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Thursday, September 20, 2001

Review - Vespertine

Artist: Björk

Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2001 at 4:00 AM

Label: Elektra
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Vespertine

What do you suppose an average day is like for Björk? Grand international pop-princess adventure or "six glasses of water/ seven phone calls"? That detail, dropped into the lyrics to "It's Not Up to You," provides an important reminder that all the emotional and sonic swoops and swirls of the dazzling "Vespertine" came from the head and heart of a working single mother.

Björk's collaborations with cutting-edge electronic cut-and-pasters such as Matmos and Matthew Herbert have fostered the impression that she might take her modernist-art pop further into the abstract. Nothing could be further from the truth. The concrete samples and beats are here, but the album is suffused with a deft mix of more lulling sounds -- billowing veils of strings, oooh-ing choruses, tintinnabulary music boxes and harps and the singer's own mercurial voice.

The swoony production is perfect for the head-over-heels songs of amorous bonding ("Hidden Place," "Cocoon," "Unison") and odes to finding calm and transcendence amid the everyday ("It's Not Up to You," "Undo"), especially an e.e. cummings poem set to music, "Sun in My Mouth."


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