Collaborative album from Dirty Projectors and Björk to get a physical release in October

Domino is to release Mount Wittenberg Orca, the collaborative album from Dirty Projectors and Björk, on physical formats for the first time on October 21st.

Mount Wittenberg Orca was written by David Longstreth and performed by Nat Baldwin, Björk, Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle, Angel Deradoorian, David Longstreth and Brian McOmber. The album was recorded at the Rare Book Room between 28th April and 1st May 2010 by Nicolas Vernhes, assisted by Tom Gloady. It was produced by David Longstreth, mixed by Nicolas Vernhes, with David Longstreth and Björk, and mastered by Joe Lambert.

Mount Wittenberg Orca was inspired by events on Mt. Wittenberg in Nor Cal. It pushes Longstreth’s obsession with vocal harmony that figured huge on Dirty Projectors’ 2009 album Bitte Orca.

This seven-song, twenty-one minute collection is the first music the band recorded after Bitte Orca, and it feels more like a small album than an EP. It is also their most staggering collaboration yet — with the Icelandic artist Björk.

Longstreth wrote the music in 5 days in May 2009, following a conversation with Björk about the small theaters in Italy where opera was born in the 1500s. The suite was originally performed unamplified in Manhattan bookstore Housing Works the following month.

The studio recording of Mount Wittenberg Orca, made a year later in Brooklyn, (everybody’s schedulez was crazy!) was informed by overall spirit of quick, first-thought-best-thought performance: the band and Björk rehearsed for 3 days at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, and then recorded the songs quickly and live as possible, overdubbing only lead vocals.

The result feels like part children’s story, part choral music from some odd future. It’s unlike anything else in the Projectors’ body of work: Nat Baldwin’s bass is massive and lumbering, the silhouette of some undersea creature. Drums and guitars are all but absent. It’s all about voices here — and the voices are astonishing. Longstreth, sharing lead vocal duties with Björk, intones his trademark croon. The Projectors women Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle somehow bring the sexy back to 3-part melismatic contrapuntal organum. Björk sounds seismic and elemental, singing lead on half the songs.

News of Mount Wittenberg Orca initially spread through a series of online trailers, which featured music and imagery from an unknown album. On June 30th, 2010, a week after being announced and only two months after being recorded, Dirty Projectors and Bjork self-released Mount Wittenberg Orca, selling downloads from the website to benefit the National Geographic Society. The album raised over $40,000 to promote sustainable ocean programs. That website continues to exist, with all monies contributing to the study and preservation of the world’s oceans, while this present release will be the first time this music is available in a physical format in the world’s record stores.

This record is a triumph for Björk and for Dirty Projectors. It effortlessly merges the energy and rawness of the band’s live shows with the intricate arrangement and delicate beauty of Bitte Orca. Björk abides as a kind of artistic patron saint, sharing the spotlight rather than dominating it. Her mix of sophistication and feeling, of composition and instantaneity, has become the blueprint for a generation of creative musicians — and with Mount Wittenberg Orca, Dirty Projectors prove themselves at the forefront of that generation.

Dirty Projectors are currently working on the follow-up to Bitte Orca which should be released in 2012.

The tracklisting for Mount Wittenberg Orca is as follows:

On And Ever Onward
When The World Comes To An End
Beautiful Mother
Sharing Orb
No Embrace
All We Are