Entertainment >> MusicBjîrk’s ‘Medúlla’ Gets to the Essence of Things

El Vaquero Staff Writer

The pauses in the rise of the inflection of Bjîrk’s voice, amidst the choral solemnity of The Icelandic Choir, provide stratification to the tonal gravity of this work, titled Med£lla, which is thematic of the album. As is the course of originality; innovation is much more the befitting truth of an artist of passion , rather than an assertion of continuing greatness. ? The record, Med£lla, was released on August 31, led by the single “Oceania.”

“It basically means ‘marrow’ in medical language, in Latin. Not just your bone marrow, but marrow in the kidneys and marrow in your hair, too. It’s about getting to the essence of something,” Bjîrk said of the titling of her album.???

Through the ascension and simultaneous descent of vocal harmony, however, not dissonant, the album begins with “The Pleasure is All Mine,” marking a staid yet arduous texture, introducing The Icelandic Choir employed through much of the record.?

Characteristic of Bjîrk’s music is the use of electronic instruments, still used on this latest release; however, to a far less degree. Most songs were crafted purely of vocals, moving on the impetus of the passion of her voice rising to just before falsetto in which certain strain is heard in subtle its distortion, accompanied by the Icelandic Choir, often providing an intricate classical contrast to Bjîrk’s vehemency.?Bjîrk said she hadn’t a plan for the album and did not want one; this album would be without rules.

“Instruments are so over,” said Bjork. The quiet rhythmic undulation of the musical loop in “Desired Constellation” denotes an urgency, however constant, brought to fruition by the unabashed and growing in intensity in intervals of, “How am I going to make it right?/ And you hear?/ How am I going to make it right?”?

The only song on the album in Bjîrk’s native language of Icelandic is titled “Vîkur’,” meaning vigil; sounding much like a requiem, for the choir singing in airy hums, sustained by reverberation.????

Much of the album has a somber quality; nevertheless, it is still very much in the accustomed style for which Bjîrk is known.? Bjîrk borrows the lyrics for “Sonnets/Unrealities XI” from E.E. Cummings, a well known twentieth century American poet. The song begins with a flourish of voices in harmonized staccato then evolving to a fluidity, pausing in certain places accruing the impact of the words. “If on another’s face your sweet hair lay in such a silence as I know/ Or such great writhing words as, uttering overmuch/ Stand helplessly before the spirit at bay.” ?

Her vocals are singularly suited to sing such a sonnet, for in the way her voice handles certain words, audibly adapting to the meaning, moving them, perhaps, to the intensity the author implied.

Rating: **** (out of four)