhes
Production et Écriture : David Longstreth
Assistance à l’enregistrement : Tom Gloady


Cette sortie initialement exclusivement digitale bénéficie d’une sortie physique le 24 octobre 2011, publiée chez Domino Records. Cette sortie se compose d’un CD et d’un Vinyl (3 000 exemplaires)
Le vinyle inclut une pochette lenticulaire 3D et un livret de 12 pages.

Mount Wittenberg Orca (Expanded Edition) comprenant des démos et des versions live est annoncée pour le 22 Avril 2023 lors du Record Store Day.

Livret du Disque

i. ocean
amber walks along a ridge on mount wittenberg, north of san francisco. she scans the ocean. along the coast, a mother whale swims north with its three calves.

ii. on and ever onward
the whale (björk) sings to her calves, describing what it’s like to live in the ocean. they respond in joyful communion.

iii. when the world comes to an end
from the shore, amber sees the whales. she is filled with admiration for the creatures, and declares for them her steadfast love.

iv. beautiful mother
the calves, oblivious to amber’s vow, play among the waves and sing to themselves in a spirited and carefree fashion

v. sharing orb
the whale (björk) responds to amber, questioning the sincerity of her love : ’what kind of love expresses itself as pollution, violence and mindlessness ?’

vi. no embrace
amber responds to the whale. she proclaims her freedom, fatuously insisting that she be judged as an individual, and that her love be understood as sincere : separable from and unrelated to the destruction that other humanity perpetuates oon the ocean blue.

vii. all we are
as dusk approaches, the whale (björk) and her calves continue their northward migration. amber watches from the shore as they disappear against the horizon. together, amber and the whale (björk) sing a benediction

David Longstreth à propos du projet

In April 2009, Brandon Stosuy from Stereogum.com asket me if we wanted to play a benefit concert at a bookstore in New York. I said yes. He asked Björk the same thing, and she said yes. The he asked us if we wanted to collaborate, and we said yes. Björk asked me what we should do, and I said "I don"t know, I guess I’d really love to write a bunch of new songs for us to sing together ?" And she said yes.

The same month, Amber from Dirty Projectors was walking along a ridge on Mount Wittenberg, north of San Francisco. She was looking out at the ocean and saw a little family fo whales, as you sometimes do in April on the Northern California coast. I wrote some songs about it and sent them to Björk, who agreed to sing the part of the mom whale. The songs became Mount Wittenberg Orca. Amber and Angel Haley sang the part of the kid whales , and I sang the part of Amber. We sang all week long and learned the music just in time to perform it at the bookstore on May 8th.

Then our album Bitt Orca came out and we went on tour forever. We finally got a chance to record Wittenberg last month, almost exactly a whole year after we sang it. We went into the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn and rehearsed it for three days, then we recorded it as quickly and as live as possible. We only overdubbed lead vocals and a guitars solo.

We’ve decided to give away all the money that Wittenberg generates to the project of creating international marine protected areas. Only 1% of the oceans are protected in any way and this is a huge problem. We’re working with the National geographic Society to create areas of sustainability, so the oceans don’t end up like giant poisonous corpse hugging the continents. You can learn more about this project here and here and here.

We’re so psyched about how this recording came out and hope you are too. Don’t listen on those tinny computer speakers — put it on the stereo and blast dat shiiiiiiit !!


source : http://www.mountwittenbergorca.com/



Released digitally with little fanfare, Mount Wittenberg Orca sounds like the perky, efficacious soundtrack to a particularly boring ecological video game. In reality, the EP is just about as vestigial. It was born out of a Stereogum-prodded collaboration between Icelandic chanteuse Björk and New York indie rockers Dirty Projectors, a benefit concert to be performed at a Manhattan bookstore. Rather than repurpose their own greatest hits, such as they respectively are, they whipped up a 20-minute cantata about a family of whales and, it seems, their quest to find happiness, harmony, and breathable water.
As the liner notes on the album’s website indicate, Björk once again portrays a fiercely protective matriarch, this time in a much more supportive environment than was offered to her by Danish sadist Lars Von Trier. This time, she doesn’t get cacked during the "Next to Last Song." That said, the septet of ditties here suggest there’s precious little time to waste, otherwise Bj-Örca and her school of closely microphone’d calves will end up washed ashore, biologically abused, elementally polluted. In fact, it might already be too late. One of the songs is pointedly called "When the World Comes to an End."
The proceeds earned by the EP are earmarked for creating international marine-protected areas through the National Geographic Society. However noble the cause, it also makes the whole enterprise sound a little bit fatalistic, as though there’s already little hope for the majority of the Earth’s water surfaces, and the best that we can do is cordon off a few small areas. Within the narrow confines of the EP, that uneasy balance between hopelessness and guarded optimism is given voice through the blend of Dirty Projectors’s bouncing vocal harmonies (the gratingly forthright "eh-eh-eh-eh" verses in "On and Ever Onward") and Björk’s reliably magenta undertones (and yes, I do mean "magenta" in the Blanche Devereaux sense).
The Whale Album’s collaboration reaches a high point with "Sharing Orb," a moody dirge about our water resources "we all call our mother," a prospect that, given Björk’s characteristically guttural delivery and minor-key dramaturgy, sounds less an endorsement of boho universalism and a lot more like a lamentation that we can’t throw, say, BP executives into a tank of killer whales. We’re in this melted polar cap together, and like Deepwater Horizon, it gets more ruined by oil all the time.

source : slant magazine +++

“If you grow up in the river, the river’s all you know.”

