Dirty Projectors are a band so singularly unconventional that I wondered how they had managed to gain so much popular attention – although their recent David Byre collaboration (the excellent ‘Knotty Pine’, from Red Hot’s much admired ‘Dark Was the Night’ compilation) certainly must have helped. Dave Longstreth,  we are told, studied classical composition at Yale University, a fact that informs his renegade time-signatures and the tricksy, rug-pulling complexity of his recordings. Moreover, he sings like someone doing an impromptu impression of Anthony Hegarty, or even Jeff Buckley, with dubious accuracy, and on Bitte Orca is as at home producing lilting chamber folk as contemporary R&B, two genres not normally caught dead in each other’s company. In fact, these unlikely bedfellows form the album’s stunning centrepiece tracks featuring the female vocalists (presumably) adorning the cover artwork: the summery soul of ‘Stillness is the Move’, sung by Amber Coffman, which sounds like Aaliyah; and the lilting, orchestral ’Two Doves’, which could be Joanna Newsom, but is in fact Angel Deradoorian. That’s right, Aaliyah and Joanna Newsom. (more…)