There are concept albums, and then there is The Getty Address by the Dirty Projectors. The Getty Address takes us on a bizarre journey with Don Henley, yes the Don Henley from the Eagles. Henley embarks on a spiritual journey accompanied by some of the most groundbreaking unique music ever heard. The album is accompanied by a booklet detailing Henley’s journey as well as the bizarre lyrics. I am not really sure what the significance of Henley is, but the spiritual aspect is what really shines through. Listening to this album will change you and possibly your genetic makeup.
I personally am a big fan of vocals as I think most people are. Vocals can make or break an album. Dave Longstreth has an amazingly unique and powerful voice, his vocals wander aimlessly, with no real consistent melody, but so incredibly tight. The falsetto-vocal moans in tandem with the deep horn drones are as inspiring and fearsome as staring into the face of the Old Testament Judeo-Christian God. Do not make direct eye contact! The vocal melodies overall will melt your bones while leaving your flesh intact. The singing is so amazing that most of the time the listener is too blown away to really focus on the lyrics, not that they necessarily make sense anyway (“Gilt Gold Scabs” has a chorus of “Kangarwomb” which the notes say “His mental chorus suggests the word Kangarwomb because Henley’s place is like the external womb of a kangaroo).
Track one, “I sit on a ridge at dusk”, opens with horn murmurs, a choir singing in a haunting language and heavy ass beats. Chattering wondering cowbell enter the mix as well as straggling xylophone of some sort. This track feels religious, like the listener is really embarking on something. Out of this intro of sorts the vocals come in accompanied with thick layers of horns. This is sunrise, this is creation, this is enlightenment. Don’t be scared, Don Henley is right here with you.
Transitions seamlessly to “But in the Headlights”. The Wayward vocals are accompanied by rusty saxophone and harpsichord or banjo keeping a plodding beat. The instrumentation ends up swallowing the vocals and then fade out with a brigade of horns.
“Warholian Wigs” opens with drone and the cowbell theme is back with sleigh bells. Stuttered and chopped clips of keyboards and horns are scattered about like dead leafs. Bass and bass kick establish a head-sliding beat. Abrupt stop into a short acoustic guitar break down. The horns and flutes build and become sour as the vocals reenter furrowed and concerned.
Next is “I Will Truck” which is my favorite of the album. Unusual percussion of finger snaps, shakers and other percussive sounds build and are joined by flute and deep strings stutters. Handclaps and broken guitar enter the mix. Head will bob and hips will twitch to the beat. As always the vocals are fucking red-hot. The other great track of the album is “Not Having Found.” Stuttered echoes and fat beats really show the best production of the album. It is almost a dance track at times.
The Getty Address has amazing vocals, smooth subdued to blaring horn sections, glitched chopped strewn samples and bassy bass kicks underneath it all. The music is highly orchestrated and detailed which sometimes boarders on a movie score. The Dirty Projectors have created a different sound without being so far on the fringe to turn off the listener. This is an album that will change a listener’s views about music; an absolute must listen. Only the brave of heart will dare undertake The Getty Address and survive.