Sunday, 12 July 2009

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca [Domino]

This album is a big surprise for me I’ve always found Dirty Projectors either pass me by without notice or annoying the hell out of me. So when I heard ‘Stillness Is The Move’ and most of Bitte Orca I was taken aback at how good it was. This is my biggest musical surprise this year so far, almost as big as when I fell for Tha Carter III by Lil’ Wayne last year after thinking I hated auto-tune and found it really annoying.

Video: Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is The Move

Now I’m not saying Dirty Projectors and Lil’ Wayne have that much in common apart from both managing to win me over despite and probably because of their distinctive voices. DP do have a slightly R&B sound mind all be it filtered through their super trendy indie pop stylings, but that’s about as far as it goes...

I’m not going to try and compare it to their other work or anything like that I really don’t have a clue about this band apart from Bitte Orca sounds ace, I even had a go at comparing them to Lil’ Wayne for fucks sake! So here are some of my favourite moments and reasons why instead:

The main reason for me picking this up has to be the aforementioned ‘Stillness Is The Move’ something about the loose yet somehow tight and funky drumming combined with the plucking guitar patterns and deep and bleepy bass gets in your head and wont budge. They have this off-kilter strange atmosphere that’s only heightened when the vocal gymnastics kick in and gives it an almost Beyonce feel but super stripped back. The clean and clear production has a really simple yet shinny feel to it that really makes this stuff glow. Now all it needs is a Lil’ Wayne guess appearance… and it turns out The Hood Internet went for a shite mash-up with Major Lazer instead.

Dirty Projectors remind me a lot of Love on this album, but Love being covered by half of Volcano! I say half as this all sounds so much smaller and stripped back like a one-man band, which I have a feeling it is for the most part with a few collaborators. And I say Love as they have the strange harmony led sunshine and darkness. Volcano! have a similar disjointed playful style to Dirty Projectors, to my ears at least. The vocals are certainly similar as is the off the wall guitar playing.

This Love-esq vibe comes out strong in the mellow songs, like the super sweet ‘Two Doves’ that also happens to remind me of the chart smash ‘Call on Me’ by Eric Prydz in the chorus at least.

But that doesn’t put me off too much, most of the time anyway. The acoustic guitar melodies and orchestral arrangements are really beautiful.

The opening track ‘Cannibal Resource’ is another cracker that opens with a tiny shimmering guitar hook and a big strange bass that makes a sporadic groove all of its own. As is the all over the place ‘Useful Chamber’ which goes from lo-fi electronic to chanting the album title and flipping through cheesy and annoying to sublime passages in quick succession. ‘No Intention’ is a bit like a mellow ‘Stillness…’ and is easily a highlight for its snappy drums and tight melodies. The mantra like chant of ‘Remade Horizon’ is so catchy that its joyous. The final track ‘Florescent Half Dome’ reminds me of the Baywatch theme but with a more gospel influence, because lets face it Baywatch was lacking that big time. It’s a brilliant way to finish off the album though.

Bitte Orca has this bitty disjointed flow to it that is all at once compelling and a little off putting. Like you know something a bit strange is going to happen and sometime you just want it to roll on a little and keep a grove for longer than it does. This is all dependant on mood though sometimes its just perfect then on another listen I’m reaching for the eject button. Dirty Projectors have made a really interesting album that shimmers with a playful quirky energy that will either draw you in or push you away, maybe at the same time.

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