Exposé Online banner

Björk — Medúlla
(Elektra 62984-2, 2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01

Medúlla Cover artFor a supposed “pop” artist, Icelandic singer Björk has shown a stubborn disregard for the conventions of pop music. From the beginnings of her career as a techno diva, she has steadily pursued her muse wherever it takes her, from eccentric electronica to live strings and harp coupled with experimental electronics. On each successive release, she moves farther from the mainstream, or (as I see it) farther into her own world of sounds. 2004 finds her almost entirely discarding instruments, both real and electronic, in favor of the human voice. The result is like no a cappella music ever created. There are elements of some known vocal styles, from Gregorian chant to barbershop harmonies to Ginasteralike clusters (remember the obelisk music in 2001?) to human beatbox rhythms, but the end result is unique. Björk’s collaborators include singers as diverse as Robert Wyatt, the London and Icelandic Choirs, Rahzel (of the Roots), the expermintal duo Matmos, and Japanese vocal chameleon Dokaka (best known in the prog community for his vocal-only interpretations of King Crimson tunes). Voices blow in and out of the arrangements like flakes in a snowstorm, harmonizing lushly, making odd noises, pure then treated, moaning and sighing then soaring is beautiful melodies. The lyrics are mostly in English, with a few pieces in Icelandic contributing to the other-worldly mood. Regardless of her history of hit singles (though it’s hard to imagine one here), Björk remains startlingly original, one of the true innovators of our time.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 31, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Wyatt, Björk

Latest news

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Providence - Rare Tracks – In their brief career, Providence only released one album, ...And I'll Recite an Old Myth From..., and graced at least one of MIJ's sampler discs. Their sound is a powerful neo-progressive blending...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues