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Björk - The Music From Drawing Restraint 9 CD (album) cover

THE MUSIC FROM DRAWING RESTRAINT 9

Björk

 

Crossover Prog

1.60 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
1 stars "Music From Drawing Restraint 9" is the soundtrack to Bjork's partner/ director Matthew Barney. I haven't seen "Drawing Restraint 9" but the film trailer looks very disturbing, and the soundtrack sounds weird and off kilter. Mayumi Miyata is one of the best sho players, a 16 reed Japanese instrument and her talents are utilised here on the soundtrack. I read that the art house movie focusses on events onboard a Japanese whaling vessel. The first hour or so has no dialogue at all, it is certainly not the average film, and there are surreal images of the guests eating black jello and acting like a bizarre cult. Bjork is one of the guests who is invited to partake in a formal Japanese tea ceremony. Things get very bizarre as they indulge in Shinto marriage rites, that end up with them emerging themselves in a kiss that reunites the lovers in a limited matrimony and with the ocean itself. There is apparently a disturbing scene where the lovers turn into whales and are consumed by the guests like sushi. Well, it is what it is and the music here is as bizarre and off kilter.

'Gratitude' is minimalist harp chimes, musical boxes and the male vocals of Will Oldham. To be honest I was not that taken with this as I wanted to hear Bjork as I kind of like her Icelandic high register vocals.

A raspy breath is heard next with unsettling death rattles and then some off kilter gasps and inhales with 'Pearl'. This is back to "Medulla" and I had no idea this was going to be here but it certainly grabs my attention. Bjork is absolutely at her weirdest here. The backwards harmonica really is disturbing along with Bjork's manic gasping. Avant garde experimentalism and not one for the squeamish. It may represent a nightmare or death, or a sexual encounter, but a pretty disturbing one; absolutely off the wall.

Next is 'Ambergris March' with loud clanging Oriental chimes, similar to those heard on "Volta". This is quite chilling. It is an instrumental with Japanese instrumentation, and Bjork studies Japanese music for this album so it is replete with Japanese influences.

Bjork's trademark mixed to the front vocals are next with some odd Japanese chimes on 'Bath'. It is awful really and I have no interest in this style of Bjork; no melody, raspy warbling, overlayed discordant inharmonious and depressing.

'Hunter Vessel' has a downbeat brooding brass sound, that builds to a staccato horn section. It goes on and on and gets interminable after a while.

'Shimenawa' has a chilling high pitched sound that grates on my nerves immediately. I couldn't sit through this. 'Vessel Shimenawa' is an instrumental of dramatic brass blasts that builds dramtically.

Next Bjork's vocals return for one of the best songs here, 'Storm', with icy waves splashing and a very powerful vocal. Perhaps this is the best song on offer here.

'Holographic Entrypoint' features Shiro Nomura on vocals and a Noh score, used in traditional Sino- Japanese dramatic theatre. It is really an album that is permeated by the Japanese tradition and as such a real oddity, though Bjork has always been fascinated by Japanese culture. It feels odd and I have no love for the wavering vocals, but it still has a place in the film no doubt. At 10 minutes in length this one really outstayed its welcome for me.

'Cetacea' is another Bjork song, and it was pleasurable to hear her high voice after the wavering vocals previously. Again it perhaps works better with the film visuals.

Before listening to this album I expected a Bjork album with highs and lows but I didn't expect it to be Japanese influenced and to only have three songs sung by Bjork, "Bath", "Storm", and "Cetacea". "Gratitude", "Shimenawa" and "Cetacea" have the harp playing beauty of Zeena Parkins, who collaborated on "Vespertine", but is so much better when the harp is juxtaposed with Bjork's vocals. This was disappointing as the real drawcard to Bjork for me is her inimitable vocals. When these are absent the album gets boring. This is a soundtrack of course but nothing really that special in either musical approach or compositional structures. Strike this one down for diehard fans only.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 1/5 |

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