Looking back on the blog from a few months back about The Dirty Projectors’ “Bitte Orca”, I found myself talking – like most other critics did, of course – about the contemporary R&B influence on the band, especially to the fore on “Stillness Is The Move”.

Looking back on the blog from a few months back about The Dirty Projectors’ “Bitte Orca”, I found myself talking – like most other critics did, of course – about the contemporary R&B influence on the band, especially to the fore on “Stillness Is The Move”.



Good comments on that thread, and one from Fanz stands out this morning: “Wouldn’t it be great to hear ‘Stillness Is The Move’ on some mainstream R’n’B radio?” Excitingly, in an unusual bit of cross-genre back-and-forthing, we might do soon: a cover of “Stillness” has surfaced this week by Beyonce’s sister, Solange.

In that last blog, I said something about the original not being materially any weirder than one of Timbaland’s productions for Aaliyah, and Solange’s terrific version proves that. In fact, if anything, it manages to sound a little straighter than something like “One In A Million”, while still remaining utterly faithful to the serpentine complexities of the original.

More assiduous bloggers than I have identified the sample as the same one used by Erykah Badu on “Bag Lady”, and it’s interesting that while the Dirty Projectors seemed to be organically reconfiguring digital, futuristic R&B on the original, Solange’s version is consequently closer to the vibes of the nu-soul scene; warmer and fuzzier, maybe, rather than precision-tooled.

What would be really fascinating, though, would be if she’d had a crack at one of the songs sung by Dave Longstreth on the album, because I’m increasingly unsure whether the perceived awkwardness of “Bitte Orca”, and the Dirty Projectors’ catalogue in general, is actually almost entirely down to Longstreth’s voice being a bit of a chewy proposition at times (though I think Billy Bragg’s curious comparison with Mika at the Uncut Music Awards was a bit of stretch). Maybe Solange has got her brother-in-law prepping a version of “Temecula Sunrise” for “The Blueprint 4”?