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Medulla [CD]

Björk Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Biography

Björk's seventh full-length album Biophilia, a multi-media project pairing 10 songs with corresponding iPad Apps, is her most conceptually complex. Track titles read like captions in a textbook -- "Moon," "Thunderbolt," "Virus," the first single "Crystalline" -- but each piece is filtered through Björk's personal connection to, and ... Read more in Amazon's Björk Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Medulla + Vespertine + Homogenic
Price For All Three: £17.29

Buy the selected items together
  • Vespertine £6.88
  • Homogenic £6.42

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Aug 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: One Little Indian
  • ASIN: B0002SVY0U
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,970 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Pleasure Is All Mine 3:26£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Show Me Forgiveness 1:23£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Where Is the Line 4:41£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Vökuró 3:14£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Öll Birtan 1:52£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Who Is It (Carry My Joy On The Left, Carry My Pain On The Right) 3:57£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Submarine 3:13£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Desired Constellation 4:55£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Oceania 3:24£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Sonnets/Unrealities XI 1:59£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Ancestors 4:08£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Mouth's Cradle 3:59£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Midvikudags 1:24£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Triumph of a Heart 4:04£0.89  Buy MP3 


Product Description

Product Description

Recorded in 18 different locations including New York, Iceland, Venice and The Canary Islands, Medúlla sees Björk collaborating with another crack-team of alchemists and fellow mavericks. Some of them – programmer Mark Bell; mixer Mark 'Spike' Stent; Valgeir Sigurdsson--were already time-served Björkians. Others – Inuit throat-singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis; Japanese a cappella ace Dokaka; the esteemed Robert Wyatt--were not. Erstwhile Faith No More singer Mike Patton and Rahzel, his buddy from The Roots, are on the album, too. The former came on-board after Björk, adrenalised post-gig, took him to one side to rave about the project.

BBC Review

Björk's long-awaited Medúlla presented the Icelandic innovator with a challenge. Not only did she have to follow-up her breathtaking 2001 masterpiece Vespertine, but she also decided to do away with instruments. "I only wanted to work with vocalists," she proclaimed in a recent magazine interview.

No instruments? No problem. Welcome human beatbox artists Schlomo, Rahzel (of The Roots) and Dokaka. And many tracks still have a distinctly electronic edge, helped along by Björk's longtime collaborator Mark 'LFO' Bell. Björk also has the most powerful instrument of all at her disposal - her voice.

Fans will feel at home with the opener, "The Pleasure is All Mine", with those familiar trademark wailings and some pleasant Vespertine-like harmonies courtesy of an Icelandic choir. Many songs have a minimalist feel, such as "Show Me Forgiveness" and "Submarine" which features Robert Wyatt. The Icelandic "Vökuró" and "Sonnets / Unrealities XI" are full-on choral numbers with an almost religious tone to them. "Desired Constellation" is one of the more effective slow tunes, with Björk warbling over a background of delicate digi-noise.

It's not all simplicity though. "Where is the Line" is a mish-mash of ideas, sounding like a fight between a choir and a rack of effects boxes, with neither winning. "Oceania" too, which opened the Athens Olympics, is spoilt by some overenthusiastic vocal whoopings. An Inuit throat singer called Tagaq is also brought into the mix, whose contributions range from unnerving ("The Pleasure Is All Mine") to downright horrid ("Ancestors").

This is not a radio-friendly album. There are no "It's Oh So Quiet" moments here. The only really immediate tunes are the enjoyable "Who Is It" and the closing track "Triumph of a Heart" (listen out for the rather splendid human trombone on that one).

Medúlla has some high points, and it never gets boring, but it still left me feeling rather confused. It was recorded in 18 different locations, and you can tell - the end product feels disjointed and at times claustrophobic. Whereas previous albums like Vespertine were real growers, some people may lose patience with this one. The unquenchable desire to try out new ideas, which makes Björk such an exciting artist, may prove to be her downfall on Medúlla, as too much of the experimentation doesn't quite hit the mark.

