Sortie Août 2004
Medúlla : n.f. (lat. medulla, moelle). Partie centrale de certains organes (par oppositon . à cortex). SYN. : médullaire.
Trois ans après Vespertine, Björk sort son très attendu nouvel album sous le nom de Medúlla. L’album, purement vocal, a été entièrement composé a cappella. Björk s’est entourée pour l’occasion de beatboxers - le japonais Dokaka, Rahzel et Shlomo - et de chanteurs prestigieux - Mike Patton, Robert Wyatt, Gregory Purnhagen, Tanya Tagaq - ainsi que des choeurs islandais et londoniens.
Björk avait envisagé la présence de Beyoncé sur l’album "parce qu’elle a une voix extraordinaire !". À cause de problèmes d’emploi du temps, l’enregistrement n’a pas pu se faire.
Björk a eu des difficultés à trouver un nom pour l’album. Elle l’avait provisoirement baptisé "Ink" (Encre) car elle souhaitait un titre qui représente "le sang vieux de 5000 ans qui est en nous tous ; un esprit ancien qui est sombre et passionné, un esprit qui survit." C’est l’artiste Gabriela Fridriksdottir qui lui a suggéré le nom Medúlla :
I was going to call the album ‘Ink’, because I wanted it to be like that black, 5,000 year-old blood that’s inside us all ; an ancient spirit that’s passionate and dark, a spirit that survives. Something in me wanted to leave out civilisation, to rewind to before it all happened and work out, ‘Where is the human soul ? What if we do without civilisation and religion and patriotism, without the stuff that has gone wrong ?’ When I first moved to New York there was room for immigrants and eccentrics and whoever, then suddenly it became the most scarily patriotic place on earth.
Then I got drunk – surprise !- with my artist friend Gabriela and she came up with the title Medúlla. It basically means ‘marrow’ in medical language, in Latin. Not just you’re bone marrow, but marrow in the kidneys and marrow in your hair, too. It’s about getting to the essence of something. And with this album being all vocals, that made sense.
source : bjork.com Medulla special
« J’ai commencé à enregistrer ce disque avec des instruments, et quand j’avais presque fini, j’ai fait « mute », et je me suis rendu compte que quelque chose se passait enfin. En regardant les pistes silencieuses, j’ai vu que c’était les instruments. Alors j’ai passé les 3 ou 4 mois à ajouter d’autres chanteurs rencontrés spontanément, et voilà l’album vocal. Les instruments m’ennuient, je pense en avoir assez. »
(Eclectik sur france inter - 31/08/2004)
How did having Isadora affect how you make music ?
[Chuckles] I don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with pregnancy, breastfeeding and female hormones during pregnancy, but I became a librarian of my music when I was pregnant and for the year [following Isadora’s birth]. I decided to archive stuff. I had put it off for forever, and I was getting a lot of pissed-off people nagging me about it. I listened to all my live shows and picked the best versions. That took a while, like half a year. I also listened to all of my b-sides and alternate recordings—I knew I could be the only one to do it. You sound like you got pretty organized.
I did. [Giggles] I was putting everything in alphabetical order, cleaning up my attic. I’m not an organized person, but somehow pregnancy made me become that way. Was this album a response to all of that ?
When I started doing this album, I felt like I was holding my breath for a long time and I just wanted to just go, go, go. You know, fuck the librarian that I had become and just have fun.
source : instinct magazine, septembre 2004
Do you ever feel the pressure to make more “commercially accessible” albums ? Like return to the dancy/poppy roots of your first two albums ?
I do dance a lot—I’ve never stopped enjoying dancing. I’ve always been obsessed with pure pop music. There are some real “up” songs on Medúlla, but they won’t be played in clubs. They’re more for dancing around your house, like a domestic rave.
source : instinct magazine, 1er Septembre 2004
"Medúlla is primitive, like before civilisation. It’s the soft squidgy thing in the centre. After Vespertine I was going to do an album with intuition only, no brain please. I was thinking more visceral, flesh and blood, pregnancy… death metal."
source : telegraph.co.uk, 14 août 2004
« Au final on n’est que huit à chanter sur le disque, je les ai rencontré les uns après les autres. Après coup, c’est facile de regarder en arrière, et de voir que chacun à sa spécialité. Il y a Mike Paton, chanteur death metal, un personnage macho-rock-experimental, Rhazel, un grand « beat-boxeur » noir, Gregory, un baryton de l’école classique à l’esprit incroyablement ouvert, et Robert Wyatt chanteur folkomantico avec une personnalité incroyable, et puis Slomo, un très jeune anglais beat-boxeur techno qui n’aime pas le hip-hop. »
(Eclectik sur france inter - 31/08/2004)
"I didn’t start off thinking that was what I was going to do. I was just writing songs with instruments, but I’d listen to them and think "This isn’t really good, is it ?" I’d start muting certain things and it would sound better, so I thought maybe I’d just take more away and see what happened. It just kind of happened. Looking back on things, it’s always easy to be wise afterwards, to sound clever, but it wasn’t like that while I was doing it. I was just kind of tired of instruments, bored a bit, and I’d been backing with them a lot the last few albums, arranging for a huge orchaestra- the "Vespertine" tour had 70 people on stage. It was kind of like "Fuck that !" and just let’s do something completely different. There was one track where these German guys did a whole rave sounding track with just their voices and that really helped me see the possibilities. It wasn’t like they were beat-boxing ; these are really white Germans. It just cracked me up and seemed so fun. I was just into having fun with something new."
source : Slapmagazine.com, septembre 2004
"I just got really bored with instruments. I started doing everything with my voice. Then suddenly I didn’t want to work with any musicians, which is a bit weird. I only wanted to work with vocalists.
I wanted the record to be like muscle, blood, flesh. We could be in a cave somewhere and one person would start singing, and another person would sing a beat and then the next person sing a melody, and you could just kind of be really happy in your cave. It’s quite rootsy."
source : W magazine, Août 2004
"[Medulla is] folk music, but without any folk attached
source : The New Yorker, Août 2004
BeatBox : Rahzel, Dokaka, Shlomo
Prises de voix : Björk, Tanya Tagaq, Robert Wyatt, Mike Patton, Icelandic Choir, London Choir, Gregory Purnhagen
Écriture : Björk, Sjón, Tanya Tagaq, Jórunn Viðar, E.E Cummings, Olivier Alary
Programmations : Björk, Mark Bell, Matmos, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Mark ’spike’ Stent, little miss specta aka Leila Arab, Jake Davies, Olivier Alary.