BjÃ¶rk Goes for the MedÃºlla
Bjâˆšâˆ‚rk has often been the ambitious experimenter of pop; she enjoys testing innovative ideas. You have a good idea of where she comes from artistically, yet she manages to keep surprising you.Her latest effort is no different. In fact, it may be her most ambitious work yet – an album made entirely by the human voice, with almost no instrumentation. It could be called an accapella album, but the mixing is so well done that at times the listener forgets they are hearing only voices, sampled and remixed. Featuring such notable vocalists as Rahzel, Mike Patton, Dokaka and the Icelandic Choir, Medâˆšâˆ«lla is an exploration worth listening to.
The sound is not as carnal or tribal as expected, though it’s still base and organic in nature. This is not surprising considering the title means “marrow,” or the middle/essence of something. The songs vary from deep, grinding, and rhythmic (“Where Is The Line”) to ethereal, classic and angelic (“Vâˆšâˆ‚kurâˆšâ‰¥”). Some sound like strange, half-concocted experiments (“âˆšÃ±ll Birtan” & “Ancestors”), while others feel like finished, well-constructed and elegant pieces (“Who Is It” & “Mouth’s Cradle”). Most of the album is in a minor key, which gives it a sweet ‘n sour melancholy feel. The album closes with “Triumph of the Heart,” an almost danceable closer that, save for the lack of an electronic break-beat track, almost sounds like good old-fashioned Bjâˆšâˆ‚rk.
There are no pop standards here, which is thankful considering the thought of such an attempt with nothing but the human voice makes one cringe. The experimentation is respectable. Groundbreaking, perhaps it is not. Still, Medâˆšâˆ«lla is a worthy part of any Bjâˆšâˆ‚rk collection.