Medúlla [DualDisc]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
It's hard to accuse Bj?rk 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 Med?lla, 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 Med?lla explores both the ritual power of the human voice and some of the most essential themes of Bj?rk's music in a way that's both primal and elaborate. It took a ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
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: 7/25/2006
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • UPC: 081227332723
  • Catalog Number: 73327

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Pleasure Is All Mine - Tanya Tagaq Gillis (3:26)
  2. 2 Show Me Forgiveness (1:23)
  3. 3 Where Is the Line - The Icelandic Choir (4:41)
  4. 4 Vökuró - The Icelandic Choir (3:14)
  5. 5 Öll Birtan (1:52)
  6. 6 Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right) - Tanya Tagaq Gillis (3:57)
  7. 7 Submarine (3:13)
  8. 8 Desired Constellation - The Icelandic Choir (4:55)
  9. 9 Oceania (3:24)
  10. 10 Sonnets/Unrealities XI (1:59)
  11. 11 Ancestors - Tanya Tagaq Gillis (4:08)
  12. 12 Mouth's Cradle - Tanya Tagaq Gillis (3:59)
  13. 13 Midvikudags (1:24)
  14. 14 Triumph of a Heart (4:04)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Pleasure Is All Mine
  2. 2 Show Me Forgiveness
  3. 3 Where Is the Line
  4. 4 Vökuró
  5. 5 Öll Birtan
  6. 6 Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right)
  7. 7 Submarine
  8. 8 Desired Constellation
  9. 9 Oceania
  10. 10 Sonnets/Unrealities XI
  11. 11 Ancestors
  12. 12 Mouth's Cradle
  13. 13 Midvikudags
  14. 14 Triumph of a Heart
  15. 15 Oceania
  16. 16 Who Is It
  17. 17 Triumph of a Heart
  18. 18 Desired Constellation
  19. 19 Where Is the Line
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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
The 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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