Review Summary: Music...as we have known it, has gotten a whole lot more dimensional
Music is subjective to the point of comfort levels; how did this ever come about? The timeless spirit of music that has traversed through centuries and cultures still lives on but is most often hidden by the sloshing waves of overproduced and/or soulless "art". A strange fear is taken on by many o' listeners who are unfamiliar with a foreign sound. Trends are funny in that too, if one realizes the rejection of rehashed material, a pursue to create a new sound is then the sole objective. Balance, my friends, is key to anything in life, specifically-music, even more specifically- Dirty Projectors- "The Getty Address".
Honestly, at first hear, I chuckled about the abrupt and random strums and hits. I thought to myself, how preposterous of an idea, or, how humorous of Longstreth to make these songs, they must be jokes. Further down the road of life, I decided to give the disc another spin and see what the madness was all about. To my avail, expectations were trampled on the generic ground I had been treading. It is so bizarre how one moment in the song can range from a beautiful passage of soulful singing backed by exotic horns and strings, and the next moment is terribly troubling to get through because of asymmetrical rhythms and short bursts of wailing voices. Once you are floating in a different world of bliss and female harmonies, you are then chased by a tuba monster creeping around the corner. At times, fullness of ensemble delights the listener but then deliberately and literally skips out of earshot, seemingly ending in lonely, simplistic beats, but to the listener's surprise- swings right into the next pinata of treats.
If any term be coined to this album, it would be- ambitious. Musical genius David Longstreth directs the madness and produces a masterpiece not to be reckoned with. It reaches far outside the four walls of mainstream, normal, or even desirable song-writing. Structure is not followed by a programmed way of thinking to appease the general audiences. "The Getty Address" could be classified as a modern opera claimed to be themed on Don Henley, ancient Mexico, oil business, post-9/11 America, etc. As varied as the lyrical content is, the music proves to be the "mad scientist's experiment". Numerous different orchestral, percussive, electronic and vocal noises are strung together, making a cross-cultural, timeless stew of an endeavor. One feels like "Walking In The Air", like in the movie The Snowman, minus the snow. The emotion this album instills is collected from societies across the globe by sounding so diverse and being unable to pin down. Longsteth's vocal chords soar from a gentle melody to a domineering gawk. "Kangaroo" can be heard swooning in three-part harmony on the track "Gilt Gold Scabs". A broken sounding banjo is accompanied by pan-flutes in the next track. At times, the orchestration can sound like a warm-up session where all the instruments are doing their own thing, but somehow it manages to come together. The songs frequently have a framework of loops consisting of: stripped down beats, rattling bass, or vocal onslaughts. The "chopped-up" sound of editing (which assuredly is done in purpose) can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable and annoying, but other than that, this album has so many new approaches to this thing we know as music.
It has become clear to me that the further I go back in Dirty Projector's discography, the more I must have an acquired taste to handle the carefree, harsh style they produce. This being the most experimental, it definitely needs to be approached with open ears and a bit of patience. This should be accepted as true art and the mixture of musician's heart and boundary-pushing should be acknowledged by all. To enhance your journey through this masterpiece, you should watch the animation made for this here- http://www.vsanna.com/. They did a great job of capturing the oddness and imagination of "The Getty Address".
Jolly Jolly Jolly Ego
Tour Along the Potomac
I Will Truck
Time Birthed Spilled Blood