By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
How the album itself will be conveyed is a different matter entirely. There's a reason Longstreth had to duet with his computer five years ago, and not simply because he didn't have a band at the time. It's that no band would be able to perform music like this. No band, that is, other than New York's 20-piece chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound. The group rose to prominence in 2005, when it recorded Acoustica, an album of pitch-perfect Aphex Twin covers. That may make it the only orchestra on Earth qualified to execute this album in the time allotted.
"When Dave told me we'd have two months, I cracked up. The idea seemed absolutely crazy," says Alarm Will Sound conductor Alan Pierson. He initially became a fan of Longstreth's upon hearing The Getty Address in 2005. "But taking that record back from the computer world and into the acoustic one has always appealed to me. It's a huge amount of work, but the challenge for us isn't the complexity — it's figuring out how to make the sounds."
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Pierson likens the process to alchemy or cooking: "A pinch of this or that to get that weird effect you're hearing."
Ensemble member Matt Marks spent the better part of a month scoring every intricacy of The Getty Address. When asked to estimate the number of hours he worked on it, Marks laughs, and instead shares an anecdote. "I'd just gotten a new pair of jeans for Christmas and hadn't washed them yet. And there was this period of two weeks where all I did was sit on my ass and transcribe music, from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. At the end, I looked down, and my off-white Ikea chair had turned blue."
His devotion seems to be shared by all of those involved — some 130 players will grace the stage before the night is over — in the three separate rehearsals occurring around the clock at opposite ends of the country. Pierson says there are a thousand decisions to be made between now and Saturday, but like Longstreth, he's confident that they'll get there — and mostly blind to how immense "there" actually is.
The Dirty Projectors, Alarm Will Sound and the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sat., Feb. 27.
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