Wild Mercury Sound

Bjork, Timbaland and a few cool links

John Mulvey

A bit of a catch-up today. First, thanks for the nice response to the Bjork preview I posted on Friday. I've been comparing "Volta" today with the new Timbaland album, "Shock Value".

I think Timbaland's work on "Volta" is the first time he's allowed his beats to be tampered with by another producer - in this case, Bjork. Listening to "Shock Value", it's a good job he did. A year or two ago, in one of his rare interviews, I seem to recall Timbaland expressing a certain amount of boredom with making music, and a vague lethargy seems to pervade a lot of "Shock Value".

Unlike so many of his records from the late '90s and early '00s, it feels as if he's content with being extravagantly-paid and perilously well-connected rather than being a beat maven who makes spacey, authentically weird pop music. Amidst the cameos from Fall Out Boy, Elton John and 50 Cent, the sub-standard off-cuts from Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, and a pretty good turn from MIA, it's his old muse Missy Elliott who stands out, bringing a vivacity to "Bounce" that's mostly lacking elsewhere.

At the height of Elliott's success, it was always assumed that the radicalism came from Timbaland. But I wonder whether he needs someone to spur him on to take those risks, especially these days? Maybe that's why his work with Missy and now Bjork (those extraordinary digital symphonies for Timberlake notwithstanding) are so exceptional?

Apologies that you'll have to wait a while longer to hear this Bjork stuff. Unfortunately, I can't satisfy those of you who demanded, "LEAK IT OR I WET YOU!". Apart from the fact it's not terribly ethical, my copy is watermarked and can be directly traced back to me. While the prospect of being "wetted" by Bjork's people might sound quite enticing to some, I have other stuff to do, today at least. . .

Like follow a couple of links people have sent me. The spiritual advisor of Millenial Reign sent me a link to their Myspace after seeing me mention Fucked Up here. Millenial Reign are a Fucked Up spin-off, and purport to be keeping the Clevo flame alive. Clevo seems to be '90s hardcore from Cleveland, as far as I can tell, though I must confess I've never heard any of the bands they reference. Still, this is top class grunting which reminds me a bit of the sludgy end of Black Flag, which is fine.

Better still, Simon just alerted me to the fact that one of my favourite free folk types, Wooden Wand, has posted a new song on his Myspace. "Delia" is tremendous mystic songcraft, a step on from Wooden Wand's great Dylanish album from last year, that features a couple of Sonic Youth chipping in. I'll report more when the album - it's on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label that I banged on about here - turns up.

Finally, it seems Wooden Wand - James Toth, that is - has a pretty pagan/churchy doom metal band, too. They're called Totem and they sound terrific right here. Enjoy.


Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The return of The Aphex Twin, and Caustic Window


Last year, Warp Records embarked on a campaign for Boards Of Canada's "Tomorrow's Harvest" comeback that was notable for its obtuseness. Unmarked 12-inches were hidden in record stores, strings of numbers and inexplicable broadcasts were strewn enigmatically across the internet. At one point, I...