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Album Review
mike


Bjork:Medulla
Atlantic Records, One Little Indian
2004
Produced and Arranged by Bjork
Co-Produced by Mark Bell
Mixed by Mark (Spike) Stent
Engineered by Valgeir Sigurdsson
Assistant Engineering by Sturla Thorisson, Juan Garcia, Ichiho Nishiki, Christian Rutledge, David Treahearn, Rob Haggett, Flavio De Souza

4 out of 5 mics

While not Bjork's strongest album, Medulla is certainly number one or two in terms of creativity and originality. The production is also outstanding. The songs just don't have the emotion that Bjork is so talented at conveying. The album is a little cold throughout, which is not what you might expect considering almost every sound on the album is a human voice. What can convey more emotion than the human voice? Well, on Medulla many of the vocals parts are processed to the point of not being recognizable as human.

As I said, Medulla is highly creative. Bjork collaborated with a handful of the more talented vocalists in the world. Rahzel (formerly of The Roots), Mike Patton (ex- Faith No More, ex-Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk, Lovage, Peeping Tom, etc.), Tagak, Robert Wyatt, The Icelandic Choir, Shlomo, The London Choir, Dokaka, and others. Once again Bjork chose to work with Mark Bell and Matmos, among others, on production and programming.

The album is about two-thirds brilliant, and one-third mediocre. Songs on the album that must be heard to be believed are "Pleasure Is All Mine", "Where Is The Line", "Who Is It", "Desired Constellation", "Oceania", and "Triumph Of A Heart".

The real stars of Medulla are The Icelandic Choir and London Choir. They provide the beauty, the emotional highs and lows, and much of the excitement and anticipation.

Believe me when I say you haven't heard the human voice do the things that are done on this album. It's one of the more original albums of the past 5 years. Not Bjork's finest work (which is probably Vespertine or Homogenic), but necessary to own as it is amongst THE most experimental albums to ever reach so high into music charts around the world.

The mix is fairly outstanding but could serve the songs better if it was little warmer and even darker. I was unable to find mastering credits. I'm sure the mastering engineer stayed true to the sound and feeling that Bjork was looking for, but again I feel these songs could be served better with a little less compression and a little more tape saturation and warmth.