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Any Bjork fans?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Gregory E, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

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    I'm thinking I need to add some Björk to my collection. Anybody have suggestions on what CD I should pick up first?

    I'd also like to get one of her live DVDs too. I was thinking the "Live at Cambridge" DVD since I saw part of it on TV and thought it was really good. Anybody have it? Or is there a better one?

    Thanks!

    -Greg
     
  2. Jigesh Patel

    Jigesh Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Vespertine is a very good surround DVD-A. I liked it despite not being a Bjork fan.

    Jigesh
     
  3. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Love Björk. She does nothing typical.

    I like all her albums but I'd have to say Post is the best all-around, IMO. I'd rank Homogenic next followed by Debut, Selmasongs and Vespertine.

    Of course, you could always get her greatest hits too.
    While you're at it you might also want to pick up some SugarCubes too. Life's Too Good is their really good one...Björk's amazing voice is really showcased a few places on that album.
     
  4. Scott Kriefall

    Scott Kriefall Second Unit

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    I have all of her CDs except for the greatest hits disc, although I'm perhaps not as familiar with them as some others. I'd also recommend Post as the best starting point.
     
  5. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

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    Thanks for the input. What about the DVDs?
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Gregory, if you have no Bjork DVDs at all, I'd recommend starting with the so-called "Volumen II" DVD, which is a compendium of all or nearly all of Bjork's videos to date. This is an import flipper, with PAL on one side and NTSC on the other (all-region), and contains all the songs/videos from the "Volumen" DVD release plus seven more new videos (three of which are remixed into DD-5.1). You can also get all of these videos on the domestic DVDs of "Volumen" (the first 14 videos) and "Volumen Plus" (the new 7 videos), but I think these would run you a bit more $ separately, even at domestic prices.

    This DVD is generally known as "Volumen II", but on the spine it says "Greatest Hits" and "Volumen 1993-2003". It's the one shown at these webpages: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...861011-3018030 and http://www.blackstar.co.uk/video/item/7000000075662
     
  7. Pete_S

    Pete_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Hold on a second, Rich. The full Volumen disc has actually hit the States recently, and it's available for just $12 and change at Amazon. It's the same NTSC/PAL flipper, but it's not an import so it's cheaper...

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...v=glance&s=dvd
     
  8. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Then I definitely recommend it! [​IMG]
     
  9. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    If you can find it, may I suggest Gling Glo and of course Debut
     
  10. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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    The best Bjork for newcomers is definitely the new "Volumen II" DVD, which indeed is now available as a US pressing for around $12 from Amazon (btw, the US pressing does not have the PAL side, just NTSC). Volumen is simply a collection of her music videos, which are most of her best songs. The music videos are uniquely thoughtful and creative visually, which is unusual for music videos of the best 10 years.

    After listening to Volumen a few times, then buy the CDs containing the songs from it that you prefer. Each album has a somewhat different feel, it is matter of taste.

    The "Live at Cambridge" is the best live Bjork DVD, it is very beautifully photographed, and the performances in the middle (Isobel/Immature/Play Dead/Alarm Call) are amongst her best performances, and some of the best vocals of the past 20 years in any genre.

    By the way, if you subscribe to HBO channel, they occasionally replay her outstanding 2001 performance on the HBO show "Reverb". Check your listings.

    PS In order to appreciate "Vespertine" fully, you need to listen to the DVD-Audio version in surround. I did not care for it that much until I listened to the surround mix...

    PPS IMHO, Bjork is one of the only innovative and creative musicians of the past 8 years. Everyone else seems to just be doing the same styles of the past (for example, the new Steely Dan material is stylistically identical to their material from 15-20 years ago).
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  12. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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    The audio on the Live At Cambridge disk is good, but not great (ie it is Dolby Digital 2.0, like most of her releases).

    The direction/photography is one of the best that I have seen in a concert video. I hate when the director changes camera every second. In this video, the director stays with the same camera for long periods of time, and then it moves and pans slowly. The lighting is also very well done.
     
  13. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

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    Thanks again for the information. I think I'll be picking up a few new discs.....

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Dario

    Dario Auditioning

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    Newsweek

    Bjork Icon

    In a new DVD of her collected videos, the Icelandic star jars expectations and explores identity, sex, power and freedom in a way that’s entertaining and unnerving at the same time. Is she the female Matthew Barney?

    By Joe Hagan

    June 19 — It’s true that Bjork isn’t for everyone. With her fluttery, sing-songy vocals and odd, coquettish persona, the Icelandic wonder can sometimes seem strange for strangeness’ sake, like a cute cultural misunderstanding between her homeland and the rest of the world, set to a skittering techno beat.

    UNTIL RECENTLY, I was a skeptic, too. But watching her new DVD, “Greatest Hits: Volumen 1993-2003,” a collection of music videos representing singles from her solo career—the start of a summerlong Bjork blitz of DVDs and CDs by her label, One Little Indian—changed that. It’s a fantastic introduction to her eccentric pleasures.

