Mount Wittenberg Orca - Björk + Dirty Projectors

The Dirty Projectors and Björk were first asked by Stereogum.com’s Brandon Stosuy to do a benefit concert. As both agreed to do the show, Stosuy asked if they could collaborate as well. Both said Yes.

Initially, Dirty Projector’s frontman David Longstreth wanted to write a collection of songs for Björk and the group to sing at a collaborative benefit show. On that same month, Amber from the Dirty projectors, while walking on a ridge on Mount Wittenberg, saw a small pod of whales swimming into the bay in the distance. That experience became the subject of the songs Longstreth would write. The collection was first performed on April 8 2009 at the intended benefit show in a bookshop called Housing Works in New York. Björk sang the part of the mother whale, while David played the part of Amber. The rest of the Dirty Projectors vocalists played the part of the baby whales. The album was digitally released last June through the Mount Wittenberg Orca website giving all the proceeds to the National Geographic Society for the creation of international marine reserves.

Made by two very complex avant-garde orientations, Mount Wittenberg Orca triumphs, surprisingly, with its simplicity. The song cycle is short at about 20 minutes long with seven songs, each coming from that benefit show they did. Heavily vocal, the album seems to be a marriage of Björk’s experimental drive and the Dirty Projectors’ youthful energy. The intense melding of these two are most apparent in the songs On and Ever Onward, Sharing Orb , and All We Are, where Björk sings with the group. She doesn’t appear in the rest of the songs which are still clearly influenced by her in terms of structure and vocal arrangements. Although slightly different from the original performance version, the variations in lyrics and arrangements convey a more evolved and straightforward design that ultimately sends Björk and The Dirty Projector’s message clear as ice and ever resonating.