||"Who Is It"
||"Sonnets / Unrealities XI"
Our favorite Icelandic chanteuse returns with another genre bending
assault on the senses. Bjork finally jumps off the deep end and
into the intimate sound of her own voice and those of hand picked
collaborators including Mike Patton, Robert Wyatt, Rahzel, throat
singers, and both the London and Icelandic Choir. Medulla
was recorded in various bedrooms and spaces around the world over
the past year, including a deserted volcanic island off the coast
of Africa. What sets this apart from past albums? Originally recorded
with live instruments, she removed them for the final mix leaving
this un-nerving yet starkly beautiful set of songs. This is mainly
an a cappella assemblage; the focus and weight falls upon the voice
more than ever before
Fitting in line with both Selma Songs and Vespertine,
Medulla is an exercise in deconstruction and reinvention.
How can something so natural like the human voice sound so foreign
and alien, or beautiful and frightening? Over 14 short and sweet
pieces that find her whispering, screaming and harmonizing, being
both present and translucent, you'll find the answer. Co-production
comes from now mainstay Mark Bell with a few clicks from Matmos,
whose expertise in dissecting the human body in musical form is
utilized to great effect. Most beats come mainly from Rahzel (formally
of the Roots), giving her tons of bass and low end to work with.
If you were wondering how she could outdo herself, she's done
it -- and this in a world continuing to loose touch with the human
element, with the pure primal power of the human voice. Bjork
more than re-invents herself; she makes the most of what's she
got, dodges the trends, and comes up with an intriguing, challenging,
and heartfelt way to use them. Medulla is NOT a dance record,
though it has its moments of energy, nor is it super sleepy or
chill. Bjork still can create a tornado out of a whisper and this
is a fully realized experiment that will inspire. [DG]