Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Volta

Got the new Björk album today. Impressions written while listening for the very first time-


Earth Intruders:

The current military madness has not escaped Björk's consideration- her assumption of the role of a leader of a ruthless army makes its point with marching cadences and an overlay of pulsing rhythm...


Wanderlust:

The flowing melody and brass choir fight against programmed beats, the beats win...


The Dull Flame Of Desire:

Andrei Tarkovsky's love poetry set to B's music. The massed brass chords again are magnificent, but have to struggle against nervous, mechanical beats. "Antony's" contrapuntal vocalization is meant to be emotional, but merely shows his lack of sensitivity to the phrasing of his partner's superior technique. This would be a stunning track without him and no drums...


Innocence:

Basically a funkier reworking of Alarm Call, the drums make sense in this arrangement, however...



I See Who You Are:

The Japanese song, a celebration of the flesh "before we become corpses", benefits from the ample space in the arrangement. It would fit right in with Vespertine...


Vertebrae By Vertebrae:

Soundtrack music from some parallel dimension Alfred Hitchcock movie? (Actually the brass was sampled from Drawing Restraint 9) Not exactly a sing-a-long...


Pneumonia:

Stunning brass arrangement by Nico Muhly, an emotional vocal performance by Björk. Beautiful...


Hope:
B's internal dialog about the nature of evil and suicide bombers, over a Indian-style background...


Declare Independence

Hard core Techno-Industrial. Not for the timid. While it was playing sirens went by my window. I dug that...


My Juvenile

What should have been a poignant farewell falls apart with another awkward duet between Björk and "Antony"...



Overall impression: This is a deeply flawed album. There is some good stuff there, but it is usually buried under self-conscious programming and arrangements. Buyer beware.

By Professor Batty



3 Comments:

Anonymous Audi said...

I don't agree with you at all. I like most of this album.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

... don't get me wrong, I enjoy most of it as well, but I think there are some real problems with some of the tunes, in the past B has worked with more sympathetic collaborators, such as Matmos, who really added a lot in a very subtle way- I would like to hear remixes of Wanderlust, Desire, and Juvenile...


Blogger Mike said...

yeah - i think this is an awesome record...

and i think earth intruders works on a number of levels - besides what you cited - the bigger level being that we people are, in a sense, earth intruders - as we mess up the balance of the earth...

innocence is awesome -prob my favorite track right now...

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