Bjork - Vespertine (One Little Indian)
By Philip Raffaele
Vespertine also vespertinal adj.
1. of, relating to, or occurring in the evening.
2. botany. opening or blooming in the evening.
What really needs to be said about Bjork? In my humble opinion, I think she is one of the few contemporary entertainers that has truly staked her place in the canon of music. Her previous releases have been so diverse, and groundbreaking. I have absolutely loved practically everything she has released, including the hard-to-find 'Gling-Glo' CD that was worth every penny I spent. All of the remixes are unbelievable, collaborations with the finest musicians spanning genres.
And now, 'Vespertine.' Tracklisting incomplete as of late, apparently Bjork tends to change the songs at the last minute. But so far, the first confirmed single off the album will be 'Hidden Place,' with accompanying video. (and some b-sides!!) A dreamy track, with the Icelandic one crooning over some glitchy fuzz. But that's not all.
In May, at a secret venue (Riverside Church) in Harlem, NYC, Bjork and her entourage (including electronic uber-duo Matmos, Zeena Parkins on harp, and a 12 person choir) overcame all expectations as she performed two 45-minute sets relying on the natural acoustics of the venue rather than the PA on most songs. She walked up and down the aisle of the church singing, while some onlookers were actually moved to tears by the performance. Not bad eh?
The album keeps that level of intensity. The production by Matmos creates intricately layered electronic instrumentals, with Bjork's dynamic vocals really taking over. How often do really interesting electronic tracks get coupled with a vocalist as profound as Bjork? iI is few and far between, yet this is a match made in heaven.
My favorite track so far, is 'Aurora,' which features the full range of her vocals, in almost an operatic way that is simply amazing. 'Harm of will' features lyrics by none other than Harmony Korine (Bjork > Dancer in the dark > Lars von Trier > Dogme95 > Julien Donkey-Boy > Harmony Korine - no Kevin Bacon this time) trademark eccentricity, but pulled off well by our heroine. The production on 'Harm of will' features an unbelievable breath-looping technique that develops into a quiet chorus of gasps, which only enhance the effectiveness of the track. There is so much emotion behind the lyrics; there are few entertainers out there that can evoke so much, on such a consistent basis.
'Vespertine' is an absolute masterpiece. Continuing in the long line of classic Bjork albums, Destined to fit perfectly as another chapter in her amazing catalogue. Pray for no more delays, and mark your calendars for August 28th.