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Björk

Crossover Prog


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Björk Homogenic album cover
3.70 | 112 ratings | 9 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hunter (4:15)
2. Jóga (5:05)
3. Unravel (3:17)
4. Bachelorette (5:16)
5. All Neon Like (5:53)
6. 5 Years (4:29)
7. Immature (3:06)
8. Alarm Call (4:19)
9. Pluto (3:19)
10. All Is Full Of Love (4:32)

Total Time: 43:31

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Björk / arranger, keyboards and producer
- Alasdair Alloy / harmonica
- Vaughan Armon / violin
- Mark Bell Crew / drum programming, keyboards, producer and programming
- Sigurbjorn Bernhardsson / violin
- Mark Berrow / violin
- Mike Brittain / bass
- Jeff Bryant / horn
- Roger Chase / viola
- Ben Cruft / violin
- Marius de Vries / programming
- Sigrun Edvaldsdottir / violin
- Paul Gardhaim / bass
- Paul Gardham / bass
- Roger Garland / violin
- Wilfred Gibson / violin
- Isobel Griffiths / orchestra contractor
- Sigurdur Bjarki Gunnarsson / cello
- Hrund Hardardottir / viola
- Bill Hawkes / viola
- Steve Henderson / timbales, tympani [Timpani]
- Paul Kegg / cello
- Chris Laurence / bass
- Helen Liebmann / cello
- Alasdair Malloy / harmonica (Glass)
- Jim McLeod / violin
- Trevor Morais / drums, electronic drums
- Jon R. Ornolfsson / cello
- Frank Ricotti / drums (snare)
- Guy Sigsworth / clavichord, keyboards, pipe organ and producer
- Mike Thompson / horn
- Sif Tulinius / violin

Releases information

CD 1997 Mother Digipak # 539178-2
LP 1997 Mother # 539166-1

Thanks to chris s for the addition
and to progshine for the last updates
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BJÖRK Homogenic ratings distribution


3.70
(112 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
34%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

BJÖRK Homogenic reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I think this was the defining album in 1997 after more than a decade of experimentation, dance, trip hop and plain individualism, Bjork embarked on a more sombre, progressive and electronic sound. Homogenic really did spark the beginning in terms of firmly having a whole album consistently producing an overall defined sound. Chilly vocals, mixed with fizzy electronic sounds and unpredictable beats. " The Hunter" kicks the album off in slow predatory style, almost stalking the listener as it slowly builds to a nice steady plateau of output. One of the highlights on the album as is the follow up " Joga" . " Unravel" is more of a vocal work as Bjorks enjoys accenuating different words all bundled with her beautifully directed Icelandic slant. " Bachelorette" probably is the most accessible and commercial track off Homogenic, however the next track " All Neon Like" is an equisite combination of minimalist sound and wonderful vocals, again I cannot help thinking back to very early Popol Vuh or even Ash Ra Tempel. Definitely the pick of the bunch. " Immature" has Bjork really stretching her vocal chords and the final track " All Is Full Of Love" reverts back to a slow number but equally ending the album on a positive note.

Homogenic marked the introduction of Bjork as not only as a continued popular artist, but one with progressive pop and progressive electronic tendencies. She went on and did even more interesting works, namely Vespertine and Medulla, but still this is an excellent starting point for those keen to explore her works further and especially the progressive side of her music. Four solid stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#339987) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Excuse me, but I just have to explode" -Pluto

Indeed. Homogenic was Bjork's third 90s album and a period of some turmoil for the now international star. It was recorded in Spain to get some distance from press coverage of an unfortunate stalker incident which greatly upset the singer. Coming off the long Post tour Bjork was exhausted, dealing with another failed high-profile relationship, and suffering more bad press after she assaulted a reporter who tried to interview her at the Bangkok airport. It also marked the beginning of her musical relationship with producer Mark Bell, whom Bjork called one of the most influential people in her artistic life. After two albums of chasing her musical whims wherever they would lead, she wanted something very different here. This album was to be Bjork in the "here and now" with a singular flavor, simple sounds ("just beats, strings, and my voice"), and a desire to capture the spirit of her native Iceland. She was growing weary of England and was ready to go home, physically and creatively.

