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Vespertine (US Internet Release)
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Audio CD, August 28, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bjork ~ Vespertine

Ever since Björk's vital, effusive 1993 debut, her music has been increasingly intimate, gently private, and concerned with seclusion. It's typical then that Vespertine's first single is called "Hidden Place." The studious solitude is rewarding, though. Vespertine is a lush, gorgeous swell of midpace electronica, symphonic strings, and Björk's uniquely alien, spectral vocals. There are fantastical wonders here. "Cocoon" (another eulogy to withdrawal from the world) is delicate as a breath, Björk sounding too fragile to be flesh as she lauds "a beauty this immense." "Pagan Poetry" and "Aurora," likewise, are adrift in an enchanted reverie. When she chooses, she crafts killer tunes; "It's Not up to You" is as lovely as anything on Post. Yet, frequently, on such tracks as the yearning, glancing "Undo," Björk seems to be simply thinking aloud, reveling in this wildly rich and visceral music. She's reclaimed cutting-edge electronica, so often the province of geeks and technicians, for the poets and the passionate. Vespertine is a landmark, a revelation, and a truly fabulous achievement. --Ian Gittins

1. Hidden Place
2. Cocoon
3. It's Not Up To You
4. Undo
5. Pagan Poetry
6. Frosti
7. Aurora
8. An Echo A Stain
9. Sun In My Mouth
10. Heirloom
11. Harm Of Will
12. Unison

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 28, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra
  • ASIN: B00005NG4X
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (430 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,356 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Alex Smith on August 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I find it hard to even begin to describe how wonderful this album is, but let me just say that I have never heard anything quite like this, even from Bjork herself. This is not techno, or dance, or big band, or industrial, or anything definable. There are a few hints here and there: Aphex Twin, Radiohead circa Kid A, Brian Eno, but where Radiohead came at the minimalist-techno from a rock-based direction, complete with drums and guitars, Bjork has come to a similar point but from a totally different tradition, that of classical music. The only really helpful benchmarks I can think of are two of her own songs from previous albums: "Possibly Maybe", and "All Is Full of Love", but even those can't begin to express Vespertine. My favourite songs on the album are "It's Not Up to You", possibly the first anthem of the new millenium, "Pagan Poetry", which has a stunning bassline and a chilly, immense power to it, the gorgeous "Aurora", which literally make me break down and cry (which hasn't happened from music for me in years), and "Heirloom", a new kind of pop song, and the closest thing the album has for dance music. This album is the most beautiful thing you will hear all year, and I am tempted to say that it the holy grail of electronic music: the first album to fully merge transcendence and radiance with avant-garde music.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on August 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
It's always been challenging to classify the work of Icelandic super-star BJork, as she's always come up with something that escapes any previously conceived category tags: if you think of her as a techno artist, maybe you're right for a few songs; but then she morphs altogether, and comes back reborn playing songs such as 'It's oh, so quiet' or 'All neon like.' At that point you stop trying to find a tag for her music, and just take it at face value: as one of the greatest samples of music (and even visual) art that can be found these days.
With "Vespertine," her newest album, the former lead voice of The Sugarcubes, Bjork takes her music to a new level. With five very successful, and progressively more experimental -yet more mature- albums under her belt, and an immersion into the acting terrain with her outstanding performance in 2000 as Selma, in Lars Von Trier's film "Dancer In The Dark" (the film for which her own album "Selmasongs" served as soundtrack), she comes back with a production that is far more peaceful, adult and introspective than her any of her past work.
This time the seat of producer has been taken by long-time BJork collaborator (with Keyboards and Programming) Marius DeVries, and a most eclectic selection of artists have been summoned by BJork making of this album a larger-than-life experience: California based electronica duo Matmos, jazz composer/arranger Vince Mendoza (same from 'Dancer In the Dark'), and harp virtuosa Zeena Parkins, just to name a few. It's very much like those albums from the seventies, such as the first solo efforts of Peter Gabriel, where the lead artist counted on the talents of several session musicians, but still retained the true essence of the creative genius.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Maria Dessena on August 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
What would we do if there weren't people out there like Bjork making the effort to stretch barriers, and set musical goals that reflect who they are and how they've grown as musicians? Well, we'd probably all rot in the stale void that is pop music today. This album is simply beautiful, and beautifully complex. A person is transformed into sound waves. How many people are willing to open themselves up for everyone else to see (everyone else being the entire marketable world)? That is exactly what "Vespertine" does. I'd call it courage, but I'm sure for Bjork, it's just what comes naturally. "Vespertine" is focused on very specific internal ideas (musically and lyrically). As she has said, it's "introverted". It might seem the songs aren't very different from each other considering the similar instrumentation, and consistent theme of love. I think these things are the scenery and setting for the album, and allow for a more in-depth glance inside the individual songs than most albums would allow for. You fall into the songs, get wrapped up in them. There are moments when I listen to this album, and if I'm doing something else while listening, I absolutely have to stop because it's so overwhelming. And while some writers use sparse instrumentation and slow rhythms to create a more sensitive environment, Bjork manages to create simplicity out of complex textures and subtle counterpoint, maintaining interest, and always giving the listener someplace to wander. It is hard to be bored with this album. It's a tight album, it's an effective album. It's just plain great.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Marc Cabir Davis on September 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
First of all, this is by any means Bjork's finest hour. Nothing, not even the gut-wrenching beauty of 'Selmasongs' can out-mood the grim hymns of 'Vespertine'. To say that this is an essential recording is an understatement. Its an album every human being should possess.
The other reviewers here have waxed eloquent about this CD already. My own musical tastes veer toward eclectic New Age stuff, such as Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard, Susheela Raman, Afro Celt Sound System, and long-gone musicals. My favorite albums of all time are Lisa Gerrard's 'Duality' and Dead Can Dance's 'Aion'. 'Selmasongs' is pretty up there.
Which is why I am surprised that a CD as 'contemporary' as this has lept out at me and taken me by surprise. I always liked Bjork, her first CD in 1977 is positively delightful, and I have respected her right from her Sugarcube days. I've even listened to 'Hyperballad' on a rainy day at the beach with an overcast sky - a pleasure even being on earth should experience sometime or the other.
But 'Vespertine' evoked mood more than anything Bjork has ever done. It is never dull and boring, never monotonous. Its one of those Groove Armada albums that you can't get enough of. At the same time, it has the hypnotic effect of a U. Srinivas or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan CD, which is why, above all things, 'Vespertine' is mystifying. I doubt people will be able to throughly understand just how deep Bjork is as a songwriter and composer. This woman has been put on earth a good 2000 years before she should have been born. Like the alien saviours of 'A.I', Bjork's hand has finally created possibly one of the most engaging and important CDs of the twentieth century.
In my opinion, 'Vespertine' is a combination of the gloom of an arctic dweller, with the joie de vivre of the young umbrella-seller in 'Les parapluies de Cherbourg'. Its a spinal album, dark and moody, and one that needs to be discovered by all.
Highly recommended.
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