Search - Bjork :: Volta

Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Bjork
Title: Volta
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Universal Japan
Release Date: 11/19/2008
Album Type: Limited Edition, Import
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Electronica, Trip-Hop, Experimental Music, Dance Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

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CD Reviews

Generous Charms of Crap
Reticuli | Las Vegas | 03/31/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Hire Timbaland to use all manner of glossy electro-hop production, but while you can indeed polish a turd in this case it's still... you know... a turd.

I don't apologize for snide jokes. Bjork is in danger of becoming a parody of herself. That sticker on the front doesn't help. Seriously, how bad did Lars Van Trier screw up Bjork's head? She hasn't been the same since. At least half this album is interesting poetry, with a full-on freak-out rant thrown in for good measure, arbitrarily matched to random rhythms and melodies. I cannot hear enough cogent music and art to recommend it outside the bargain bin (read that: Amazon Marketplace). Maybe you can. Good luck.

Jazzy? The (oh god, I won't use that other g-word again) "common" use of horns is a dead give away. Perhaps, but the whole point of that is to create music you've never heard before. Here it seems like some pretty generic lyrics (for Bjork) and pretty generic production (for Timbaland). I use the term "pretty" for mostly, as it's not as esthetically titillating as her other releases, either. It's frequently annoying... in fine hifi with a warm balance and intricate mix, but still. Those brass layers need IEM clarity to keep from droning.

The two stand out tracks are clearly the hit-single Earth Intruders and I See Who You Are, with about the most touching references to rotting corpses you'll ever hear. The other notable aspects are the interesting transitions between the tracks and Earth Intruders' outro from fog horn environmental sounds into melody made up of those samples. John Williams forgot even underwater UFOs need land warnings. The rest is akin to Selmasongs with a dash of Telegram's esoteric moments, skewed even more atonally.

Wanderlust's rumbling bassline and glitches might make a decent spin for beat-boys to break to. Ditto for Innocence, which is about the closest the album comes to Homogenic, though neither of these are what I'd call chamber music with a chewy nougat worth sitting down and deeply enjoying & digesting. O.k., I'll admit the totally unrelated but related (you'll understand when you hear it) music backing Bjork in Hope deserves a shout out. The moral ambiguity of a pregnant suicide bomber is a bit lost on me, unfortunately, in spite of the clever title and mood.

In between the aforementioned exceptions, the album can be close to un-listenable, even in private. Speaking of rotten, this fan is feeling it for saying so. I am not such a hardcore (read that: insane) fan to own obscure box sets, but enough to question my qualifications for criticizing. Volta was too often like listening to a collection of B-sides, with the "b" standing for barely even that. I found Vespertine and Medulla occasionally conducive to headphone listening to prevent public embarrassment, but I'd be uncomfortable playing this album for any but my most adventurous and avant-garde acquaintances who were already Bjork fans.

And then, most of what I'll be doing is consoling them at the descent of a great artist into virtual madness. Admit it, we saw this coming since the swan dress. It is in many ways a logical progression of the last third of her career. Though, if this were actual lunacy, I think the product would be improving.

I can hear the disagreement: it's just challenging. Blast this for all the world to absorb and be expanded!! I'm sure the 1970's cinema-inspired apprehensive vibe of Vertebrae By Vertebrae will bring me to yelling I'm mad as hell and just can't take something anymore. 2007's not as quick on the draw as Green Day for an activist album, but luckily she made the pre-Obama deadline. Oh, it's about Greenland and Kosovo? She does know it's just a well-marketed Muslim-Albanian separatist movement where the US is there protecting Serbs, right? Where was her protest music during Bosnia?

I don't hate this album completely. I'm just disappointed, I think, because of high expectations. If you're into hearing Bjork doing the equivalent of a spoken-word album (insulting to call it that, yet a useful psych), but crooned the way you've heard her do many times before, with random background music like some coffee house in Soho where neo-beatniks hang ("Those commie-loving electro beat makers!!!"), then get this. Just know a little what you're getting into. This is one instance where going in without expectations isn't likely to end well.

Now the few highlights will be bonus... uh... charms... that... you know... make you invisible... and stuff."