Bjork: MTV Unplugged/ MTV Live

Bjork Unplugged? Sounds like an oxymoron, and kinda is. This film compilation of MTV appearances, released in 2002, is one for completists only.

Capturing the divine Ms Gudmunsdottir in 1994 at the height of her Debut success, both the performance and sound are too subdued to really impact. She tentatively prowls around the stage in an ill-fitting strappy neon yellow dress, and doesn’t give either the vocal gymnastics or charm we’ve come to expect, in spite of being accompanied by great musicians like Talvin Singh and Evelyn Glennie. It’s like the host of a party telling everyone to “keep it down a bit”. Bjork herself doesn’t seem to be 100% here, and why should she when it’s clearly not made for her target audience? She’s not cooking with gas.

So the songs suffer from being diluted somewhat (the organic and the dancefloor together in symbiosis is where Bjork succeeds) and the whole is a polite, muted affair- all except, that is, for a tender, exquisite version of Come To Me .

MTV Live

Far superior is the MTV Live performance, from 1998 and the time between second solo studio album Post and the far greater follow-up Homogenic. There are beats, courtesy of the late electronic legend Mark Bell from LFO, and she’s giving it more oomph, both vocally and in terms of being more present.

Here, the two best tracks, You’ve Been Flirting Again and an incendiary Pluto point the way to the more experimental direction she took on with the likes of never to be bettered (at the time of typing this) Vespertine.

Published by loreleiirvine

I'm a freelance arts monkey. Come see my brain vomit.

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