Personnel: Bjork (vocals, programming); Caryl Thomas, Zeena Parkins (harp); Guy Sigsworth (celeste, Clavichord, programming); Jake Davies, Damian Taylor, Matthew Herbert, Matmos, Thomas Knak, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Marius De Vries, Martin Console (programming). Producers: Bjork, Thomas Knak, Marius De Vries. Engineers include: Jake Davies, Damian Taylor, Erik Gosh. VESPERTINE was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. Bjork's first non-soundtrack album since HOMOGENIC is positively pastoral compared with that release's experimental electronic textures. Swathed in strings and laced with beautiful choral arrangements, VESPERTINE has more in common with SELMASONGS, echoing that DANCER IN THE DARK soundtrack album's meandering melody lines, while smoothing out and adding an ethereal sheen to the more angular approaches of the singer's previous work. Here the idiosyncratic Icelander lets loose with her full range of vocal stylings, though even her most innocent, little-girl-lost persona can't hide her steely intelligence. The album-opening "Hidden Place" starts with foreboding electronic rhythms--it's about unspoken or unfulfilled desires, and it's simultaneously exotic-sounding and dripping with melancholy, a mood that persists until the gently cathartic "Undo," with its mantra-like line "It's not meant to be a strife/It's not meant to be a struggle uphill." Though VESPERTINE's textures might ostensibly seem smooth and seamless, beneath the surface Bjork's emotions run raw and exposed, as evidenced by the final naked outburst of "I love him" in the coda to "Pagan Poetry." VESPERTINE is Bjork's most mature, fully realized integration of her pastoral Icelandic roots and her contemporary electronica (electronic scamps Matmos are collaborators here) inclinations to date.
Bjork - Vespertine (Vinyl Lp)
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