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Björk - Homogenic CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.87 | 204 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Homogenic' sees BJORK begin the path of experimentation that has led to her presence here on ProgArchives. Though none of this music sounds remotely like it came from the 70s, it is still progressive.

To my ears - and I knew nothing of BJORK's influences when I first heard this - this album is founded in the rhythms of the WARP stable of progressive electronic/IDM musicians. 'Hunter' begins with an AUTECHRE-like series of blips, though it fills out in a way AUTECHRE never did. I heard PLAID in 'Joga', that lovely, almost jazzy rhythm behind those wonderful strings. (It is certain BJORK was acquainted with PLAID's work during this period, as they remixed 'All Is Full Of Love'). Two songs in and no sweet melodies like her first two albums: she is no longer looking to the market, but instead looking within. This album is darker, colder, smothered with ice and rumbling with suppressed volcanic activity as befits an album about her home country of Iceland and, as the title suggests, that feeling is present throughout the album. Certainly she'd done nothing as somber as 'Unravel' before... and then there's 'Bachelorette', offering us a musical and lyrical palette as broad as you can imagine. This track is justly well known for its delicious combination of rhythm, strings and oh-so-poignant vocals.

It turns out that BJORK collaborated with LFO's Mark Bell (among others) for this album. I don't know why I didn't spot that at the time: LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) was responsible for one of the seminal albums of the 1990s in 'Frequencies'. If you want insight into why this album sounds the way it does, have a listen to LFO.

The second half of the album abandons any pretense of pretty dance music. Here is the portrait of an artist ready to try anything. On occasion she overreaches herself, as with the adventurous '5 Years', a glitch-laden rhythm that fails to convince, but mostly she produces worthy material, certainly more weighty than that of 'Post', her previous album. At times the sheer outrageousness of what she does comes together brilliantly, as in 'Pluto'. I'm particularly fond of 'All Is Full Of Love' - perhaps as much for the stunning video as for the song itself. I can see why this album was an almost unanimous critic's favourite, though to describe it as the electronic album of the decade is to ignore an enormous body of work to which BJORK owes a great deal. It is good, yes, but BJORK could do even better than this.

russellk | 4/5 |


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