Normally, an artist such as Bjork with a mass audience across the globe steadily eases off as the back-catalog starts to grow. However, Medulla, the fifth proper studio album from Bjork is without a doubt the most challenging collection of music she has ever released. For the most part, the album is made up of layers upon layers of processed vocal parts arranged in either harmony or dissonance such as "Vokuro" and "Oll Birtan," respectively. Some, such as "Show Me Forgiveness" are simple acapella, the aforementioned sounding like a vocal cut from Debut minus the music. Another echo of Bjork days gone by is "Desired Constellation," a slow trancy pulse underpinning her distinct vocals. "Where Is the Line," "Who Is It," and "Triumph of a Heart" are a bit grimier with a semi-urban twist, the latter a fantastically funky beatbox number with an outstanding introduction, the closest moment to a pop song appearing on Medulla. Although traditional instruments and breaks have been removed from this album, Medulla is no great departure for Bjork but in a sense it is radically different from any of her previous work. Some will love it, some hate it, and some just won't be sure what to think. --David Trueman Amazon.com Special Content An Interview with BjÃ¶rk BjÃ¶rk shared her thoughts about the directions she is taking with Medulla in our Amazon.com interview.
Special limited hi-rez SACD hybrid edition of the trailblazing art rocker's 2004 release was conceived as an album of pastiche, but Bjork changed her mind in the midst of the recording sessions. She decided to make the human voice a central focus and featured a variety of voices here, including throaty singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis, Rahzel from the Roots, Japanese acappella singer Dokaka, Faith No More's Mike Patton, legendary Soft Machine drummer/singer/songwriter Robert Wyatt and several different choirs! Regular participants included programmer Mark Bell and ace mixer Mark "Spike" Stent to once again expand the boundaries of her sound.
Moon Safari French duo Air's debut album is a superlatively happy collection of experimental disco-mood sound nestled between ambient soundscape and breathy pop. It's jazzy and melodic, and mostly laid-back, but not excessively so. There are a few shake-it, shake-it numbers, too, like the absurdly daft hit "Sexy Boy." It's snap your fingers and hang out (while reading) music or dance around sexy-slow with your mate music. It's also the perfect music to do your ironing or some other chore to; it's hypnotizing wallpaper music. It slips in and out of your consciousness, forcing you to move around with a relaxed smile before you even realize it. Oh, and contrary to sampler fashion, Nicolas Godin and Jean Benoit Dunckel played the instruments themselves. Bravo. --Mike McGonigal
FURTADO NELLY WHOA NELLY! Blame it on the bossa nova, but this chick has got soul. By filtering her Portuguese roots through the trip-hop she was weaned on, Nelly Furtado creates a hypnotic form of R&B/alternapop that at times sounds like Fiona Apple, Macy Gray, and Gwen Stefani all rolled into a Portishead song. Cutting her teeth at four Lilith Fair dates before even having a record contract, Furtado seems accelerated far beyond her 21 years. Listen, and you can hear the Portuguese fado tradition, Brazilian beats, flashy urban rhymes--enough snap, crackle, and pop to fill your breakfast bowl. Put your ear closer to the speaker, though, and you can sense that this is the sound of a multicultural young woman finding her own identity through all the pop she's been fed. If you're someone who likes to sing along to soaring vocals or who likes to get hip to a new star before she goes supernova, this is an album to own. --Heidi Sherman
Special 2008 edition Two CD set. This is the classic double platinum 2000 album release Whoa, Nelly! remastered and reissued with a second disc of unique versions previously available as bonus tracks outside the U.S. or on CD singles. This is the remarkable debut DreamWorks album by this Canadian songstress that produced the smash hits 'I'm Like A Bird' and 'Turn Off The Lights' and it has been a remarkably steady seller since. Multi-million selling debut album by Nelly Furtado is expanded and it features five hard-to-find versions and remixes, including the original, an acoustic version and a remix of Nelly's across-the-board smash 'I'm Like A Bird' plus 'Turn Off The Lights'.
11-track version includes 'It's a Fire' not featured on the 10-track version. Universal. 1994. The collaboration of studio whiz Geoff Barrow and singer Beth Gibbons, Dummy was made at the same time as a short film noir called "To Kill a Dead Man," and the same approach--gloomy, tormented, and wildly melodramatic--permeates the album. "Sour Times" (the hit in which Gibbons cries, again and again, "Nobody loves me, it's true") and the more cryptic "Glory Box" are the linchpins of the album, defining its sound: dark flashes of old soul and film music, dehumanized electronic bleeps, Gibbons emoting like she's consumed by shame, and a bass-and-beat pulse derived from the slow bump and grind of the Bristol scene that spawned Barrow's old collaborators, Massive Attack. --Douglas Wolk