Let’s get the rather strange yet essential set-up out of the way first. Stereogum writer Brandon Stosuy invited Dirty Projectors and Bjork, mutual fans of each other’s music, to collaborate on a benefit show performance at a New York bookstore. After discussing what to play, the two camps decided to collaborate on brand-new material for the performance, instead of just cranking out their greatest hits.
Later that month, Dirty Projectors vocalist Amber Coffman witnessed a family of whales on the Northern California coast near Mount Wittenberg, and Projectors songwriter/frontman/crazy man Dave Longstreth connected the two ideas by writing a 20-minute song cycle about the experience, designating each vocal performer a corresponding whale character. Longstreth plays the part of Coffman ; Coffman and fellow vocalists Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle assume the roles of baby whales ; and Bjork, the mother of all weird, alternative vocalists, appropriately plays the family matriarch. Mount Wittenberg Orca is the result, and the proceeds will be donated to the National Geographic Society, helping create “international marine protected areas”.
Got that ?
Helping marine life is certainly a worthwhile cause, but as much as Bjork and Dirty Projectors want to raise awareness about whales, Mount Wittenberg Orca will ultimately raise awareness about their music, which is a worthwhile cause all on its own. As an encore for Dirty Projectors’ highly acclaimed 2009 full-length Bitte Orca, Mount Wittenberg Orca is a knockout. It works completely, even when removed from its unorthodox origins.
Then again, “unorthodox” is pretty standard stuff for Longstreth and company. Their music has a tendency to mix the extremely foreign and experimental with the catchy and familiar. Longstreth is a master of mood and color, pairing the most unusual of musical elements (“How about a string quartet, and then we’ll do a electro beat…or how about some white noise ?!”). A track like “Stillness Is the Move” from Bitte Orca is their most pop moment, with its R&B vocal stylings and bright production, but the twisted guitar figures and layers of sound keep it firmly planted in the strange.
On Mount Wittenberg Orca, both the experimental and the pop tendencies are toned down somewhat, due in large part to the template. Here, the distorted batshit guitar solos and drum kit explosions are replaced with acoustics, in keeping with the original bookstore performance. There are no surefire breakthrough singles, either. Instead, this EP finds the band trying out something a bit new for them : sonic consistency. With most of the noise and half of the layers of instrumentation removed, Mount Wittenberg Orca ends up giving priority to flow and ease instead of shock and flair.
The players revel in this new setting. Nat Baldwin’s acoustic bass sounds warmer but still powerful. Brian Mcomber, one of indie rock’s most unique drummers, still explores the outer limits of his kit, but this time focuses more on nuance, favoring snare rim clicks and bass drum accents over his trademark bursts of John Bonham-like thunder. Longstreth still plays like a classical guitarist who fronts a noise outfit on the weekends, exploring more of his melodic fingerpicking previously displayed on tracks like Bitte Orca‘s “Two Doves”.
Bjork fits in perfectly, which is no surprise. She and Longstreth have mutually odd melodic sensibilities, so much so that an album of Bjork covering Dirty Projectors songs (or vice versa) really wouldn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary. It’s no wonder, then, that their styles mesh so seamlessly, almost to the point where Bjork simply sounds like another from Longstreth’s gang of female vocalizers. When she takes lead vocals (“On and Ever Onward”, “Sharing Orb”, “All We Are”), it’s clear that her melodies could have been written by Longstreth or all on her own.
“On and Ever Onward” immediately demonstrates the breathtaking synchronicity between the two camps. Bjork throws in the line “Tempur Pedic is the ocean,” which, with both its vivid imagery of being swallowed in bed and strange product placement (think back to Longstreth’s Gatorade plug on Bitte‘s “Temecula Sunrise”), lets you know you’re in good hands. The gang chant “Our love is all around us”, atop a bed of bouncy bass and arpeggiated acoustic guitar, is probably the happiest they’ve ever sounded. Listen to it through headphones and feel the plink of the guitar strings, the encompassing vocals disorienting and enlightening with precision and warm breath.
I first heard “When the World Comes to an End” on a Twitter video posted by Roots drummer Questlove, showing the band rehearsing the track backstage with nothing more than an unplugged electric guitar and the surround-sound ping-ponging vocals of Coffman, Deradoorian, and Dekle. Questlove was so stoked by the performance, he could hardly keep his camera phone still, frequently capturing his own entranced reaction shots.
You can’t blame the guy. It was a startling, arresting performance for such a limiting environment, especially for a band thriving on sonic chaos. Luckily, the intimacy and simplicity of that performance has carried over to the studio version. Dirty Projectors have always been a “headphones” band, but seriously : put on your nicest pair, sit back, and marvel at the encompassing magic of the wordless “ahhs” and “oohs”. There’s also a spirally electric guitar solo which, along with lead vocals on all tracks, is the only occasion of overdubbing on the album.
The claps, drum clicks, and stereo-panned vocal undulations in “Beautiful Mother” are quintessential Dirty Projectors, not all that different than some of the brighter moments on Bitte Orca. It’s a perfect summation of what this EP does best : demonstrating a warmer, more spontaneous Dirty Projectors, and quite possibly an even more exciting one, if that’s at all possible.
That Mount Wittenberg Orca is an acquired taste goes without saying. Yet no one else makes music like this.

source : popmatters.com +++


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