Windows Open [EP]
Domino Recording Co. / Domino Recording Co. Ltd.
Dirty Projectors was always the cult-like home for Dave Longstreth and his musical ideas. He’s been written about in the #MeToo era as a near musical slave-driver and far worse. He had a very public breakup with one of the band’s best assets (Amber Coffman) then produced her solo album and basically produced a solo album under the name Dirty Projectors which was as much of a breakdown as it was a musical project – all as the band he hand-selected and whipped into shape took sides, splintered, fell to pieces.
Now picking up the pieces with a band that features Kristin Slipp, Felicia Douglass, Mike Johnson, Longstreth and the star of this brand new, four-track EP, singer/guitarist Maia Friedman, it’s about a rebuild; a modest rebuild – four slight songs clocking in at just 10 minutes in total.
I have no idea how I feel about Longstreth – but I have often thought he’s a very clever arranger, producer and musician and I admire his musical quirks. It doesn’t concern me what he’s like as a person but I did outgrow any interest in Dirty Projectors after being a fan for several albums and seeing a couple of quite extraordinary performances.
I’m really enjoying hearing from him – and particularly from Friedman – with this new slim volume.
It really does feel like a cautious but optimistic rebuild.
Opener, On The Breeze, is a gently strummed and plucked solo piece from Friedman – her voice stacked in its own Beach Boys-like harmony gesture. Some handclaps and a bowed bass line accompany her voice which starts to almost sound like a non-ironic Starland Vocal Band.
Overlord is the reminder of a classic Dirty Projectors sound though – the way Longstreth seems to endlessly find and shape brand new songs from what feel like old rescued folk rounds. Brittle drums and a couple of other voices join Friedman’s sweet lead here.
Search For Life is a fingerpicked guitar with violin hovering around it – for fans of Weyes Blood, maybe even the more recent Aldous Harding material…
Closing track, Guarding The Baby, has a Joni Mitchell feel (Blue-era) to the guitar motif and again it’s really just the solo offering of Friedman, at least vocally. There’s a beguiling melody to this – very pastoral late 60s, early 70s. Feels a bit like some of John Martyn’s early solo stuff – and of course his duo work with Beverley.
So, there we are. Four new songs. Cautious, but optimistic. Which is also exactly how I feel about recommending this “rebuild”. I hope to hear more in this vein. And soon.
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