As with Post, despite the critical acclaim this album has received it is a mostly disappointing affair for me. Homogenic features one of Bjork's greatest songs, perhaps her very best, a handful of good songs, and another half-album of irritating clunkers. I'm not buying the exclamations of progressive-electronic genius that she garners. There's nothing compelling to a bunch of sampled beats if the songs and melodies aren't there for some emotional connection, or if the compositions merely ride the back of the beats with little exciting diversion. Homogenic does succeed in its attempt to be a more cohesive work, where the songs connect with each other rather than the collections of different animals her first two albums were. But that alone doesn't mean much for me as a listener. Sometimes her songwriting just drowns itself in too much nonsense and other times it can't get out of its own way. I'm not surprised to read some have complained about her rather indecisive and perfectionist tendencies in the studio.

Cold and alternately boring or irritating, I can completely write off the second half of the album. This is what is known as the "front-loaded" album, where the first few tracks are pretty cool but it just dies after that. Bjork and Bell employ some genius track ordering that allowed them to stretch a few good songs into a critically acclaimed album, and I have to call them on it. Very few people will, and this abrasive and largely hollow album gets unbelievable accolades considering what is really under the hood. I can barely listen to the childish rant over nails-on-chalkboard music that is "5 Years." The only interesting part of the second half is "Pluto", where she uses her voice as pure tension-building and release, almost grating screams, it is very intense indeed. The album's worthwhile moments come in the first four songs, when some very lovely melodies that capture her love of home (especially effective with the videos) are lavished with the strings of the Icelandic String Octet. And then comes the album's lone masterpiece, the incredible "Bachelorette." This track is the musical sequel to Post's wonderful "Isobel," and follows the story of the same character. A gorgeous melody oozes to a perfect pace and strong bass line, with her vocal absolutely soaring over the cliffs, and the strings welling up behind her. Powerful stuff and an indication of what she is capable of.

Nevertheless, I'll have to be the party-pooper, because aside from "Batchelorette" this album is just nothing special. It's a noisy, emotionally cold mess. I love Bjork's voice on certain songs when she pierces the cumbersome wall of disarray, stuttering beats, and noisy screech; when she embraces the melody and does something with it, but unfortunately that happens only sporadically on Post and Homogenic. Fortunately, things were to get better on the next album, a much more personable release called "Vespertine." There the promise of "Debut" would return. 2 ½ stars for this one-but not enough to round up.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#352084) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 13, 2010

Review by russellk
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.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#420170) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars "Homogenic" is the album released following the notorious event where she was stalked and frightened out of her wits by a mad fan. The songs seem to mirror her state of mind which is more paranoia that usual given the circumstances. This was also the period that made headlines with a viral video when Bjork went beserk attacking a reporter at Bangkok airport, and I remember seeing this and thinking that Bjork is the real deal; she really is a nutter. This album perhaps cements this sentiment for me but it is not as bizarre as albums to come notably "Medulla" and "Vespertine". However "Homogenic" is Bjork becoming more experimental and distant from her fans. She feels protective of her real emotions on this, but determined and confident to add metaphorical imagery to convey hidden truths of the human condition. The lyrics are among the best she has written I believe and I will reiterate many in the review.

Hunter gets the ball rolling, obviously about the stalker event. Bjork's voice is chilling with effects and a trip hop rhythmic electronica. A menacing song that is surprisingly full of cellos and strings enhancing the ominous atmosphere.

Jóga has a nice string section though still sounds downbeat. Bork tells stories about the darker nature of the mind. She sings "I feel your emotional landscapes, and you push me up to a state of emergency, how beautiful to be, a state of emergency is where I want to be." The electronic percussion is ethereal and effective, competing against the strings; this is dark stuff and fills me with a sense of dread. It builds to a break of electronic Industrial synth that I like.

