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Audio CD, August 31, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bjork is one of the most recognized stars in the world. She has sold millions of copies of her groundbreaking albums, she is an icon of cutting edge style, & she has received worldwide acclaim as an actress. Medulla, Bjork's first new studio album in three years, finds her delving deeper than ever before into her haunting & exhilarating sound & vision. Innovative as always, Bjork has this time built the songs on Medulla entirely from vocal tracks, with no insturments appearnig on the album, creating a soundscape unlike anything you've ever heard before. Special guests include Rahzel from The Roots, Mike Patton of Faith No More & Mr. Bungle, an Inuit throat singer, an Icelandic choir, the world's greatest human beatboxes & more.

Normally, an artist such as Bjork with a mass audience across the globe steadily eases off as the back-catalog starts to grow. However, Medulla, the fifth proper studio album from Bjork is without a doubt the most challenging collection of music she has ever released.

For the most part, the album is made up of layers upon layers of processed vocal parts arranged in either harmony or dissonance such as "Vokuro" and "Oll Birtan," respectively. Some, such as "Show Me Forgiveness" are simple acapella, the aforementioned sounding like a vocal cut from Debut minus the music. Another echo of Bjork days gone by is "Desired Constellation," a slow trancy pulse underpinning her distinct vocals. "Where Is the Line," "Who Is It," and "Triumph of a Heart" are a bit grimier with a semi-urban twist, the latter a fantastically funky beatbox number with an outstanding introduction, the closest moment to a pop song appearing on Medulla.

Although traditional instruments and breaks have been removed from this album, Medulla is no great departure for Bjork but in a sense it is radically different from any of her previous work. Some will love it, some hate it, and some just won't be sure what to think. --David Trueman Special Content

An Interview with Björk
Björk shared her thoughts about the directions she is taking with Medulla in our interview.

1. Pleasure Is All Mine
2. Show Me Forgiveness
3. Where Is The Line
4. Vokuro
5. Oll Birtan
6. Who Is It
7. Submarine
8. Desired Constellation
9. Oceania
10. Sonnets / Unrealities XI
11. Ancestors
12. Mouths Cradle
13. Mivikudags
14. Triumph Of A Heart

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra
  • ASIN: B0002JUXB0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (409 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,118 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 87 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Ever heard of mouth music? It's a traditional technique for producing music with nothing except rhythmic vocals -- literally, just music from the mouth. Quirky Icelandic Bjork isn't a Celt, but she takes the term "mouth music to new heights in the enchantingly challenging "Medulla," an album whose music is based on the voice.

Bjork embarks on her strangest and most experimental musical journey here. Not just one kind of song, but many -- majestic medieval-flavored music to pop to hymns to an eerie vocal ballad backed by throat singing. Bjork even beatboxes with a choir behind her, giving a sort of classical hip-hop sound to the music. Can't get that just anywhere.

"Medulla" isn't entirely devoid of instrumentation... the non-vocal variety, that is. There's a pretty piano solo to "Ancestors," and the deep bassline of "Submarine." Keyboards pop up occasionally But those are the exception -- most of the time it's Bjork's soft vocals, singing, grunting, whistles, and various gutteral sounds -- sort of a dolphin-on-acid noise. It's wonderfully weird.

After the pretty but vaguely monotonous "Vespertine," Bjork just bursts out with her new sound. What's strangest is the effect it has when one is listening to it -- it's powerful and visceral, lulling you one moment and making you shiver the next. At times it's unnerving -- the grunts range from sexy to ghastly, and are enough to make you squirm -- but it never fails to provoke a response.

"Medulla" isn't a full departure from her past material. The opening number has echoes of "Vespertine," while "Where is the Line" hints at "Homogenic.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Christina M. Anthony on September 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this CD or not after hearing a few tracks on the radio before it was released. The idea of having an entire album composed of only human voices is intriguing, but in all reality would it *really* work? I believe it did.

Only Bjork could pull off an album of this magnatude and she does it with compelling grace. Often times you forget that you're only listening to human voice at all (Where Is The Line, Who Is It) and other times you are fully aware in acapella pieces. One can only be fascinated in the way that human vocals are cut and blended to sound like musical instruments. Vokuro is perhaps one of my favorite tracks on the CD so far. It is simply Bjork singing with only a hushed choir in the background and completely in Icelandic, but has an extremely beautiful melody. Oceania is a wonderful work also, which was recently heard at the Olympics. The background vocals are amazing with the shrilling ups and downs of their voices, it sounds as though they really are some sort of ocean creature swooping up and down through the water.

I can see this CD as either being fully embraced by fans or have them wondering what the heck they just purchased. If you are looking for a CD that sounds more like Homogenic or Post,then Medulla is not for you. There really aren't many songs on Medulla (if any) that possess the types of beats or mainstream sounds as her other works. I do recommend it if you have an open mind about her music and appreciate her work for the creativity and art of it. The only reason this CD did not get 5 stars is because, like most fans, I do miss having great songs like Bachelorette, Joga, Human Behavior, etc.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pushing The Pedals on August 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I received this album through a presale from Bjork's record label website. In this first week, I have listened to the album a total of 31 times according to iTunes. I must say that I was initially disappointed with the acapella sound of the album. However, this album has really grown on me. I start to forget that the "instruments" that I'm hearing are really all human voices. Some notable tracks are 'Who is it', 'Where is the line', 'Mouth's Cradle', 'Show me forgiveness' and 'The pleasure is all mine.'

There is only really one song that I still do not like, and that is 'Ancestors' It starts out beautifully, with layers of Bjork's beautiful voice building up on one another, and then in comes the sound of what seems to be a dog choking. I have begun to be able to tune that part out with enough listens, but it still remains as a sore spot on the album.

I would highly recommend this album to the casual and hardcore Bjork fan. Every one of Bjork's albums has been so different, and this is probably the most conceptual album she has produced so far. It may take a few listens to appreciate fully, at least it did for me. Now I love the album. Thumbs up to Bjork!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Vanasse on September 2, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you had guessed that I would make the argument I mentioned in the title of my review, you were completely right. As a very young music fan (not yet out of my teens), some might be quick to dismiss my opinion. After all, I'm a supple young branch that bends in the wind, right? A childish upshoot that goes for the newest, coolest thing? Well, that may be.

However, ever since music and I really hit it off back in 93' (I was eight and couldn't get enough of Pearl Jam, Zeppelin, and Floyd), I have slowly lost interest in very many musical forms and fashions. Rock regularly regurgitates what it has already done thousands of times during the last year, although occasionally artists like Beck or Radiohead really break the mold and push into new territory. Pop has become a complete cess pool of hip hop or uninspired ballads, despite brilliance from the likes of Outcast, Black Eyed Peas, and the aforementioned Beck. Most other forms of music are so out of the mainstream that it is difficult to afford the passion for them. However, Bjork has always been my solace. At first glance her music seems to be a mere confluence of every imaginable musical style, but had the quality of immediate freshness. Like coming home to a house drowning in Febreeze, you could simply inhale Bjork.

This was always a source of wonder for me. Of course I had always loved Bjork's voice, but have difficulty now believing that I did not realize at that time what I now know. Although the music itself was inventive to no end, it was always Bjork's voice that truly set her apart. When Scott Weiland growls, I roll my eyes at the skinny goon. Yet a growl from Bjork could restart the nuclear reactions in the heart of a dead star.
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