Review Summary: A solid but unfulfilled EP that is as good as it is dull.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Stillness Is The Move, aka the pop song that was finally written by Dirty Projectors, is their version of '80s pop. Equal parts tinny edge and low end grind, the lead single carries itself on a super minimal structure that propels Amber Coffmann's vocals from backup singer to R&B diva with each double tracked statement. However, the EP that bears the same name as the song is not half as propelling nor will it win any new fans for the band.
Leading off is the album version of the song, which is as good as ever. The a cappella mix is a misnomer, as it is the drums (real and machine), guitar line, and all the vocal tracks mixed in and out of the field, usually at random. While jarring, the mix isn't exciting. Only the vocals would have been incredible, as there are many nuances and subtle shifts that this mix only hints at. Is it only four vocals, or are there twelve tracks? What the hell is Amber singing in the second verse? What are those weird little edits in the chorus? Questions that are unanswered or glazed over in this mix. The Lucky Dragons remix doesn't fare as well. Repetitive and dull, this is not the thing to be expected from the Los Angeles MAX/MSP oriented sounds of Luke Fiscbeck and Sara Anderson. For a band that is so exciting to see live and releases such great minimal albums, this song just drags on too long. Suffering from a mix that is way too reserved doesn't help, either, as all details are blended into a mush of audio.
Side 2 offers up two interesting B-sides. Wave The Bloody Shirt sounds like a Getty Address outtake. Female vocals coo gently as a glitched out backing pounds away. If vocals were on top of this, this song would be a huge achievement for the band, as it would blend all eras into one cohesive song. Instead, you get a weird little instrumental that is great to listen to, but feels a little empty. Closing song Bitte Bitte Orca is an isolated string section from album centerpiece Useful Chamber. Again, vocals would have transformed the song into an amazing thing, but instead you get a "look into the recording process" docu-song that, again while cool, feels empty.
Stillness Is The Move won't win the band many new fans, but the older ones and hardcore followers will find things to love here. All in all, the disc is equally exciting and amps the listener up for Bitte Orca, but also detracts from a band that has such solid output.