Unravel begins with soft brass sounds, and odd sounds as Bjork improvises a melody. Her verses are full of questions, and thoughts of alienation, bad memories and inescapable seclusion. Nice to chill out to when you are feeling low, and her music seems to speak to the darker emotional state, it feeds off it.

Bachelorette has a wonderful orchestral arrangement, like a cinema soundtrack and a driving rhythm. Bjork sings of being a fountain "in the shape of a girl, you are the bird on the brim hypnotised by the world, drink me, wash your beak in the stream". I like the imagery a lot, a bird drinking in her juices, she just captures the feeling of loss and longing like no other artist. The metaphors are there; "if you forget my name you will go astray, Like a killer whale". She is a master of allegory and idiomatic expressions; call it poetry because that is the form of her lyrics.

All Neon Like is a capella quiet Bjork for a while and I am not a fan of this side of her craft. The music chimes in later and tends to build with electronic pulses. The imagery is as usual fascinating; "The cocoon surrounds you embraces all, so you can sleep fetus style". She says she will cut a slit open to allow the luminescence out; sounds like suicide, but she promises "I will heal you". Chilling to the bone.

5 Years is next, with a grinding keyboard and some loud industrial sonic distorted percussion electronica. Her voice is louder mixed to the front and she sings of cowards that say they want what they can't have, and "I dare you show me your pulse, what's so scary but the threat inside, you can't tend to love, its obvious, I dare you to take me home." She seems to be screaming out to the stalker as that makes sense as a source of inspiration. The synths sound like Gary Numan I noticed, so I like this one a lot.

Immature ? Mark Bell's Version is very electronic and brooding. Bjork asks "how could I be so immature" to put up with this unnamed lover. She gets aggressive on this screeching out occasionally, pent up rage feeling real and vulnerable.

Alarm Call has more strong electronic sounds but it sounds too similar to the previous tracks. Bjork growls more but it does not strike me as a stand out performance. Pluto is next with that poor planet getting a mention at least in the title, before it became nothing more than a mini planet. Bjork's vocals are synthetically processed but it is quite awful. The rhythms are powerful and techno speed but this is an industrial headache.

The last song is All Is Full Of Love ? Howie's Version, and has a symphonic texture, swathes of synths over Bjork's mystical vocals. She sounds confident and pretty here, pleading "you have to trust" and "trust your head around, it's all around you, all is full of love, all around you." This is very nice to end the album on a ray of hope.

"Homogenic" is one of the better Bjork entries by a huge margin. 3 stars.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#792190) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars It took me a long time to get into Björk, it wasn't the style of music I was listening to, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant etc... But one day, It clicked and... Wow!!! Björk and jazz pianist Hiromi, are, as I like to call them, my two godess in music. Homogenic and Vespertine are my two favo ... (read more)

Report this review (#469655) | Posted by Fido73 | Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: 8/10 One of those albums filled with some incredible standout compositions, and at the other completely opposite pole somehow not too bright attempts to accomplish modern/avant-garde atmospheres and structures. "Bachelorette" is an unbelievable songwriting masterpiece. "Hunter ... (read more)

Report this review (#459189) | Posted by Mattiias | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having listened to most of Bjorks albums, I have developed a bit of love for her, for some reason, for about 2 weeks I could listen nothing to Bjork and kind of fell in love with her, watching interviews and just kind of wanting to be with her all the time...but this little crush has died off...b ... (read more)

Report this review (#371861) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, January 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow, I'm simply amazed that Progarchives has included Bjork. Not that I'm complaining. I love many prog groups, and I love Bjork's music, but I honestly never considered her in any way prog or prog-related. However, when one considers her close relationship to IDM and other electronica personnel, ... (read more)

Report this review (#344534) | Posted by jude111 | Monday, December 06, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of the greatest electronic albums. It has a wonderful fusion of warm string arrangements as well as abstract and stuttering beats. It doesn't have any peppy dance/house tracks like on previous albums. There are lots of instruments throughout and some unique touches especially from som ... (read more)

Report this review (#341426) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, December 03, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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