Dirty Projectors The Getty Address

[Western Vinyl; 2005]

Styles: cut and paste indie electronica (?), noise-pop
Others: Nobukazu Takemura, Slowly Minute. Xiu Xiu, Captain Beefheart

Chief Dirty Projector Dave Longstreth has obviously absorbed a variety of music in his days, and the pastiche quality of his newest work, The Getty Address, comes as no real surprise. Shuffling percussion is juxtaposed against a full-women choir, jaunty acoustic guitars jerk underneath crisp tenor sax lines, distant keys converge in flurries of vocals and woodwinds, creating brief shots of dissonance. In short, Longstreth's palette is inarguably original. He wrote and recorded each instrument here separately, then digitally reconstructed them into their current forms. And while the sound of The Getty Address is fairly unique, I can't help but find its cut-and-paste quality distracting at times. The good moments come when the diverse instrumentation blends seamlessly, and the great moments come pretty much any time the choir pops in (which is far too seldom).

The rest of the album would be adequate as a sparse DJ set with musique-concrete elements, if it weren't for Longsreth's progressively grating vocals. His delivery is off kilter, with a bubbly timbre and a penchant for wild melodic leaps. Unfortunately, his pipes are too high in the mix, and usually feel embarrassingly slapped on. The more you listen, the more it feel like Dave Matthews is scatting over a Nobukazu Takemura album. Which, in a way, is a compliment (the Takemura part, at least). On tracks like "Time Birthed Spilled Blood," Longstreth nails his sampling formula so incredibly well that you almost forget his previous fumbles.

When it works, The Getty Address fuses a welcomed variety of organic instruments with a twisted vocal narrative. When it doesn't, it's merely ok. I might have more scruples with the album's occasional awkwardness if it didn't point towards such an exciting direction for "electronic music." Using the computer as a tool for recording, arranging, and composing is already becoming a fixture of modern music, and Dirty Projectors only show us how much room there is for the medium to grow. For that, I'm willing to forgive almost any misstep.

1. I Sit on the Ridge at Dusk
2. But in the Headlights
3. Warholian Wigs
4. I Will Truck
5. D. Henley's Dream
6. Gilt Gold Scabs
7. Ponds & Puddles
8. Not Having Found
9. Tour Along the Potomac
10. Jolly Jolly Jolly Ego
11. Time Birthed Spilled Blood
12. Drilling Profitably
13. Finches' Song at Oceanic Parking Lot

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