on life, music etc beyond mainstream

„If you’re gonna like the Dirty Projectors’ sixth album, then you’re gonna have to make a few concessions. Mainly, you’ll have to entertain the notion that band leader David Longstreth is New York’s most plausible heir apparent to Talking Heads’ David Byrne. After all, both are relentlessly post-modernist, driven by high-concept projects – try 1979’s Fear Of Music vs. 2005’s The Getty Address; 1980’s Remain In Light vs. 2007’s Rise Above – and both have successfully mixed polyrhythmic Afrobeat with experimental Western pop. Crucially, though, the two are bound by a determination to combine the above in recognisable-yet complex packages: pop art in its truest sense. Thus, with Swing Lo Magellan, Dirty Projectors are exiting something of an “Eno period” – the batshit ideas are still nominally present, but the execution is a little less, as Dave Jnr puts it, “florid” – making this album their very own ‘Little Creatures’; a melody-focussed opus that reinforces the notion of Longstreth’s band as songwriters, as opposed to sonic adventurers. All of which is fine, incidentally, as it’s pretty fucking awesome. The silky-smooth hook of ‘About To Die’ is balanced delicately atop rattling electronic stutters, while the intricate layers of ‘Just From Chevron’ propel Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle’s delectable harmonies into a dense finale. Sure, these are pop songs, but they’re still very definitely Dirty Projectors songs too. To write the album, Longstreth relocated, Bon Iver-style, to a house four hours outside of New York, cutting himself off from friends and family. With that in mind, the lyrical directness is fascinating – “You’re my love and I want you in my life,” he declares on ‘Impregnable Question’, with those elastic vocal cords reined in to subtly moving effect. Long-term fans may be justifiably concerned that the exploratory exhilaration of previous records has been lost, but this sense of warmth is a more than adequate replacement. “Without songs we’re lost/And life is pointless, harsh and long,” croons our hero on the understated, Cole Porter-esque closer ‘Irresponsible Tune’. Let the days go by with Swing Lo Magellan and you might just feel the same way …“ (Will Fitzpatrick, The Fly)


Zwei Songs daraus in den nächsten Klanghorizonten. Und was für ein herrlich unspektakuläres Cover, wie ein diskretes Motto: zurück zu den einfachen Dingen, die kompliziert genug sind. Tatsächlich haben sich die Dirty Projectors ganz bewusst aufs Land zurückgezogen, um dort einiges von den urbanen Getriebenheiten ihrer vorigen Arbeiten abzuschütteln. Der Mann mit der Bommelmütze ist unschlagbar, er verkörpert das Gegenteil von „style“. Diese neue Naturverbundenheit der Band ist keine Pose, sie erlaubt David Longstreth, einem der faszinierendsten Sänger unseres Planeten, seine unberechenbaren Arrangements kurzzuschliessen mit dem Erbe der Beach Boys und der Beatles. Aber auch solche Rückgriffe sind erfindungsreich. Mindestens an zwei Stellen werden Melodien und Textzeilen von Brian Wilson aufgenommen, doch die rundum erschallenden Vokalharmonien proben keinesfalls alte Strandromantik, sie kommentieren frech und garstig (aber eben auch leidenschaftlich), so dass jede ansatzweise überzuckerte Romantik ihren subversiven Unterton erhält. Ich finde dieses Album ganz und gar großartig!

This entry was posted on Freitag, 6. Juli 2012 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Drawing a line between The Dirty Projectors and Revolver:

    Longstreth has spoken before of his fondness for „albums like Revolver that feel like an art project completely divorced from live playing“, and right enough, it’s difficult to imagine Swing Lo Magellan becoming the Soundtrack to Your Festival Summer. Like the mid-period Beatles records whose recording techniques were so obsessively documented in Ian MacDonald’s Revolution in the Head (reputedly a major influence on Longstreth), this is an album that seems to spring from an indoor world of cerebral textures and bedroom experiments, a headphone odyssey for an era in which the rock gig has become a corporate-sponsored burlesque.

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