Medúlla [DualDisc]

Medúlla [DualDisc]

by Björk
     
 

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It's hard to accuse Björk of making music influenced by commercial or critical expectations at any point in her career, but her post-Homogenic work is even more focused on following her bliss, whether that means acting and singing in Lars Von Trier's grim musical Dancer in the Dark; craftingSee more details below

Overview

It's hard to accuse Björk of making music influenced by commercial or critical expectations at any point in her career, but her post-Homogenic work is even more focused on following her bliss, whether that means acting and singing in Lars Von Trier's grim musical Dancer in the Dark; crafting tiptoeing laptop lullabies on Vespertine; or, in the case of Medúlla, sculpting an album out of almost nothing but singing and vocal samples. The album's title and concept refer to the purest essence of something, and Medúlla explores both the ritual power of the human voice and some of the most essential themes of Björk's music in a way that's both primal and elaborate. It took a large cast of characters to make the album's seemingly organic sound, including vocalists ranging from Icelandic and British choirs to Inuit singers to Mike Patton and Robert Wyatt; programmers like Matmos, Mark Bell, and Mark "Spike" Stent; and beatboxers such as Rahzel and the onomatopoeically named Japanese artist Dokaka. Several songs are sung in Icelandic, which works especially well, not only because it ties in with Medúlla's concept, but also because of the language's sonic qualities: the rolling Rs, guttural stops, and elongated vowels reflect the alternately chopped and soaring arrangements behind them. Neopaganism and unfettered sensuality also wind through the album, particularly on "Mouth's Cradle," along with meditative, Vespertine-like pieces such as "Desired Constellation." Medúlla is unusually intimate: Björk's voice is miked very closely, and with the dense layers of vocals surrounding her, it often sounds as if you're listening to the album from inside her larynx. Some of the heavy breathing, grunts, and ululating woven into the album come close to provoking physical reactions: the eerie sighs and throat singing on the feral "Ancestors" make the chest ache and suggest a particularly melodic pack of wolves. Meanwhile, there's something simian about Dokaka's gleeful babbling and beats on "Triumph of a Heart." Despite its gentler moments, Medúlla's raw rhythms and rarefied choral washes make it the most challenging work of Björk's career. "Where Is the Line" is one of her tough, no-nonsense songs, and Rahzel's hard-hitting beats make it starker than anything on Homogenic. Even relatively accessible songs, like the gone-native loveliness of "Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right)" and "Oceania," which Björk wrote for the 2004 Athens Olympics, have an alien quality that is all the stranger considering that nearly all of their source material is human (except for the odd keyboard or two). Actually, fans of world, contemporary classical, or avant-garde music might find more to appreciate in Medúlla than anyone looking for a "Human Behaviour" or "It's Oh So Quiet." It's not an immediate album, but it is a fascinating one, especially for anyone interested in the world's oldest instrument being used in unexpected ways. [In 2006, Medúlla was reissued as a DualDisc that featured the full album on the CD side, and the album in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound, plus the videos for the singles, on the DVD side.]

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/25/2006
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0081227332723
catalogNumber:
73327

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Pleasure Is All Mine  - Tanya Tagaq Gillis
  2. Show Me Forgiveness  -  Björk
  3. Where Is the Line  -  Icelandic Choir
  4. Vökuró  -  Icelandic Choir
  5. Öll Birtan  -  Björk
  6. Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right)  - Tanya Tagaq Gillis
  7. Submarine  -  Björk
  8. Desired Constellation  -  Icelandic Choir
  9. Oceania  -  Björk
  10. Sonnets/Unrealities XI  -  Björk
  11. Ancestors  - Tanya Tagaq Gillis
  12. Mouth's Cradle  - Tanya Tagaq Gillis
  13. Midvikudags  -  Björk
  14. Triumph of a Heart  -  Björk

Disc 2

  1. Pleasure Is All Mine  -  Björk
  2. Show Me Forgiveness  -  Björk
  3. Where Is the Line  -  Björk
  4. Vökuró  -  Björk
  5. Öll Birtan  -  Björk
  6. Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right)  -  Björk
  7. Submarine  -  Björk
  8. Desired Constellation  -  Björk
  9. Oceania  -  Björk
  10. Sonnets/Unrealities XI  -  Björk
  11. Ancestors  -  Björk
  12. Mouth's Cradle  -  Björk
  13. Midvikudags  -  Björk
  14. Triumph of a Heart  -  Björk
  15. Oceania  -  Björk
  16. Who Is It  -  Björk
  17. Triumph of a Heart  -  Björk
  18. Desired Constellation  -  Björk
  19. Where Is the Line  -  Björk

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Björk   Primary Artist
Robert Wyatt   Sampling
Yona Dunsford   Choir, Chorus
Melanie Marshall   Choir, Chorus
Gregory Purnhagen   Trombone
Peter Van Hooke   Gong
Micaela Haslam   Choir, Chorus
Sarah Eyden   Choir, Chorus
Janet Mooney   Choir, Chorus
Helen Hampton   Choir, Chorus
Ann DeRenais   Choir, Chorus
Jacqueline Barron   Choir, Chorus
Rachel Chapman   Choir, Chorus
Heather Chirncross   Choir, Chorus
Tarsha Colt   Choir, Chorus
Guðrún Finnbjarnardóttir   Alto (Vocal)
Inga Harðardóttir   Soprano (Vocal)
Anna Hinriksdóttir   Alto (Vocal)
Hugrún Hólmgeirsdóttir   Soprano (Vocal)
Benedikt Ingólfsson   Bass (Vocal)
Elfa Ingvadóttir   Soprano (Vocal)
Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson   Tenor (Vocal)
Jónína Guðrún KristinsdóttirÞ   Alto (Vocal)
Nico Muhly   Piano
Helen Pakker   Choir, Chorus
Hjálmar Pétursson   Bass (Vocal)
Samantha Shaw   Choir, Chorus
Jude Sim   Choir, Chorus
Sarah Simmondi   Choir, Chorus
Karen Woodhowe   Choir, Chorus
Mark Blakkat Bell   Synthesizer Bass
Icelandic Choir   Track Performer
Örn Arnarson   Bass (Vocal)
Gísli Magna   Tenor (Vocal)
þorbjörn Sigurðsson   Tenor (Vocal)
Björn Thorarensen   Tenor (Vocal)
Tanya Tagaq Gillis   Track Performer
Emma Brain-Gabbott   Choir, Chorus
Jenny O'Grady   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Björk   Composer
Neil Dorfsman   Engineer
Jake Davies   Programming,Engineer
Rahzel   beats
e.e. cummings   Composer
Magga Stina   Choir Arrangement
Olivier Alary   Composer,Programming
Mark Blakkat Bell   Programming,Producer
Andrea Helgadottir   Coloration
MM   Art Direction
Tanya Tagaq Gillis   Composer
Valgeir Sigurðsson   Programming,Engineer

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