Those of you who have never spent much time in Buffalo may not grasp just how much goes on here, and the difficult decisions its residents must sometimes make, particularly those who are music obsessives. Today, for instance, I'll be spending most of the day and evening at the Albright-Knox for their unfortunately named annual fundraiser, "Rockin' at the Knox." The headliner is Wilco, and there will also be a virtual marathon of local bands on the bill, but I'm really going for My Morning Jacket and one final chance to check out the Forman Collection, which, while it would make a great band name, is in fact a large exhibition of monochromatic paintings (not normally one of my favorite things, but the group installation of them is perversely fascinating, as if a rainbow had been solidified, dissected, and mounted in a museum).
So where's the difficult decision, you ask? Well, across town at the same time tonight I could be seeing Dirty Projectors at Soundlab. I was not familiar with DP until I read this description:
The new album from Dirty Projectors, The Getty Address, is an epic glitch-opera about Don Henley, leader of the country/soft-rock group The Eagles. It was recorded over the course of almost two years in three different states with more than twenty-five people... Dave Longstreth, the primary Dirty Projector, wrote and recorded arrangements for wind septet, women's choir, and cello octet, digitally deconstructed them, and then sang over the reconstituted parts in order to make these songs. They are in English and a sleepily transliterated gibberish of lyrics from Longstreth's out of print teenage masterpiece The Graceful-Fallen Mango, and the Eagles' Greatest Hits Volume 1.
The Getty Address is about the conflict of Hernan Cortes and the Aztecs in 1519-21. It is also a meditation on the question of what is wilderness in a world completely circumscribed by highways, and what is the meaning of America once the "Manifest Destiny" imperative has expired completely.
This sounds absolutely amazing, and if I didn't already have tickets to one show, I'd be at the other in a heartbeat. I pass this info along to you for three reasons:
1. To invite you to share my pain,
2. For the opportunity to insert a reference here to Elton John: The Rock Opera, a self-explanatory event I participated in (and co-wrote with its mastermind, Steve Griffith) sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, and
3. To steer some of you--and you know who you are--to check out those Projectors yourself, either on disc or on tour. (I've heard not a lick of music yet, but their label's site contains samples, a video, and more.)