Sunday, February 14, 2010
Bjork - Telegram (1996)
As I sat alone in the freezing cold of my heaterless soon-to-be-former home and took yet another pointless GED practice test to tell me I still suck at math and can't memorize formulas to save my life, I put on this remix CD I grabbed out if the dollar bin at Half-Price Books, hoping Bjork's tender voice would warm me up. At times it served its purpose, but mostly the spacey ambience and heavy beats served to chill me even further. For every sweet, orchestral mix, there's one placing Bjork in the context of a rave, rolling and freaking out. And for every one of those, there's one that cancels out the warmth of Bjork's voice by placing her in a frighteningly claustrophobic, paranoid, and isolated place. Somewhere in the darkness of space, Bjork is in cold sweats and singing to soothe herself. That's almost appealing in a way. Unsettling though it may be, it still evokes a strong emotion and makes those tracks such as the Dillinja mix of "Cover Me" and the Mika Vainio remix of "Headphones" true stand-outs. On the more pleasant side of things, the Deodato mix of "Isobel" is upbeat and slightly tropical, like the memory of better times dancing at some sort of island gala before whatever led her to the situations of "Cover Me." Another highlight is the inclusion of both the original version and a remix of "I Miss You." The original, a bonus track tacked on the end, is an excellent darkly funky dance workout recalling more evil 80's Prince (think 1999, Sign o' the Times, and the Black Album) but with a 90's jungle edge to it. The remix casts it as an east coast hip hop jam, complete with a rap verse, reminding one of the wintery Illmatic or Liquid Swords tracks ("Represent" or "Cold World" for instance) that were recent of the time. Not normally being a fan of remix albums, I have to admit I was impressed by this one. Sure, Bjork is known for delivering on the remix album concept, but so are Nine Inch Nails and I personally feel like there's maybe five worthwhile tracks among their entire remix discography. So color me surprised that Bjork and her collaborators actually do deliver on this one, proving there was an actual point to remixing Post. Of course that point might just be that Bjork's voice sounds good over anything, but the music on this one doesn't indulge in any of the usual remix pitfalls that ruin albums like this which helps save it as well.