"The brilliant performances on Voltaic make it clear that Björk isn't just a visionary," NPR exclaims, "but also an artist who inspires those around her to create equal parts music and magic." The project documents and celebrates Björk's ambitious world tour following the 2007 release of Volta. This version contains the thrilling, one-take result of a studio set she made with her touring band—combining Volta tracks with revitalized interpretations of older favorites—available on CD, LP, and MP3.
“This relentless restlessness liberates me,” Björk declares on the song “Wanderlust,” from her 2007 studio album, Volta, and which is also the dramatic concluding track of her new Voltaic live album, released in the US by Nonesuch Records on June 30, 2009. “I feel at home whenever the unknown surrounds me.”
Volta had been designed, Björk has said, as a journey, with the sound of fog horns and clanging bells linking individual tracks and artists from around the world making guest appearances, including Congolese band Konono No. 1, Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté, pipa player Wu Man, beat-master Timbaland, Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale, and sublime chanteur Antony Hegarty. The New York Times called it “a 21st-century assemblage of the computerized and the handmade, the personal and the global.”
Voltaic, then, is a multimedia document, available in five different physical configurations, of what happened after the record was completed, a journey of a different sort as the ever-evolving singer assembled her live band, made a collection of typically amazing videos and one-step-ahead remixes, and toured the world for two years, making headline appearances at diverse venues and large festivals, including Glastonbury, Coachella, and even Harlem’s Apollo Theatre.
She recorded the Voltaic live album—to be available on vinyl, CD, and CD+DVD, as well as on MP3—in one take at Olympic Studio in London with her new band, prior to her 2007 Glastonbury appearance, presenting the set she would play on tour: songs from Volta and new arrangements of older material like “Pagan Poetry,” “All Is Full of Love,” and a thunderous version of “Army of Me.” It’s a stunning performance, featuring cutting-edge computer technology, an old-school horn section and a female, flag-toting Icelandic choir, all “bursting with raw life,” to paraphrase The Independent’s description of Volta. As the Guardian (UK) said in its five-star concert review, “Björk delivers a performance as visually spectacular as it is musically innovative. Fifteen years into her solo career Björk remains the least compromising and most fantastical pop superstar talent.”
Voltaic serves as a coda to Volta, an album about which NME said “Volta is a thunderous return as enchanting as Debut,’’ while Q described it as “the best album that Björk has done in a decade—a reminder of what a vital force she is.”
Recorded live at Olympic Studios, June 25, 2007
Engineered by Simon Changer
Mixed by Paul "p-dub" Walton
Additional engineering and mix on "Declare Independence" by Mo.Hausler
Additional work by Damian Taylor
This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States only.
Björk Gudmundsdóttir, vocals
Mark Bell, beats, electronics
Damian Taylor, electronics, synthesizers, reactable
Jónas Sen, keyboards
Chris Corsano, drums, percussion
Særún Ósk Pálmadóttir, Bergún Snæbjörnsdóttir, Erla Axelsdóttir, French horn
Sylvía Hlynsdóttir, Björk Níelsdóttir, Valdís Orkelsdóttir, trumpet
Harpa Jóhannsdóttir, Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir, Sigrún Jónsdóttir, trombone
Brynja Gumundsdóttir, tuba