But I still can't wait for her next album. --David Hooper

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's different, but give it time 24 Aug 2004
By Hades
Format:Audio CD
OK, I listened to it once, and seriously thought I'd wasted my money. But my advice on this album would be to play it again and again, and after a few spins, it becomes hypnotically beautiful. It certainly isn't commercial, but if Bjork sold herself to the masses, she'd lose at least this one fan. You really do have to try with a lot of this music, and I don't profess for one moment to understand one half of what Bjork is trying to communicate here (but then I only got the album a few days ago). I've listened to it regularly and have to say this could rank as the best contribution she's yet made to the music industry. It's different, some people sure are gonna loathe it, but I say bravo for doing something so personal and original. Some of it sounds more classical than popular to my ears (possibly due to her recent collaboration with John Tavener) - track 4 is an example. I didn't think Bjork still had it in her to surprise me, but hey, she's done it again!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The deep and inner most part of Bjork... 6 Sep 2004
Format:Audio CD
An entire album that uses human voices as the main instruments?...sounds intriguing, and a concept that could only be conjured up by Bjork, who I consider to be possibly one of the most original artist of our generation.
Intriguing is right, along with beautiful and breath-taking.
Bjork has created a 14 track strong album that progresses on from where her marvelous Vespertine (2001) left us. Through the arrangement of the human voice, Bjork creates tracks that are diversely romantic, chaotic, experimental and dancy.
The album opens with one of the strongest tracks, "Pleasure Is All Mine", which quickly becomes one of her most beautiful tracks to date. Initially stark koo-ing, backed by various throat-like support, soon becomes a soundtrack of layered vocals; harmonious and soaring. As with her previous album openers, "Pleasure Is All Mine", prepares us for the following 13 tracks superbly.
"Where Is The Line", continues this layered vocal, this time accompanied by voice-box beats, giving the track a menacing feel. This track is one of many personal highlights, demonstrating the true versatility of the human voice. Addressing Bjork's frustration with someone, the track explodes into distorted chaos.
"Vokuro", offers us the exact contrast of "Where Is The Line". It is a beautiful, hymn-like track, sang purely in Icelandic accompanied by a male choir, simple against many of the other tracks, but still deeply haunting and affective.
"Who Is It", is a much more schizophrenic track, with its dark verses which quickly turn into an uplifting chorus, fuelled by it's 'Trip-hoppy' beat-box beat. Bjork's lyrics are as rich as ever here, "His embrace, a Fortress, It fuels me and places, A skeleton of trust..."
"Desired Constellation", reminds me of "Cocoon".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intriguing and devouring 1 Sep 2004
Format:Audio CD
Anyone who has listened to Bjork beyond the "chart-friendly" early days of 'Debut' will know to expect the unexpected with each new album. Continuing the introspective feel of 'Verspertine', Medulla (meaning 'bone marrow') will astound and confound most listeners.
Eschewing "real instruments" for vocal sounds only (with a little help from a programmer on some tracks) Medulla demands that you listen closely - this isn't background muzak to soothe you after a tired day! Having said that, several tracks are intimately beautiful and are calming and soothing - check out the beautiful choral work of 'Vokuro' or the tingling gentleness of 'Desired Constellation'. At the other end of the spectrum 'Where is the line' is hard, dark and cutting, the human beatbox rhythms driving the incessant lyric forward despite itself.
In the middle are melodic but rhythmic songs like 'Oceania' and 'Pleasure is all mine', overlaid with choral vocals that swoop around Bjork's own distinctive voice, as strong as ever. More abstract work such as Sonnets/Unrealities, Ancestors, Oll Birtan can meander a little - they feel like they're unravelled to the point of losing the plot and are the most difficult tracks to get into, but with repeat listening grow and become characteristic in their own ways; Oll Birtan starts to sound like 'Row Row Row your boat' with a simplicity belying its original confrontational style.
The outstanding track for me is Mouths Cradle, combining beat, choral voices, programming and a climactic ending that is hard to beat.
Overall Medulla contains more beautiful, essential Bjork tracks, continuing her excellent work from earlier albums - not as passionate as 'Homogenic' or as warm and inviting as 'Vespertine' or as startling as 'Debut', 'Medulla' is true to itself, charting the dark inner territories of the human.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important step in music evolution 26 Dec 2004
Format:Audio CD
I must say I was quite surprised to hear how much controversy and division amongst fans this album has produced. In my eyes it's a highly responsive and effective work of art. Bjorks reaction to a post 9/11, politically insane, 21st century Earth is understandable - a return to time dot when we humans (or whatever we were then) had nothing except our primitive selves. No tools, no instruments, just what we were born with.
The power of the human (well, the power of the human voice, never mind the rest of us) is enough, and i think there is no more startling and chilling evidence of that than right here. We have the power to change, and to use what we have for the best.
By the way, there isn't a track on Medulla I don't like! I love how I can just let the whole album play, and it speaks as a whole, journeying on through. The sheer violent power of 'Where Is The Line'... the eerie, extra-terrestrial 'Submarine'... The vocals on 'Ancestors' send chills through me, reminding me AGAIN (yawn) about the power of the voice. We really do have an impressive little gadget in our necks, guys... lets use it to its potential, and to our rightful advantage?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This album has its greats and its not so greats. I particularily like, The pleasure is all mine, Submarine, Oceania, Mouth's Cradle, Triumph of a heart, desired constellation and... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Animal
5.0 out of 5 stars Out-of-this-world album
Bjork delivered all the crazy creativity with the release of "Medulla". Album is out of any genre, all of songs recorded using only human vocalization, no musical instruments. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Artem
5.0 out of 5 stars great
I ike this item my collections it is getting bogger thanks the one who sold me this record thanks hope there are more items like this thanks
Published 24 months ago by GEORGE
5.0 out of 5 stars Meltingly beautiful
Bjork's Debut is one of only a few albums that I can remember exactly where I was when I heard it for the first time. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2010 by Troughtastic
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I've had this on mp3 for just over a year and throughly enjoy the album as a whole, maybe its a tad long but hey nobody's perfect. Read more
Published on 26 Sep 2010 by Sam
4.0 out of 5 stars Er, Different
I already had the previous albums Debut, Post, Homogenic and Vespertine, and had read descriptions of Medulla so had some idea what to expect: a capella and a change from... Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by Ivon of Windermere
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary artistic achievement
Ever since 1997's Homogenic fairly shattered the common public image of her as an unusual, jovial sort of Icelandic pop pixie, Björk followed her artistic muse wherever it... Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2010 by M.B.
1.0 out of 5 stars Unlistenable, pointless and awful.
Preview this album on Itunes if you want to avoid disappointment. This is one of the worst albums of all times. I can't believe that record company agreed to release it. Read more
Published on 7 Aug 2010 by Mr. S. Ryzhenok
5.0 out of 5 stars just amazing :P
i know this album divided opinion among bjorks fans but i think its amazing.
one of the most creative and mystical albums ive heard in a long time. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2009 by FUTURESTARdelux
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
Am just listening to this now and I cant believe how great it is. I have loved every CD she has done so far but this is so different. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2008 by M. Cox
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