    In 21 videos, created by a half dozen directors, photographers and animators, Bjork uses this marginalized art form to stunning effect, proving not only how powerful her music can be, but also the depth of her intent. Much like the controversial visual artist Matthew Barney—Bjork’s live-in boyfriend and the father of her daughter, it so happens—she uses her own mercurial image to jar expectations and explore identity, sex, power and freedom in a way that is groovy, entertaining and unnerving at the same time.

    Coming as the DVD does on the heels of Barney’s divisive show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, it’s clear that the two weirdest people on the planet have found each other. Barney, in his series of films, “The Cremaster Cycle,” uses arresting, phallocentric images of himself transfigured into mythological characters from some undreamed-of fictional universe (for instance, a nude sartyr with a glass mustache and a half dozen pigeons attached to his crotch by colorful ribbons—really—in “Cremaster 5”). Bjork, too, morphs into high-concept female personas, from a love-lorn art-museum terrorist who drives a giant street-sweeper fueled by diamonds (“Army of Me,” directed by Michel Gondry), to an eroticized white robot who makes love to a replica of herself while being spot-welded by tiny robotic arms (“All is Full of Love,” directed by Chris Cunningham) to a bald, “Star Trek”-ish nymph who transforms into a menacing metallic (and singing!) bear (“Hunter,” by Paul White).

    As Bjork burbles in her Icelandic accent on the 1993 song, “Human Behavior,” “If you ever get close to a human and human behavior, you better be ready to get confused.” She intends to show you what she means.

    For the uninitiated, these transformations might come off as so much fashion-plate frolicking, shock-value costume changes a la Madonna. But Bjork is much more than that. For one, her music is interesting: it’s dance music, but sensuous and slowed down, syncopated to unusual samples of, say, a deck of cards being shuffled or a pair of shoes walking on gravel. Her voice, an acquired taste, flits like a crazed bird with a sort of barely controlled passion—something like Nina Simone on helium. But it is her complex spins on female image, from frenetic kewpie doll to keening Pandora to sexless automaton, that make her more potent than a mere pop personality. In the context of the current musical universe of prefab retro kids and schlocky R&B divas, Bjork is advanced—positively 22nd century.

    Even in the most conventional videos, like the one for 1994’s “Violently Happy”—directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who filmed Bjork singing and dancing on the flatbed of an 18-wheeler driving through downtown New York—her mercurial body movements and facial expressions are so acute, so fluid and articulate, she achieves an almost embarrassing level of erotic joy (embarrassing because it actually seems real as opposed to stylized) without ever seeming smutty or crass.

    n 1993’s “Venus as a Boy,” directed by Sophie Muller, Bjork sings from what looks like an Icelandic country kitchen. She fixates on a bowl of eggs, one of which she burns in a frying pan. An image of two eggs boiling in a see-through bowl of water, archly suggestive of ovaries, cuts to Bjork smiling as if waking up from a naughty dream. Next, she’s fondling her pet lizard.

    On the one hand, this is just weird, wacky stuff—and it’s fun to watch simply for its arresting oddity. But on the other, there’s a teasing—and fairly subtle—subtext: it’s a song about a boy who is like a female god because “he believes in beauty”—in other words, those eggs might suggest something other than ovaries. It’s hard not to think of Barney and his obsession with ambiguous gender in “The Cremaster Cycle.”

    Other videos explore the fleshy eroticism of the body in the untempered throws of love, both requited and unrequited. “Pagan Poetry,” from 2001, directed by Nick Knight, is an especially disturbing—and riveting—example. It shows a series of pulsating grid maps, which flush pink as they begin to morph into suggestive shapes, which sometimes cut to low-fidelity video of Bjork’s body being pierced with beaded string, which we find later are woven into a revealing wedding dress. Finally, there is a blunt video image of a metal needle piercing directly into Bjork’s nipple—ouch! Shocking, for sure, but also viscerally confessional, as she writhes with agony and gasps, “I love him, I love him, I love him.”

    Bjork also toys with the idea of her identity as an artist and a star—a subject that has been explored so many times, it’s tiring to even think about. But 1997’s “Bachelorette,” directed by Michel Gondry, does something exceptional. In a black-and-white film, treated to look archival, Bjork finds a magical, self-writing book in the woods and takes it to a sort of 1950s metropolis to show to a publisher, who turns “My Story” into a sensation. Later, in Technicolor, the video takes a step back—it turns out all of this is taking place on a stage, with an audience of theatergoers looking on. Next, within that play, the publisher sits in the audience watching the story of how the Bjork character came to the big city, met with a publisher, reached fame—and had her story turned into a play. The Borgesian nightmare multiplies, over and over, with Bjork trying to find a door out of the whole mess, but each time ending up in another level of theater. Finally, the set gets overgrown with weeds and grass and people themselves start turning into shrubs. The city turns back into the woods, with Bjork alone in a forest.

