Billed as a return to "danceable and upbeat" sounds after a string of more experimental albums, Volta is actually a flinty, abrasive record, full of anger and bewilderment. The nearest thing to pop music is Innocence, one of three Timbaland collaborations; even there the melody is harsh and clipped. Volta lacks the unity of vision and enveloping sensuality of Vespertine and Medulla, but no one else could have made this record, voracious in its synthesis of world music: avant rock drummers Chris Corsano and Brian Chippendale, kora player Toumani Diabate and an all-female Icelandic brass section are all here.
Review Summary: Timbaland, brass choirs, Antony Hegarty, foghorns, and Bjork. Good together.If any human were to make a Martian soundtrack, Björk is probably one of the best bets in music today. Her eccentric, spacey voice and unique, exotic style create an aura about her. Fittingly, she titled her latest album Volta, meaning a sudden change or turn, because it seems that Björk might be landing soon.
Once again finding harmony and creating alchemy between seeming opposites, on Volta Björk is bold but thoughtful, delicate yet strong, accessible and avant. The intricacy and complexity of projects like Medúlla and Drawing Restraint 9 suggested that she might have left the more direct side of her work behind, but Volta's opening track and lead single, "Earth Intruders," puts that notion to rest: the song literally marches in, riding a bubbling, ritualistic beat courtesy of Timbaland and Konono No. 1's electric thumb-pianos.
Anyone still scratching their heads over all that Inuk throat singing on Björk’s last album, Medulla, will probably be relieved to hear that the Icelandic pop star puts rhythm right up at the forefront of her sixth solo effort. She likes to use the word ”tribal” when describing Volta, and, indeed, the record is heavy with beats. There are guest appearances from little-known, indie-centric drummers like Mark Bell of U.K.
You know it’s a single when Nate Dogg’s singing on it. And when Antony is trotted out for a duet, you’re likely hearing the work of a prohibitive, unapologetic, potentially insufferable eccentric. Someone like Lou Reed. Or Björk. The breathy, mercurial Johnsons honcho chimes in on two Volta ….
In their careers, these two women often have achieved an eerie psychic twin synchronicity via left brain (Tori Amos) and right brain (Björk). More than a decade after releasing their acclaimed debuts – with so-so albums since the new millennium – they've both arrived at curious political and feminist junctures as wives and mothers. Volta, Björk's sixth full-length, is an ensemble cast with a global pulse.