Björk & Dirty Projectors’ Mount Wittenberg Orca, Born From Stereogum Collab, Is Getting A Deluxe Reissue

Björk & Dirty Projectors’ Mount Wittenberg Orca, Born From Stereogum Collab, Is Getting A Deluxe Reissue

In 2008, Stereogum released a free compilation called Enjoyed: A Tribute To Björk’s Post. On that comp, indie artists — Liars, No Age, Xiu Xiu, Final Fantasy and Ed Droste — covered all the songs from Björk’s iconic 1995 LP. For the Enjoyed comp, Dirty Projectors came up with their own version of Björk’s “Hyperballad,” and this led to Brandon Stosuy, then a staffer at Stereogum, organizing a collaboration between Dirty Projectors and Björk herself.

In May of 2009, Björk and Dirty Projectors played a benefit show at Housing Works, a small bookshop in Manhattan. Stereogum promoted that show. Rather than playing the songs that they’d already released, Björk and the band came up with a suite of new songs, specifically for that performance. They built the songs around the unamplified harmonies of Björk and that era’s Dirty Projectors lineup. A year after the performance, Björk and Dirty Projectors recorded those songs at Brooklyn’s Rare Book Room, and they came out as the 2010 EP Mount Wittenberg Orca. That EP has been out of print for a long time, but it’s now getting a deluxe reissue.

On Record Store Day, April 22, Dirty Projectors will release a double-LP edition of Mount Wittenberg Orca. The new version will feature the 13 tracks of unreleased material, including the original Housing Works performance, early demos of the songs, and audio of Björk and Dirty Projectors rehearsing those songs. Stereogum provided archival photos and concert audio and video for the reissue. Here’s what Dirty Projectors leader Dave Longstreth has to say about the collaboration:

Mount Wittenberg Orca might be my favorite thing from this chapter of Dirty Projectors. It feels like sort of a dark horse in the catalog. Which I guess is kinda funny, considering it’s a collaborative record with Björk. We were overwhelmed with the hype around the band at the time and purposely under-messaged it. But I love these songs. And as a basically live-in-studio album, it’s the only official release that shows how this lineup really cooked as a band. The performances and engineering hold up really well. And of course Björk elevates us to a different level of protean majesty. I remember being spontaneously in tears during her vocal takes for “Sharing Orb.” I’m also excited to share the original Housing Works show, in its raw beauty, as well as the writing tapes and rehearsals that show how the whole thing came together. Thanks for listening.

Below, listen to the previously unreleased live version of “On And Ever Onward,” recorded at that Housing Works show, and check out the tracklist for the Mount Wittenberg Orca expanded edition.

Side A
01 “Ocean”
02 “On And Ever Onward”
03 “When The World Comes To An End”
04 “Beautiful Mother”

Side B
01 “Sharing Orb”
02 “No Embrace”
03 “All We Are”

Side C
01 “Intro (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
02 “Ocean (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
03 “On And Ever Onward (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
04 “When The World Comes To An End (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
05 “Beautiful Mother (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
06 “Sharing Orb (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
07 “No Embrace (Live from Housing Works 2009)”
08 “All We Are (Live from Housing Works 2009)”

Side D
01 “Wave Invocation (MWO I Inverness Demo)”
02 “Motherwhale Song (MWO II Inverness Demo)”
03 “Whale Watcher Song (MWO III Inverness Demo)”
04 “Fugal Swim (MWO IV Inverness Demo)”
05 “First Duet (MWO V Inverness Demo)”
06 “Migration (Unfinished MWO VI Inverness Demo)”
07 “Jubilation (MWO VII Inverness Demo)”
08 “Benediction (MWO VIII Inverness Demo)”
09 “When The World Comes To An End (Freewrite Demo)”
10 “When The World Comes To An End (Vocalise Rehearsal Rough)”
11 “Beautiful Mother (Vocalise Rehearsal Rough)”
12 “On And Ever Onward (Full Rehearsal Rough)”

The expanded edition of the Mount Wittenberg Orca EP is out 4/22, Record Store Day, on Domino.

Ryan Muir

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