This Saturday, Dirty Projectors and Björk will release an expanded edition of their long out-of-print 2010 EP Mount Wittenberg Orca as a Record Store Day Exclusive double LP. Dirty Projectors’ bandleader David Longstreth wrote the original seven-song collection to be performed unamplified in a small Manhattan bookstore called ‘Housing Works’, inspired by a conversation between Longstreth and Björk about the small theaters in Italy where opera was born in the 1500s. The new expanded edition adds 13 bonus tracks of never-before-released material, including the live ‘Housing Works’ performance from 2009, early demos of ‘Mount Wittenberg Orca’ and archival audio of the band and Björk rehearsing the material.
Earlier this week, in advance of the LP’s release, they shared one of those previously unreleased tracks, the live from Housing Works performance of ‘On and Ever Onward’:
The recording and production of ‘Mount Wittenberg Orca’ was informed by the simple, direct feel of early rock & roll recordings from the '50s. The band and Björk rehearsed for three days at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, and then, working with RBR’s Nicolas Vernhes, recorded the songs as quickly and as live as possible, overdubbing only lead vocals and solos.
The result feels like part children's story, part choral music from some strange future. It's unlike anything else in the Projectors' body of work: drums and guitars are all but absent. It's all about voices here — and the voices are astonishing. Björk sounds seismic and elemental and Longstreth, sharing lead vocal duties, intones with his trademark croon. The Projectors' singers Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle add magical 3-part vocal harmonies.
David Longstreth will celebrate the new release on Record Store Day this Saturday with a DJ set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Longstreth says this about the release: “Mount Wittenberg Orca might be my favourite thing from this chapter of Dirty Projectors. It feels like sort of a dark horse in the catalog. Which I guess is kinda funny, considering it’s a collaborative record with Björk. We were overwhelmed with the hype around the band at the time and purposely under-messaged it. But I love these songs. And as a basically live-in-studio album, it’s the only official release that shows how this lineup really cooked as a band. The performances and engineering hold up really well. And of course, Björk elevates us to a different level of protean majesty. I remember being spontaneously in tears during her vocal takes for ‘Sharing Orb’. I’m also excited to share the original Housing Works show, in its raw beauty, as well as the writing tapes and rehearsals that show how the whole thing came together. Thanks for listening.”
Listen to ‘On And Ever Onward’ HERE. And pre-save the full expanded ‘Mount Wittenberg Orca’ EP HERE.