Bjork/Dirty Projectors, ‘Mount Wittenberg Orca’ (Self-Released)
A year ago, Brooklyn art rockers Dirty Projectors teamed up with alternative icon (and fan) Bjork for a one-off benefit performance inside tiny SoHo bookstore Housing Works, crafting an intimate, resplendent performance from an esoteric song cycle written by lead Projector David Longstreth (inspired by bandmate Amber Coffman’s sighting of a family of whales off the northern California coast). Almost a year on, the two parties reconvened in a Brooklyn studio, and anyone hoping these two vanguard acts would go even further over the precipice might be a bit baffled by this throwback to a bygone era. Available digitally for download (with proceeds benefiting the National Geographic Society’s ocean sustainability efforts), the music evokes 1940s radio jingles and the earliest rock’n’roll recordings, captured with the barest of overdubs. From the deep bellowing bass of Nat Baldwin to the horizon-racing ride cymbal of Brian McOmber, Mount Wittenberg Orca allows Bjork’s singular diction to dovetail with the Dirty Projectors’ quirky male-female vocalizing, floating weightlessly like a thousand ecstatic whooshes.