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LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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|Vinyl, Limited Edition, January 27, 2015||
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Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Icelandic musician Björk, released in September 1997. Produced by Björk, Mark Bell, Guy Sigsworth, Howie B and Markus Dravs, it was released on One Little Indian Records. The music of Homogenic was a new style for Björk, focusing on similar sounding music combining electronic beats and string instruments with songs in tribute to her native country Iceland. Homogenic was originally to be produced in her home in London, but was later recorded in Spain. Homogenic marked the first of several production collaborations between Mark Bell and Björk, whom Björk would cite as a major influence on her musical career. The album peaked at number twenty-eight on the Billboard 200, and at number four on the UK Albums Chart. In celebration of Björk's mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the release of the Björk: Archives book, One Little Indian is reissuing the Björk vinyl back catalogue, and for an exclusive period the vinyl will be coloured to the hue that personifies that album character
Top customer reviews
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The strongest songs on this album for me are "Hunter", "Joga", "Alarm Call", and "5 Years".
I give this album 5 stars because it's original and would be difficult to replicate by anybody, especially the voice.
I'm not sure I understand some of the top reviews that say this one isn't going to be liked or understood "right away", that it must be listened to again and again. All I know is that I simply and unashamedly fell head over heels in love at that first playthrough. Hearing so much of what I've privately experienced at many times in life so brilliantly and poetically expressed was, quite simply, mind blowing. It's the album that made me start to think (as many others do) that Bjork might just be a benevolent alien from an advanced civilization who's merely been visiting our planet for a couple of thousand years. It's difficult to imagine a single - very young - human being producing this sumptuous banquet for the ears, intellect and soul to feast upon. The range of emotion isn't limited to alienation (although there is that). Equally present are joy, peace, acceptance, love, hope, renewal, even tenderness.
As I'm fast approaching 50, I was more than a little bemused by the official Amazon reviewer who dismissed 'Pluto' as unlistenable. I suppose it's comforting to know there are those who haven't felt precisely and exactly what 'Pluto' so brilliantly captures, that they experience or process pain, grief, loss, change, etc, in less visceral ways. 'Pluto' and everything track on Homogenic represent all that makes music rise above simple pleasures into something profoundly universal, naming hungers that can never be fully satisfied while rejoicing in the paradox of it all.
This is absolutely must have music that will be revered and cherished long after we're all gone. Listen to it, breathe it, drink it, eat it, move - definitely move to it, fast, slow, let your body and mind flow where it takes them.
Björk's talent is incredible, and she may have the most haunting voice I have ever heard. It almost has an ethereal quality and feels as if she could be singing from a different realm; one where people know something that we don't here, where they know some clue about life, and all of us are just dying to get the answer.
It's not only her voice in this song that makes it so breathtaking, and yes, spiritual. Rather, it is the way she layers her voice amidst all the other elements of the song, and how she manages to layer all of those elements together as well. There is so much depth to this song, and it makes it not only beautiful to listen to, but it aids in the message of the piece that she is trying to share with the listeners: All is full of love.
If anything catches me at all about this song, it is the way that Björk uses the different musical elements to aid in telling a story, to aid in sharing a message. She utilizes them in new ways, and it is in her experimentation with elements, and like many electronic musicians before her, her lack of fear when it comes to being innovative and being different that enables her to create something so different. She shows the listeners that maybe different is not such a bad thing after all.
One example of the layering of musical elements that I was referring to is the use orchestral instruments in this piece. Björk starts off the piece with a moving, driving rhythm of orchestral instruments, particularly strings, which continue through a short crescendo until her voice is introduced. Just as she begins to sing and starts giving the introduction to her powerful message, the strings behind her seem to fade into a mystical echo, and the listeners hear the occasional strum of guitar strings or harps strings behind her. The use of these instruments helps to make this message seem more moving and significant. What is probably most enticing about it is that while uses these traditional instruments, she still manages to keep them beautiful by utilizing them in a nontraditional way. She finds a good balance and doesn't significantly degrade and play with the orchestral instruments too much as some electronic artist sometimes do, which often times just ends up taking away from the piece.
The other element of this song that is probably most effective is Björk's use of panning. Now, if you did not notice this upon listening, please, do yourself a favor and go listen to the song again. You honestly cannot get the full effect of this song, feel that "spiritual experience," and be so taken over by the message if you don't hear how the panning interacts with the vocals. When she starts the chorus that just repeats "All is full of love," a higher pitched voice is introduced (repeating the same message) and the message pans between the speakers. It is one of the most effective techniques I have ever heard in a song because as you are being told that "All is full of love," you are hearing the message in all the space around you; it is traveling from left to right and back again. This panning is intermixed with her original pitched vocals repeating "All is love," which is going into a crescendo, and there is also a sound that seems to be in front of you; it resembles something similar to the sound of a rain stick, but with more electronic tones that decrescendos as it plays. It truly feels as if you are being immersed in an experience, not just a musical experience, but a real experience that has the ability to grab your emotions and teach you something.
If you have not gotten anything from this review, please just remember this: great music is an experience and it creates a one-of-a- kind moment. Maybe you will disagree, but if you really want to experience that feeling, go listen to this piece. It will truly move you. It moved me. Björk's artistry has shown me that maybe all is full of love, or at least I am full of love for this piece.