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Boomkat Product Review:
It's been three years since Bjork's last album landed on this planet but it seems just like yesterday. Such was and is the power of that album to remain in your subconscious, days, months, years after you first heard it. Going through another baffling pre-recording arrangement of ideas Bjork finally hit upon making 'Medúlla' (translated as marrow in latin) an album mostly stripped bare of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Instead all the music had to come from the human voice (but not in a Bobby McFerrin way :), with this in mind she hooked up with Mike Patton, Rahzel, Robert Wyatt, Kelis, plus other lesser known artists and choirs from the UK and Iceland. Where music does creep in it's handled by Olivier Alary from Ensemble, Mark Bell, Matmos, Mark 'Spike' Stent (basically Bjork's backroom boys). Track highlights include the glacially electronic shimmer of 'Where Is The Line', 'Triumph Of A Heart' goes back to the 'Big Time Sensuality' vibe connected with 'Debut', with a dope human trombone accompaniment and dual beatbox attack. 'Mouth's Cradle' is about the wonder of breast feeding, an amazing cross pollination of choral voices, rapid tone chord changes and Bjork's voice driven by a kaos pad while a low riding human beatbox from Rahzel bumps this track along. 'Who Is It' is the poppiest track on this album and an absolute blast with Rahzel on amazing multi layered single take beatboxing form. 'Piano II' ventures into what Bjork calls emotional throat singing, wild sounds emit from the mysterious artist Tagaq who features on other tracks in a less confrontational manner - wild. My personal favourite is 'Submarine', a divine collaboration with the godlike Robert Wyatt, beautiful and beyond compare - mysterious and haunting, a musical equivalent of a foggy night by the docks watching the ships slowing swaying side to side. Bjork imparted to the Mixing It crew that this album was in part inspired by 911 and the experience of the birth of her second child Isadora. Maybe 'Medúlla' is not as instantly mind blowing as 'Vespertine' but with a few plays it'll lodge itself in your soul for months to come. Very essential.