    It’s tempting to chalk all this up to interesting directors rather than Bjork herself. But that’s not quite right, given her intensely collaborative and organic relationship to some of them, especially Gondry, a Frenchman. Gondry, who produced six of the videos for Bjork, said in a recent interview that he was actually jealous when Bjork worked with other video directors. “I see our relationship like these very ’70s marriages,” he joked. “The husband and the wife would have sex with other partners to preserve their marriage.”

    t’s easy to see why Gondry, who has directed videos for the White Stripes and also done extensive commercial work, has been credited with reviving the music-video format. His videos are extraordinary. He was a major influence on Spike Jonze, the director of the Nicolas Cage vehicle “Adaptation.” Jonze himself directed two of Bjork’s videos, including “It’s Oh So Quiet,” a 1950s-style Technicolor musical number, with Busby Berkeley-esque dance sequences taking place in a tire store. (The song, too, is a fantastic example of how Bjork can transform something as hackneyed as the Broadway show tune into something kinetic and emotional—again, a show tune for the 22nd century. For more of the same, see her work in Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark.”)

    This collection, seen as a whole, reminds us how powerful music videos once were when they first came to popularity in the early 1980s—and how powerful they can still be, although no one ever sees them. It’s almost unimaginable that the sort of freaky, art-house videos once made by the Talking Heads or Devo could be broadcast on MTV today. And it’s unimaginable that these Bjork gems could appear in the market-driven cable trough, where videos, such as they are, have been crowded out by reality programming. It’s too bad, because Bjork—and the talented directors, photographers, computer animators and cartoonists she employs—is many orders of magnitude more inventive, interesting and subversive than anything appearing on those channels now. Like good art, Bjork mystifies, again and again. And in a culture that regularly pumps out banality, that is a rare and wonderful thing.
     
  15. Michael St. Clair

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    Can anyone tell me if the Volumen II videos use PCM stereo audio (like Volumen did), or if they are DD2.0?
     
  16. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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  17. Michael St. Clair

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    I think I'll just get 'Volumen Plus' for $10 from Amazon. It adds the seven new videos, but I'll still have PCM stereo quality for the original videos.

    With 21 videos on the disc, it wouldn't surprise me if they dropped PCM, which is very large.
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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    I think I'll just get 'Volumen Plus' for $10 from Amazon. It adds the seven new videos, but I'll still have PCM stereo quality for the original videos.

    With 21 videos on the VII disc, it wouldn't surprise me if they dropped PCM, which is very large.
     
  19. Dario

    Dario Auditioning

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    Bjork will soon release LIVE BOX SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From earlash.com:

    The idiom "your reputation precedes you and your legend follows" can now be applied to Bjork thanks to this massive Live Box, which documents the Icelandic ingénue's eccentric ten-year solo sojourn.

    As the lead voice of avant-garde pop purveyors the Sugarcubes, Bjork's quirky guttural/angelic timbre and melodic prowess pushed the band towards world class status among college rock fans who embraced their 1988 debut Life's Too Good as the nexus of modern music and punk. Though the Sugarcubes never lived up to their commercial or artistic promise, Bjork continues to forge a successful career. In the music video medium, Bjork ranks with Madonna (she co-wrote the title track to Bedtime Stories) as a true visionary, though she's somewhat more eccentric and decidedly left of center than the material girl. Working within the dance/club genre, Bjork's alliance with London's underground royalty (namely Tricky, Nellee Hooper, Howie B., Graham Massey, and Underworld, among others) has produced an impressive catalog.

    So why is this box set out and why do we need it? Bjork rarely appears on the concert stage, and when she does, it's usually in a big city. This collection is aimed at those who couldn't get a ticket, implies the liner notes. Each disc is a live rendition of her four studio albums, recorded over the span of several years and hand-picked by the artist. Also included is a bonus DVD of performance footage from London, New York, and Tokyo, and rare videos, along with a thirty-five page color booklet.

    Stripped of the antiseptic recording studio sheen, digital dynamics, and overtly metronomic pulsations which define her albums, Bjork in-the-flesh exudes the improvisational character of a jazz singer. With real horns, real guitars, real drums, real bass, real backing vocals, etc., she capitalizes on the give and take of living, breathing musicians converging before an audience. "One Day," originally from Debut, is rendered slower and sparser than its initial incarnation, highlighting world beat percussion and a solo harpsichord coda. Her signature techno hit, "Army of Me" now explodes with heavy-metal thunder as the bass and keyboards duplicate the underlying motif akin to Led Zeppelin in their glory daze. Though her last studio effort, Vespertine was considered to be a subdued, intimate affair, the orchestral backdrop of "Harm Of Will," the extended harp intro of "Generous Palmstroke," and the haunting counterpoint of "All Is Full Of Love" evoke images of Broadway bravura via rich arrangements, lush delivery, and a confident sway.

    Will this collection convert doubters? Probably not. But for fans, Live Box will be a cherished remake, remodeled keepsake. It's nice to hear her voice crack where it's not supposed to and enhance melodies that have been etched in stone and blazed across dance floors around the world. Perhaps a more profit-minded record company marketing department would have saved this one for the holiday season, but in Bjork's world, every day is Christmas.
     
  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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