Bjork | Debut – 1993

1993 – Living in Elizabeth Bay. The year Marg and I are married. The house we were living in is below. Although it was grand and gracious in 1993, it also leaked. On rainy nights buckets were strategically placed. Six or seven of us were sharing, not sure how many buckets we set out. The house in the early 1990’s was the “scene of some legendary Sydney parties”.

I was working for Nestle at their Lane Cove factory. I’d started working there after returning from the Nigerian job. Recovering from Typhoid/Malaria, I began working there shovelling chocolate. It was like a scene from a medieval Willy Wonka. A lot of my own sweat and blood went into Nestle chocolates in those years.

I remember flashes of the wedding. The flower girls coming down the stair, serious and playful. I remember my father and eldest sister there. My step mother and her family, friends and friends and friends.

There is a wedding photo that I cherish, but there are some  memories that do not need photos or this blog to help hold. I do remember the music we used; James Brown | ‘Cold Sweat’, as we came down the stairs, James Brown | ‘I feel good’, following the vows, and Ella & Louis | ‘Dancing Cheek to Cheek’, following the speaks. All was magic.

So onto Debut.

I knew of Bjork from her work with the The Sugarcubes, first album 1988, second and lesser album in’89. The Sugarcubes released a third album in 1992, but I haven’t heard it yet. The Sugarcubes were fun and strange, reminiscent of The Talking Heads mixed with the B52’s. Bjork was the stand out, her voice cutting through the rock/pop/jazz mix and muddle.

Debut was, of course, her first solo album. It is filled with organic techno beats,  multiple instrumentations. It was the beats that hooked me on it. The Sugarcubes were a mildly perverted rock/pop band. Bjork was now a grown up dance artist. The dance music was unlike anything I’d heard from a pop artist. It was like some had given a load of drugs to James Brown and set him loose. No, wait, that’s probably not a good comparison.

Bjork was Yoko Ono with a singing voice, and musical ability, etc. etc. This album is full of musical invention and surprising instrumentations. Talvin Singh on tabla, songs built on jazz harp or vibraphone, hugely orchestrated pieces. “There’s more to life than this” is a song built on a jam recorded in the toilets of a place called The Milk Bar is one of the popiest things you will hear.

Debut is lyrically dark and sensual and loving. “The Anchor Song” is a full song with Bjork’s strong voice and lyrics. 3minutes 32 second long, it is a shock to realise that it is only her voice, saxaphone and 9 lines of verse.

The songs you may recognise are: Human Behaviour, Venus as a Boy and Big Time Sensuality. This is worth listening for much more than this.

Bjork doesn’t hold this album in high esteem, but it is important to me

a beginning of an album and a life

Track listing :

Human Behaviour
“Venus as a Boy”
“There’s More to Life Than This”
“Like Someone in Love”
“Big Time Sensuality”
One Day
Come to Me
Violently Happy
The Anchor Song

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One Response to Bjork | Debut – 1993

  1. Pingback: A life in albums | michaelsprott

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