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Björk

 

Crossover Prog

3.43 | 91 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Bjork may not be to my taste on some albums but I am still drawn to hear more of her material to see what she has come up with, and a friend of mine has the full collection so I had to borrow these CDs to learn more of this popular unique but extremely off kilter artist. As soon as the album begins you are in Bjork's world. Bjork's voice is unique, high piercing and wavering imperfectly throughout, and her fanbase wouldn't have it any other way. She sounds to me like an imperfect Kate Bush. There are more strings, cellos, violins and orchestrations than other albums and that was good thing in my opinion. The music is excellent and symphonically charged, with some electronic passages, but Bjork's voice is one that you will either love or hate. To be fair she really is a genius of the absurd, totally original, shakey and vulnerable, and sometimes uncomfortably sad in her tones.

Listening to Army of Me, I can detect slabs of electronica and her multi tracked vocals are very nice to hear. I love the melody of this and the Daft Punk deep bass synths are mesmirising. This is a very eerie song but definitely one of my Bjork faves. The dark atmosphere is driven by serious vocals, lyrics and deep downbeat tones. Hyper-Ballad has a deep bass and electronic drums to begin with, and then Bjork's distant high register vocals talk of living on a mountain at the top, and walking toward the edge to throw car parts, bottles and cutlery off the edge. As usual everything is morbid and sound like the ravings of a deranged mind. Nevertheless it is compelling and draws you into her darkened rage. She imagines what her body feels like slamming on those rocks, and she wishes to be sane again; so not a happy song by any means.

From this suicidal depression we move to The Modern Things, that has a mixed to the front Bjork voice and a basstronic vibe. The way she forces out the vocals is kind of interesting at first but it wears thin after a while. The lyrics are nonsensical unless you want to get into Bjork's brain and that is not a nice place to be. This is dark stuff and of course will appeal to many for that reason.

It's Oh So Quiet is one I had heard on MTV with its weird broadway dance clip, so it was strangely familiar though I had forgotten the melody. The strings on this are endearing and its jazz reminds me of the stuff Neil Peart does on his latest drum solos. Bjork is at her nuttiest here ssh-ing us to listen, and acting like a cabaret jazz act. It is fun and she loves to scream at times which is a nice change from all the high vocals. The chimes on this are more chilling than nice, and of course this was a single and nothing really like the rest of her catalogue.

Enjoy is very dark, scratchy effects and Gary Numan industrial synths; I like that deep sound. Bjork's voice is distant and melodic. "I wish I only love you, I wish implicitly" she croons as the synths gyrate like house music. The electronic rhythms are overpowering but somehow this really works. You've Been Flirting Again is another of the ballads Bjork likes to perform to show her vulnerable sad side. I never like them on her other albums, and this is no different. It is painfully slow and has a repetitive violin sound.

Isobel has more orchestral arrangements, a brass section and ambient strings, until an electro-drum begins and scratchy guitar. Bjork sings of being in "a forest pitch as dark, my name Isobel married to myself". The strings are luscious and sweeping, and overall this is a nice song.

Possibly Maybe is a quiet song with a lone organ motif, and Bjork's vulnerable voice overlayed as sinister strings are heard. The atmosphere is bleak and esoteric as a slow bass pulse is heard down tuned and electronic.

I Miss You has an electro pulse and a fast paced percussion sequence. Bjork says she misses me though she hasn't met me yet, but I can't relate to what she is on about; perhaps an imaginary relationship is not as painful as the real deal so she fantasises about the untouchable lover who is out there somewhere ready to sweep her off her feet.

Cover Me is a short thing with creepy keyboards and a mad whispering vocal that is sinister and haunting. Not my taste at all but it is quite a unique minimalist piece, the keyboards are progressive and almost improvisational. It ends with Headphones, with a low key humming keyboard and Bjork singing like the previous song, whispering quietly without force, just taking it easy voicing phrases such as "they haven't been touched before, these sounds are virgins, my headphones they saved my life, lulled me to sleep, nothing will be the same, I like this resonance, it elevates me, I don't recognise myself, this is very interesting." A compelling eerie song that says something about how music becomes our companion in our darkest hour.

So ends a satisfactory album, and I was quite fascinated by most of it. Bjork fans will love this no doubt as she is in her element here, having fun shocking the establishment and twisting music to form her own style.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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