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Published: 2009/08/10
by Randy Ray

Bitte Orca – Dirty Projectors

Domino
Have no clue what the Dirty Projectors sound like live, but its fuckin brilliant in the studio. Hooks rise up out of tracks, followed and enhanced by shimmery chick background vibery. Guitars are layered like an ersatz Steve Howe on some really good coke. Histrionics are also well-chosen and bereft of what they could becomewanky Yes prog in the hands of less-intelligent indie rock freaksters. And so, that was my initial thought about Bitte Orca: the drugs either worked for me, or this shit shines on its own.
But I went back in for more, back to my own fluorescent half dome of a brain, and the music continued to float all of these groovy 3-D pictures above my head. Went back in, again, and noticed the eternal hook. Thats the word, too: hook. Regardless of all of the beautiful periphery going on in the infinite headphone universeradiant layers, occasionally, beam in from other surreal dimensionsthere is a tangible hold on the melodic construction of each song.
David Longstreth is the lead visual Projector on songcraft, vocals, and guitars. All lazy dumb ass chick references aside, guitarist Amber Coffman and bassist/keyboardist Angel Deradoorian deliver simply sublime vocalsboth in the fore and background, and often quite effervescent. Two Doves confirms that Longstreths voice isnt necessary to create sonic magic while Cannibal Resource (with the Howe snow flakes dancing upon our heads) is an example of how backing vox can softly push a hook into sweet and diversionary patterns. Stillness is the Move has something else entirelyAfrican radio song with Western voices coated in a rich color which, rather delicately, finds its way into an urban setting with electronic strings, taboot.
And where it comes together, even moreso, is when the album confidently rests in Longstreth’s curious wanderlust. The man has been known to take the Projecters, with multiple interchangeable musicians, into a wide variety of sonic zones. On this current work, the main Projector succeeds by both narrowing his vision via ear candy, and expanding his reach by posing the eternal question: can an artist be weird and accessible at the same time? Useful Chamber, No Intention, and Remade Horizon (Howe is another invisible influence on the latter; backing vocals, again, are parallel yet perfect) create a taut trio near the albums codaanswer that art and commerce question by sticking with memorable grooves, propelling forward from one moment of bliss to the next.
The right vibe is everything at times, and in the case of Bitte Orca, Longstreth has found a rather harmonious path which suits his often odd approach to seeking inspirationglean what you can from tinkering and toil and tomorrows yesterday, conjure up some emotionally-direct motifs, and bloody ell, trust yourself to make up the rest of the shit and stand behind it. Oh, and write songs with an off white-hot hook. For wont of an esoteric nail, thats what art is, no?

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