Though Björk has written music for films before, her collaboration with Matthew Barney on Drawing Restraint 9 is a much deeper and more natural pairing, which makes sense, considering that they're partners in life (and now in art). Björk's pieces for the film reflect its fusions of the contemporary with the ancient, and the organic with the technological -- themes that she has dealt with in her own work, especially on later albums like Medúlla. The motif of West meeting East is also prominent in the visual and musical halves of Drawing Restraint 9: shot in Nagasaki Bay, the film depicts a pair of occidental guests (played by Barney and Björk) who visit a Japanese whaling ship and evolve into whales to escape drowning when a storm hits.
Aworld away from the self-parodic creative lowpoint that was Selmasongs, the music for Lars Von Trier's tacky Björksploitation melodrama Dancer in the Dark, Björk's second foray into film music soundtracks the new work by her partner Matthew Barney. Barney and Björk are a perfect coupling: his unsettling phantasmagorias and her erotic meditations on love that chafe against the strictures of what constitutes a song. A return to instrumentation after her last, vocals-only album, Medulla, Drawing Restraint 9 nonetheless glistens with strange textures - throat singing, Noh vocal performance and sho, a Japanese instrument with 17 reeds and 15 pipes (the film is set on a Japanese whaling vessel).