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Björk - Vespertine

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Vespertine

Bjork

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After cathartic statements like Homogenic, the role of Selma in Dancer in the Dark, and the film's somber companion piece, Selmasongs, it's not surprising that Björk's first album in four years is less emotionally wrenching. But Vespertine isn't so much a departure from her previous work as a culmination of the musical distance she's traveled; within songs like the subtly sensual "Hidden Place" and "Undo" are traces of Debut and Post's gentle loveliness, as well as Homogenic and Selmasongs' reflective, searching moments. Described by Björk as "about being on your own in your house with your laptop and whispering for a year and just writing a very peaceful song that tiptoes," Vespertine's vocals seldom rise above a whisper, the rhythms mimic heartbeats and breathing, and a pristine, music-box delicacy unites the album into a deceptively fragile, hypnotic whole. Even relatively immediate, accessible songs such as "It's Not Up to You," "Pagan Poetry," and "Unison" share a spacious serenity with the album's quietest moments. Indeed, the most intimate songs are among the most varied, from the seductively alien "Cocoon" to the dark, obsessive "An Echo, A Stain" to the fairy tale-like instrumental "Frosti." The beauty of Vespertine's subtlety may be lost on Björk fans demanding another leap like the one she made between Post and Homogenic, but like the rest of the album, its innovations are intimate and intricate. Collaborators like Matmos -- who, along with their own A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure, appear on two of 2001's best works -- contribute appropriately restrained beats crafted from shuffled cards, cracking ice, and the snap-crackle-pop of Rice Krispies; harpist Zeena Parkins' melodic and rhythmic playing adds to the postmodernly angelic air. An album singing the praises of peace and quiet, Vespertine isn't merely lovely; it proves that in Björk's hands, intimacy can be just as compelling as louder emotions.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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Vespertine

Björk

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1
Hidden Place
00:05:29

Guy Sigsworth, Choir Arranger, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mark Bell, ComposerLyricist - Vince Mendoza, Choir Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Engineer, Recording Engineer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Damian Taylor, Engineer, Recording Engineer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Producer, Vocals, Choir Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matthew Herbert, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Matmos, Programming, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

2
Cocoon
00:04:27

Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Producer, Programmer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Thomas Knak, Composer, Producer, Programmer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

3
It's Not Up To You
00:05:08

Guy Sigsworth, Clavichord, Synthesizer Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Mendoza, String Arranger, Choir Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Producer, String Arranger, Vocals, Choir Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Valgeir Sigurðsson, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caryl Thomas, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Leigh Jamison, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

4
Undo
00:05:37

Vince Mendoza, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zeena Parkins, String Arranger, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Bjork, Producer, Vocals, Choir Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Valgeir Sigurðsson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jan "Stan" Kybert, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Thomas Knak, Composer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

5
Pagan Poetry
00:05:14

Marius de Vries, Producer, Additional Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Zeena Parkins, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bjork, Producer, String Arranger, Vocals, Bass Programming, Recording Arranger, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2001 One Little Independent Records

6
Frosti
00:01:41

Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Composer, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jack Perron, Bells, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

7
Aurora
00:04:37

Marius de Vries, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Engineer, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Damian Taylor, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Zeena Parkins, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Bjork, Producer, String Arranger, Bass Guitar, Vocals, Drum Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matmos, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

8
An Echo A Stain
00:04:04

Marius de Vries, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Guy Sigsworth, Composer, Choir Arranger, Drum Programming, Celesta, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Mendoza, String Arranger, Choir Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Damian Taylor, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Zeena Parkins, String Arranger, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Bjork, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matmos, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Valgeir Sigurðsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

9
Sun In My Mouth
00:02:39

Guy Sigsworth, Composer - Vince Mendoza, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Producer, String Arranger, Harp, Vocals, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Valgeir Sigurðsson, Recording Engineer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

10
Heirloom
00:05:11

Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Vocal Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Martin Console, Composer, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

11
Harm Of Will
00:04:36

Guy Sigsworth, Composer, Celesta, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Mendoza, String Arranger, Choir Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bjork, Producer, String Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, Vocal Editing, ComposerLyricist - Valgeir Sigurðsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Harmony Korine, Composer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

12
Unison
00:06:47

Guy Sigsworth, Choir Arranger, Celesta, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Vince Mendoza, String Arranger, Choir Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Mark 'Spike' Stent, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Davies, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Damian Taylor, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Zeena Parkins, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Bjork, Producer, String Arranger, Vocals, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Markus Popp, Composer - Matmos, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Valgeir Sigurðsson, Engineer, Recording Engineer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Sebastian Oschatz, Composer - Frank Metzger, Composer

℗ 2001 Bjork Overseas Ltd. / One Little Independent Records

Album Description

After cathartic statements like Homogenic, the role of Selma in Dancer in the Dark, and the film's somber companion piece, Selmasongs, it's not surprising that Björk's first album in four years is less emotionally wrenching. But Vespertine isn't so much a departure from her previous work as a culmination of the musical distance she's traveled; within songs like the subtly sensual "Hidden Place" and "Undo" are traces of Debut and Post's gentle loveliness, as well as Homogenic and Selmasongs' reflective, searching moments. Described by Björk as "about being on your own in your house with your laptop and whispering for a year and just writing a very peaceful song that tiptoes," Vespertine's vocals seldom rise above a whisper, the rhythms mimic heartbeats and breathing, and a pristine, music-box delicacy unites the album into a deceptively fragile, hypnotic whole. Even relatively immediate, accessible songs such as "It's Not Up to You," "Pagan Poetry," and "Unison" share a spacious serenity with the album's quietest moments. Indeed, the most intimate songs are among the most varied, from the seductively alien "Cocoon" to the dark, obsessive "An Echo, A Stain" to the fairy tale-like instrumental "Frosti." The beauty of Vespertine's subtlety may be lost on Björk fans demanding another leap like the one she made between Post and Homogenic, but like the rest of the album, its innovations are intimate and intricate. Collaborators like Matmos -- who, along with their own A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure, appear on two of 2001's best works -- contribute appropriately restrained beats crafted from shuffled cards, cracking ice, and the snap-crackle-pop of Rice Krispies; harpist Zeena Parkins' melodic and rhythmic playing adds to the postmodernly angelic air. An album singing the praises of peace and quiet, Vespertine isn't merely lovely; it proves that in Björk's hands, intimacy can be just as compelling as louder emotions.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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