Medúlla

Track list:
1. Pleasure Is All Mine
2. Show Me Forgiveness
3. Where Is The Line
4. Vökuró
5. Öll Birtan
6. Who Is It
7. Submarine
8. Desired Constellation
9. Oceania
10. Sonnets / Unrealities XI
11. Ancestors
12. Mouth's Cradle
13. Miðvikudags
14. Triumph Of A Heart

Where to begin? When Björk came out with Vespertine she wanted the album to sound microscopic, in contrast to her earlier work, which had a driving rhythm and a tendency to lean in the big beat direction. There is no doubt that she has always been a visionary musician, and her attention to detail - even in the early albums - is impeccable. But before Vespertine we were accustomed to a Björk who would make us shake our asses as a first priority; the fact that she was an accomplished classical composer could seep into our heads via the postmodern melodies. For Vespertine, Björk used a different approach; she states in an interview that Vespertine is a more internal and private album, and so she tries to make the beats as small as possible. She says in an interview that she's weary of the trend that every genre of music (especially those with electronic influence) is being tailored to huge, amplified bassy speakers and her goal is to make Vespertine and album that sounds better coming out of cheap laptop speakers.

So, in a loose sense, Vespertine is a concept album, though not necessarily chronologically. So it is with Medúlla. With her newest studio release, Björk asks the simple question: "What would happen if I made an album with no instruments but the human voice?" She ends up corralling together a motley crew of musicians ranging from a japanese sound-imitator to Rahzel of The Roots to an accomplished Icelandic choir, just to name a few. She gives them loose instructions on what to do and how, and the result is frankly quite overwhelming.

The music definitely leans a little towards pretentious. The harmonies laid out by the choir are anything but simple. Most of the tracks have little or no rhythmical backbone. Björk's compositional genius really shines through on this album; she creates a lot with a little, which is definitely hard to do in today's music "marketplace," but also in general. Björk's same soulful voice and favored melody lines are present on this new album; for those listeners who have spent enough time checking out the rest of her discography, you can really tell that Björk's soul is in the music. This album is not easy, but she didn't want it to be. I would hardly place it in the "pop" aisle in a music store, save for the fact that Björk has produced pop albums in the past. This album is an accomplishment only attainable by a real artist. Like her or not, Björk creates important music for our ears but also for the rest of the pop landscape.

Me*dul"la (?), n. [L.]

1.

Marrow; pith; hence, essence.

[Obs.]

Milton.

2. Anat.

The marrow of bones; the deep or inner portion of an organ or part; as, the medulla, or medullary substance, of the kidney; specifically, the medula oblongata.

3. Bot.

A soft tissue, occupying the center of the stem or branch of a plant; pith.

Medulla oblongata. [L., oblong medulla] Anat., the posterior part of the brain connected with the spinal cord. It includes all the hindbrain except the cerebellum and pons, and from it a large part of the cranial nerves arise. It controls very largely respiration, circulation, swallowing, and other functions, and is the most vital part of the brain; -- called also bulb of the spinal cord. See Brain.

 

© Webster 1913.

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