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BJORK - Medulla   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Sunday, 05 September 2004
"Earth Calling Bjork. Earth calling Bjork. Come in Bjork..."

Dear Bjork,

This is your muse. I know we haven't seen much of each other, but I thought I should drop you a line, seen as its been a while, and I wonder how you are doing.

I know we split up years ago, actually sometime in 1999, if I remember rightly. You didn't tell me you'd gone off and abandoned the muse, I just remember hearing you were seeing other people. You and me, we used to have good times, you remember? You used to sing songs. Now I see you and who are you with?

You never sing anymore. You don't have tunes. We used to sing together. Now you open your mouth and sounds come out, but there's no tunes. There's no sense of this being music made for anyone's enjoyment but your own.

I know, you tried so hard to be without me. You held your head high, you went out in public with your new lovers. La Avant Garde. I know, you didn't need me any more. I'd made you so much money, you need never see me again.

You know Vespertine and Selma? The two you had after you left me. You knew they weren't as good as me : but you didn't want anyone to know that's how you really felt. To lie in someone else's arms and know that mine were better?

You fell back on me, for a while, and I didn't even know it. The Greatest Hits, The Family Tree, The Concert Box Set. They bought you time without me. You thought maybe I'd come back, but once I've gone, I've gone. You can't go back to 1994 anymore.

You fooled the rest though. Vespertine and Selma were more popular than I. They sold more, but meant less. You used to be young. You used to smile. Now though, it's all changed. You don't go out anymore, and I can hear it.

It's dance music for people who don't dance. It's experimental : and some experiments fail. Medulla, for that is her name, isn't very good. There's no tunes. There's a symphony of voices. A cacophony in fact, of undisciplined noise on several occasions. Odd beats scattered all over the place.

And you know? Medulla doesn't look or seem right. She's the type of girl that when you have all the money in the world, you don't care what you look like. Medulla is the sound of a muse that has flown : in an album of languid, minimalist soundscapes, there's the odd song with drums and beats that jars and spoils the record, and even then, they're instantly forgettable. The last number, for example, is probably the most upbeat song on the record, concluding on a fourtet of beats, before silence. It sounds like the beginning of something marvellous, and not the ending of something mediocre.

It doesn't sound like a record : it sounds like a collection of ‘tracks' (not songs : songs have words and melody) dropped in random places and left to fester. Medulla is the flying of the muse, the final straw so to speak, as Bjork edges ever further away into a world of the obscure, the self-indulgent, the self-referential, sealed world of celebrity isolation as she loses touch with the world the rest of us live in.

Artistic Freedom is a beautiful thing. But Artistic Freedom does not necessarily mean that simply because we can do a thing, that we must do a thing. Simply put, you can put out obscure, irrelevant records like this, but it doesn't mean we're gonna buy it. Someone will, and maybe that's what frightens me a little about the humn race.

Sure, you can be true to your artistic vision :and the best artists are nothing but true. But when the truth is so confusing, when the vision is so clouded you can't see anything at all, it's time to admit that you are looking in the wrong place.

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