Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Inner Part of an Animal or Plant Structure

medúlla, the inner or deep part of an animal or plant structure

Review by Reuben

Daring. Bold. Creative. Visceral. "Medúlla" is one of the most breathtaking albums to grace 2004. Amidst all the hype, the oddity and the brash creative overhaul of overrated instruments, Björk manages to serve up some flashes of brilliance. In true animalistic fetish, the stunning lead single "Oceania" transforms the swan-like creator into a glittering jelly-fish at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony at Athens. In what can be the most anticipated album from this intriguing musician and performer, "Oceania" is pure tapestry. With structure based purely on vocal samples and an ethereal Icelandic choir, this is the strongest link between the listener and Björk's highly layered themes and complex imagery.

Always insisting on fusing her explosive art and vision into her music, Björk herself becomes an instrument in her deeply personal and raw fifth studio album, "Medúlla". Stating her music belongs to "caves, straw huts and grottos", it is easy to see that she does not want the world to hear her "Medúlla". Well, not the Top 40 pop world anyway. In a move that will definitely isolate her music from the rest, Björk is definitely not looking for commercial success to applaud her creativity or musicianship.

The album's opener, "Pleasure Is All Mine," simulates a lush arrangement, densely layered with humanity. The cry from the choir is heart-warming, as the melody overtakes the sensors in what seems like an overload. It lures the listener into a false security of a beautiful landscape. But actually, it is only a precursor to the madness and oddity "Medúlla" has to offer. The beauty of taking something impossible, such as sampling vocals instead of sounds or instruments, into music that doesn't sound like an entity entirely made up of vocals is pure genius. Much praise can be given to Björk and her host of overworked producers.

"Songs" such as "Where Is The Line?" is converted from the live, crowd-favourite stomping version of anger and angst electronica and bass into a subdued but very empowering choral piece. "Vökuró" extends this with an epic hymn. Not shying from her roots, Icelandic poetry is sung to the wondrous choir that conveys such softness, such harmony that one can only appreciate the stark meaning of the song, which is to be "vigil".

In under an hour, the album dissipates, ending abruptly and short-changing the magic with silence. Another ploy to deceive listeners with "music"? Or has the album really finished? In all fairness, such burst of eccentric creativity is just that. A burst. But if you survive the journey, you will be rewardingly pleased.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

:D hi from a 4umer- very well thought-out review of the album!!

keep blogging.

come visit and say hi!

7:21 pm  
Blogger Reuben said...


Thank you for dropping by and posting an encouraging comment! Will check out the website!



8:00 am  

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