Vespertine and vespers are revelatory words that encompass botany, zoology, astronomy, spirit and the rhythms of the universe:
a flower opening in the evening, an animal that becomes active after sunset, evening prayer, Venus the evening star, setting and
dusk. Poetic words of contradictory multiple allusions: to love, to hunt, to pray, to withdraw into contemplation, to open out as
night closes in. "I thrive best, hermit style, with a beard and a pipe," Björk sings, with a barely audible laugh,
on Vespertine. This is the album that follows SelmaSongs, last year's soundtrack to Dancer In The Dark, and her last solo album,
Since Debut, her work has always followed her heart. Early days in Reykjavik listening to her grandparents' jazz collection, her
mother's rock records, her classical music education, the songs, sagas and poetry of Iceland, anarchist punk bands and the arguments
about surrealism were all carried with her into the musical vibrancy of London's stylistic, ethnic and artistic mix. Debut sold
over 2.5 million copies worldwide and was followed in 1993 by Post, an even bigger success that added Graham Massey, Howie B and
Tricky to Nellee Hooper's production skills. After Post's bigger beats, deeper sub-bass and the cartoonish big band outburst of
"It's Oh So Quiet", Homogenic, released in 1997, was more experimental in its contrasting textures, more bold in its intensity
Vespertine is an adult album, full of childlike joy, sparkling with the fragile sounds of harp, celeste, clavichord and music box.
"Sun In My Mouth" has a poem for its lyrics, one of a series of songs written in 1925 by American poet e. e. cummings.
It comes as no surprise to find his words in a Björk album. His capacity to merge sensuality, passion, playfulness and universal
wonder with fierce precision, uncompromising accessibility and unwavering experimentalism mirror Björk's aspirations and achievements.
Vespertine crunches through the sound of snow, crackles with the sound of digital chatter, flutters with strange little voices that
dart at the edge of perception, whispers in the fading light. At its heart is a big human heart. "I think pop music," says
Björk, "folk music, just the music that humans make for humans to get through a day, everyday music as opposed to more serious
music - for it to be all these things that we never see every day, like ukuleles, and make something magical is easy. But to use the
noises that everybody is using every day - the remote control, the mobile, the Internet and fax machine - it's not about wanting to
be weird or something or avant-garde or any of that shit. It's down to earth. It's dealing with the porridge and cup of tea. Digital
stuff is all around us anyway. Making a song out of that. I think it's braver and more taking on the moment than other things. That
was my little speech."
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