Björk is not on my iPod.
Don’t misunderstand. I think Björk is brilliant. And she’s weird — something I value highly, as a fellow weirdo. But her music is an experience, not something to put on the mp3 player to help you keep your workout rhythm. When I play Björk, I listen.
Last year’s Volta is a good example. Here’s how Rolling Stone described the album: "Ten luxuriant, often dark songs ranging from Martian electronica to inimitable balladry to id-channeling reveries, with African percussion, thick brass and deeply emotional singing."
That almost covers it. In any case, it’s Björk through and through. And, like much good art, Volta seems to get better the more you play it. The most remarkable thing to come from Volta thus far, however, will blow you away even if you’re not much of a Björk fan. She and video producers Encyclopedia Pictura have created a video for the latest single from the album: "Wanderlust," which combines animation, puppets, intricate sets and live video to tell a story that could come only from Björk’s imagination.
Björk plays a shepherd guiding some giant yaks through the mountains. She does some mumbo jumbo with water. A second self pops up, à la How to Get Ahead in Advertising, and she and this muddy doppelgänger go down the river, jump off the waterfall and are pulled into another world or the future or some other dimension like Crawford, Texas.
Dazed Digital calls it "mind-boggling." Judge for yourself. (This is lo-res, which doesn’t really do it justice. If you have the bandwidth for the hi-res version, watch it here. It’s totally worth the wait for it to load.)
Incredible. And this is just the 2-D version. The 3-D video — which will require 3-D glasses to view — will be released April 19.
The video took more than 40 artists nine months to complete. Everything was crafted by hand except for Björk herself. You can find the technical details here. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t know the difference between and SI-2K and Y2K, the kind producers put together this "Making of ‘Wanderlust’" video:
To view the 3-D "Wanderlust" video, you have several options. If you’re near one of the select few participating record stores, you can view the video there. On Saturday, April 19, you can pick up free 3-D glasses at more participating record stores, and you’ll get the URL of a secret online location to view "Wanderlust." Or you can get a copy of your very own "Wanderlust Special Collectors Package" via Björk’s site. The site also provides several other sources for 3-D glasses, including a link to a website detailing how to make your own.
In the meantime, TheLipster (no relation) is hosting Björk Week on its site, with daily excerpts from an exclusive interview with the singer and videos that punctuate her comments. And Stereogum‘s Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björk’s Post is available for free download, with covers by Dirty Projectors, White Hinterland, High Places, Bell and others.
It’s worth a listen, but you might want to do so before you save it. Personally, I’ll stick to the original. Which, undoubtedly, Björk is.
Are you a Björk fan? How does Volta compare to other albums? What do you think of "Wanderlust"? And has anyone seen a yak polo match?