Volta: Extra Tracks Extra tracks
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Bjork returns to her iconic, innovative and rhythmic roots with Volta. Featuring her own infamous beats and collaborations with Timbaland, Antony Hegarty, Brian Chippendale and an all-female Icelandic brass section, the end result is an explosion of beats and an amalgamtion of sound and visuals that give Volta a life of its own, like the world hasn't seen from Bjork in years.
Here's a mark of just how special Bjork is, how defined her artistic character: she can invite any amount of guests into the studio - African junk-percussion groups, futurist hip-hop producers, improv drummers, emotive torch-singers, Warp Records techno heads - and still come out with an album that sounds like no one but herself. The Icelandic vocalist's sixth solo studio album, Volta, is both a work of extraordinary, driven experimentation and glorious, singalong pop - outsider sounds carried into the mainstream through Bjork's sheer sense of vision.
The opening ''Earth Intruders'' sets the tone for Volta's multi-faceted, guest-heavy approach. Produced by Timbaland and featuring percussion from collaboration-happy improv drummer Chris Corsano and Konono No.1, a Congolese shanty-town collective who build a polyrhythmic shuffle out of makeshift percussion and electric thumb-pianos, it's an ecstatic, bounding war march, Bjork chanting 'We are the earth intruders/We are the paratroopers/Stampede of sharpshooters'. There's more evidence on Volta that Bjork's in a percussive kind of mood - Corsano pops up on another tracks, 'I See Who You Are', while another freeform drummer, Brian Chippendale of experimental duo Lightning Bolt adds a distant, chaotic rumble to the Antony Hegarty duet, ''The Dull Flame Of Desire''. But just as common is jarring techno beats, the warm horns of an Icelandic brass section, or the twang of the African kora.
Ultimately, then, it's easiest to understand Volta through the precocious personality of Bjork herself. Here, she sounds energised and politicised - ''Hope'' is a philosophical tract about suicide bombers, while ''Declare Independence'' finds her chanting 'Start your own currency/Make your own stamp/Protect your language/Declare independence' over robust electronic beats and glitches. But also, Volta is shot through with a very immediate, live-for-the-moment passion. On ''I See Who You Are'', Bjork celebrates her lover's body before aging and death takes its toll: 'Let's celebrate now/All this flesh on our bones/Let me push you up against me tightly/And enjoy every bit of you.' Joyful, expressive, brave, intelligent: in short, another great Bjork album. --Louis Pattison
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Top Customer Reviews
Opening track `Earth Intruders' reaffirms Bjorks cult status with dirgy sounds and macabre backing vocals. The backbeat suggests a driving force whilst the vocals take an abstract look at the pagan nature of human endurance. The track ends establishing a raw and dirty feel for the album before quickly moving onto lyrics exposing discomfort with religion and lust for social satisfaction.
`The Dull Flame of Desire' is a duet borrowing the equally unique voice of Anthony Hegarty from the up and coming jazz ballad act `Anthony and the Johnsons.' An ominous orchestra introduces lush interlaced vocals which raises tension to the point where the tribal sound of drums dominates. This particular track is a showcase for Bjorks ability to use rich harmony, creating moments of magic which surface throughout the record.
Clever instrumentation throughout, Volta boasts an array of electronic noises and merges them with traditional styles collected from around the world. The track `I See Who You Are' is a welcome return to intimacy, with imagery bringing the lyrics to life.Read more ›
The highlight for me is Pneumonia, about a person who is so full of pain that they hide away from the world to avoid more hurt, 'get over that sorrow, girl, get over it'. The music and lyrics all come together here to tell a tale with beauty and emotion.
Other great tracks include: Dull Flame of Desire, Wanderlust and I See Who You Are.
The album version of 'Innocence' is unremarkable unlike it's EP incarnation, Simian Mobile Disco Twelve Inch Remix, which makes me want to dance and is a tonic of pure energy.
'Declare Independence' and 'My Juvenile' aren't very melodic and quite academic, conceptual stuff, I don't like them.
Earth Intruders was an odd choice for a single I think, it gets bogged down with poor lyrics where the poetry doesn't quite flow. Collaboration with Sjón Sigurdsson, who wrote lyrics for Oceania on Medúlla and Bachelorette from Homogenic are times when Björk leaps out from the Earth's gravity and into the heavens.
For me this album is Björk's weakest overall, with songs I either love or loathe, nothing inbetween.
I'm so pleased she's still putting out her music.
Relatively speaking, of course.
Once you get the discs out of their preposterous packaging (one aspect of the production where further quirkiness is not to be encouraged) everything else runs surprisingly close to plan. The brass is back, underpinned by fog horns that add an organic and atmospheric dimension to the bass range. The unmistakable vocals of Antony provide an emotional intimacy that Björk's own melodic inventions sometimes lack, strengthening two ballads here and giving a greater sense of coherence. The introduction of kora, clavichord and (especially) pipa provides those flashes of instrumental colour that Björk so shrewdly interleaves with the customary percussion loops (although personally I miss the bells that added such sensuality to her recent albums). Generally speaking, everything sounds back on course.Read more ›
The opener of the record "Earth Intruders" literally marches into your head-- (We Are The Earth Intruders/We Are The Earth Intrudes/Muddy and Twigs and Branches)--With African-tribe beats, drums and nice tempo beats it is easy to say that Bjork is going back to the mainstream world back in '95 with her release "Post", but since when have Bjork been mainstream? Bjork new beats are clearly more "mainstream", if you can call them mainstream, but her songs have Bjork written all over them.
With the help of Timbaland Bjork pulls off two more up beat tracks (The First being "Earth Intruders")--Innocence and Hope--. "Innocence" it's probably the strongest and most mainstream song of the record--and also one of my favorites--, it still contains Bjork in it but in a less innocence way. "Wanderlust", "The Dull Flame of Desire" and "See Who You Are" are pretty similar ballads, each with their own up beat bass on the back. "Dull" is a duet with Antony Hegarty and "See Who You Are" has a great remix by Mark Stent. "Declare Independence" is probably the hardest song to swallow; it has that "Pluto" from Homogenic sound. "My Juvenile" its Bjork song to Sindri, -- (My Juvenile/I Truly Say/You Are My Biggest Love)--probably the deepest song, lyrically, on the whole record. The album shows intensity and persistence, and most importantly rhythm. The record contains interludes in between the songs, which bring the songs together as a whole connecting their different sound into just one steady rhythm.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great album as always, Björk continues to create very unique, thematic and melodical albums, Volta is quite visual and trival influenced, the tracks "Wanderlust" and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Coloured vinyl 2LP limited edition (2015). Nowhere does it state 45 rpm so I was caught out again but maybe a Bjork album at the wrong speed is interesting in itself.Published 12 months ago by GPI
A beautiful red & yellow vinyl reissue of this iconic album. It looks fantastic & was reasonably priced. Extremely happy.Published 15 months ago by Schmoo1964
The album has its magic. It's slightly different from the previous ones - which is nothing surprising when comes to Björk. Read morePublished on 10 May 2014 by Irie