Björk’s restless experimentalism long ago polarized casual listener and devotee. But as each solo release twines further the power cables connecting earth mother, muse, and the avant-garde, every move Björk makes takes on weighty event status. Medúlla is no different, and might be her grandest. It’s compiled almost entirely from meticulous vocal layers, but it’s not nearly a cappella. That’s because she’s gathered a justice league of vocal interpreters, from Mike Patton and human beatbox Rahzel to throat singer Tagaq, the haunting Icelandic Choir, and incomparable art rock mystic Robert Wyatt. (Occasional programming serves only as a subtle framing nudge.) Medúlla alternates beautifully austere solo pieces (sung by Björk in both English and Icelandic) with ambitious, multi-voice statements that tighten every knot on her intellectual and emotional net — loss, love, fear, and palms full of stars. She’s a fractured futurist drawing strength from organics. Highlights include the tense, esophageal drum ’n’ bass of “Where is the Line,” Wyatt’s whimsical singing and self-harmonizing during “Submarine,” and the somewhat conventionally Björk “Oceania.” For the adventurous, there’s the wordless, bewilderingly dense, and slightly scary “Ancestors.” Captivating, gorgeous, and a little bit mysterious, the elemental, graceful Medúlla makes Björk our world’s Leeloo
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.