Back in April of 2009, Stereogum organized a benefit show that featured a one-off collaboration between Björk and Dirty Projectors—a dream team of avant-garde composers and weird/pretty voices that only a select few got to witness. Now it appears as though those songs have been properly recorded in a studio, with the resulting 20-minute, seven-song collection—titled Mount Wittenberg Orca—available for download on June 30. As outlined in the below letter from Dirty Projectors leader David Longstreth, Mount was conceived around a narrative involving a family of whales, and recorded as quickly as possible in Brooklyn’s Rare Book Room with a minimum of overdubs. You can pre-order it now for $7; all proceeds will be donated to the preservation of marine wildlife.
In April 2009, Brandon Stosuy from Stereogum.com asked me if we wanted to play a benefit concert at a bookstore in New York. I said yes. He asked Björk the same thing, and she said yes. Then he asked us if we wanted to collaborate, and we said yes. Björk asked me what we should do, and I said, “I don’t know, I guess I’d really love to write a bunch of new songs for us to sing together?” And she said Yes.
That same month, Amber from Dirty Projectors was walking along a ridge on Mount Wittenberg, north of San Francisco. She was looking out at the ocean and saw a little family of whales, as you sometimes do in April on the Northern California coast. I wrote some songs about it and sent them to Björk, who agreed to sing the part of the mom whale. The songs became Mount Wittenberg Orca. Amber and Angel and Haley sang the part of the kid whales, and I sang the part of Amber. We sang all week long and learned the music just in time to perform it at the bookstore on May 8th.
Then our album Bitte Orca came out and we went on tour forever. We finally got a chance to record Wittenberg last month, almost exactly a year after we first sang it. We went into the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn and rehearsed it for three days, then we recorded it as quickly and as live as possible. We only overdubbed lead vocals and a guitar solo.
Now we’re making a website for it, which will be the only place you can buy it. It’s going be up June 30th (we are playing in Utrecht that day!) The music is going to be $7, because there are seven songs. You can preorder now if you click here.
We’ve decided to give away all the money that Wittenberg generates to the project of creating international marine protected areas. Only 1% of the oceans are protected in any way and this is a huge problem. We’re working with the National Geographic Society to create areas of sustainability, so the oceans don’t end up like a giant poisonous corpse hugging the continents. You can learn more about this project here and here and here and here.
We’re so psyched about how this recording came out and hope you are too. Don’t listen on those tinny computer speakers — put in on the stereo and blast dat shiiiiiiiiii!!