Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Inner or Deep Part of an Animal or Plant Structure

So, I've been working on some backing vocals on Kory's capstone album and it has inspired me to try composing a completely vocal song with the exception of drums for my own capstone in a year :) I'm pretty stoked and after I told Drew, he showed the documentary "The Inner or Deep Part of an Animal or Plant Structure" about the production process of Bjork's vocal album from 2001.


The concept of production for her album came from some sort of connection to herself as an eighteen year old when she was experimenting with voices. The writing concept of the album had a lot to do with motherhood, childbirth, and "heart, blood, and meat"(Bjork, 2001). From what I gathered, she wanted to create an album that defied the assumptions of how far voices can go and what you can create with them. She described this assumption as being "the veggie burger" on the table--the all vocal album that can't quite compensate for the lack of real instruments or meat. She produced an album that's the equivalent to a steak sitting on the table with only vocals and very little digital construction. Instead of sampling the voices so that they are all the same, she wanted to have a natural sounding album and kept all the different kinds of each sound.

It's awesome how she found each of the people that recorded on her album. She not only researched the kinds of voices she wanted on her album, but she found each of the people and did not limit herself to one country or continent. She found her drummers in Brazil, her beatboxer in the US along with some other voices, her bass line vocalist from Japan, and her choir from Iceland. She went to each of them and was hands on in every process from what we saw in the documentary. Each one of the people she hired to perform their talents on her album were significant to the needs of her vision. Rahzel, the beatboxer was significant because 1) he was an excellent beatboxer, and 2) he produced incredible sounds with his voice that couldn't be produced any other way. Her producer was also her engineer, which is really rare, and he had been working with her for around 10 years or so. She left the tracks unfinished for her engineer and the team to add to the transformation so that "the song gets to be a virgin again" (Bjork, 2001). This is such an awesome way to think about the mixing process because without that extra set of ears and engineers, the song loses momentum in her mind. She trusted each of the people she worked with and recorded and gave uplifting compliments before and after the takes to ensure some sort of energy, or vibe, that she wanted to hear in the tracks. She gave freedom to the vocalists as well, to get the most natural voices from these select performers.

She used her hands so much and was always present, hands on, and supportive for each performer, each take, and each process whether it be the engineering, the writing, or the singing. She brought life into each studio the viewers saw her in. She had a clear vision of what she wanted for this album as well as being open to new ideas and concepts.


Damn. I hope I can write something that represents me the way she so accurately depicted herself and her vision with the voice. Looking forward to trying :)

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