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Bitte Orca

4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Multimedia CD, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The follow-up to 2007's critically acclaimed and Domino debut "Rise Above". Their fifth release is a big rock album by design. Its idiosyncratic and sincere take on popular music is reminiscent of David Byrne with whom Dirty Projectors collaborated on "Knotty Pine" for the 2009 compilation "Dark Was The Night". In many ways, group leader David Longstreth could be seen as this generation's answer to Byrne, a distinctive torchbearer of labyrinthine song arrangements that go down easy.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 9, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B0026T4RTI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,425 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you've been turned off by the Dirty Projectors in the past because they were either too intricate, too nonsensical, or too pretentious, then I think you will love this album. Every song is unique and well arranged and, although much more straightforward than past albums, still keeps some of the jazzy mathiness that old fans will love. The vocals have reached a new high with impressive three-part female harmonies complementing Dave Longstreth's angular, rhythmic singing. Highly recommended; I just keep coming back for more, even after weeks of listens, and that doesn't happen often for me.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Bitte Orca is very likely to appear in the top albums of 2009. I agree.

The album presents many musical concepts that are innovative, creative, and catchy. For instance, guitar riffs are very rarely trite or predictable. Melodies are very rarely structured so that the listener is able to hum them after only a listen or two. Meter is unpredictable and yet extremely interesting with all of its syncopation and surprises. Familiar harmonic structure is sparse and creates a very disconnected feel in almost every track. These components together challenge many ingrained concepts of music, and it makes it extremely interesting to truly listen to. Because of these challenges that it presents I do believe it is making strides to creating new styles, encouraging creativity, etc., and deserves to be recognized as one of the best albums of 2009.

However, because the album presents so many complex ideas and so many changes in meter and structure so rapidly it is not likely to become one of the most coherent albums of all time. Like Radiohead, Dirty Projectors present so many new concepts and challenges to what is expected that often the coherency of the ideas, melodies, and lyrics are difficult to perceive (not impossible, just difficult). I believe that like Radiohead, many bands will benefit from taking examples from Dirty Projectors and will most likely become more successful than their predecessors when the original ideas are watered down for mainstream music.
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Format: Audio CD
Experimental rock group Dirty Projectors are back with another album that showcases their versatility. This is not a CD to put in and chill out to. David Longstreth is able to push boundaries and create something quite new and original. This album came out to great acclaim from critics, but in some ways, it defines musical definition. Songs vary from noise pop to indie rock to new weird America to freak folk in style, often with a lo-fi sensibility. That being said, if you ride it out, "Bitte Orca" will reward you with a novel approach to contemporary music that separates Dirty Projectors from its peers.
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Format: Audio CD
Dave Longstreth is his generation's Captain Beefheart. He combines "normal" musical sounds with drastic, sometimes jarring, rhythmic and sonic changes. BITTE ORCA is the first Dirty Projectors album that I've heard and I must say that it is one of the most unique albums I found all year. Recommended if you like Dear Science by TV on the Radio, Actor by St. Vincent, or Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear.
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Format: Audio CD
Past albums by The Dirty Projectors often seemed to suffer from the same basic flaw, complexity and verbosity just for the sake of these two. This is not the case with Bitte Orca which I feel stands as a monumental achievement of this band (a band of whom I myself was not a fan of in any regard until this album). The album is incredibly streamlined and is by far there most accessible record in existence. Lead Singer and creative mastermind David Longstreth vocals suggest a sense of beauty and yearning not seen in sometime. Finally, the songs themselves. The albums benefits greatly from having a mere 9 songs, as it makes each one that much more personally affecting, never bogging down the listener or boring them. My personal favorite nod still has to go to opener Cannibal Resource, a beautiful song with a magnificent contrast between Longstreth and the underlying vocal harmonies. If you seek well constructed, highly intelligent Indie Rock then consider this album your cup of tea.
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Format: Audio CD
having heard some flap about this band (dirty projectors) for a while now, i decided this CD was a safe yard sale purchase at 50 cents.

as a rule, i tend to gravitate toward the difficult and borderline unlistenable, musically. an early-teen discovery of the Residents and Frank Zappa on a long-defunct late night cable tv show in the early 80s (RIP, USA network's Night Flight) was the gateway drug to No Wave, Industrial (when the term still meant something), 20th century avant-garde composers and, ultimately, the pure freakout of the Ruins, Boredoms and the Osaka scene.

so i'm no stranger to the weird stuff.

BUT: the weird stuff has to have a soul.

'bitte orca' comes close - sometimes very very close - to being a great record. musically, it's fantastic. tight, intricate, catchy and non-repetitive, exceptionally well played and smoothly produced. the guitar work is refreshing and technically very proficient, reminding me of both robert fripp and post-Henry Cow fred frith - pretty high praise! the female vocals are something i feel all the way to the soles of my feet - very stirring. the west African flavors, when they appear, are well integrated and flow smoothly. and i've always had a weak spot for a well-placed string section.

the consistent deal breaker, though, is the male vocal. warbling, self-important, far too loud in the mix, twittering its big words seemingly just because they're big, or because the vocalist is in love with his own voice. unpardonable. like a male mariah carey without ... well, without whatever it is about mariah carey that makes people appreciate her. i have no idea what that is.
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