Exclusive Daily Download: "Jolly Jolly Jolly Ego," the Dirty Projectors


Salon Staff
April 3, 2006 1:01PM (UTC)

I truly don't know what to make of the Dirty Projector's latest, "The Getty Address": Lead Projector Dave Longstreth's riveting, unmatchable voice is all over it, and the album is filled with astonishing bits of arrangement wizardry, splicing together wind septet, cello octet and women's choir in a style that feels as new in its way as Björk's "Vespertine" (if not quite as fully realized). But it's also a sprawling, disjointed and nearly incomprehensible opera (key words include Hernán Cortés, Aztecs and Don Henley), and it would take a lot more than the few listens I've given it to begin to grasp what Longstreth is after. But individual songs, separated from this ungainly beast, can be enjoyed without reservation or confusion, none more so than "Jolly Jolly Jolly Ego," in which a serene choir and a manic chorus of Longstreth's vocodered voices do battle over a drum machine beat; in which Longstreth sings a lead vocal that is a bizarre and striking reinterpretation of R&B (it seems to me that with artists like Antony, Milosh, CocoRosie, David Thomas Broughton and Longstreth, R&B is providing the most fertile source material for interesting new vocal styles these days); and in which a host of incongruous elements join to make one of the most flat-out brilliant, innovative and exciting pieces of music I've heard in a good long while.

-- T.B.

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