Whether you consider her a peddler of pretentious twaddle or an endless font of pure Icelandic genius, you have to give Bjrk credit for eschewing safe options. No other platinum-selling diva has had the guts to forge paths as idiosyncratic as those followed by this charismatic artist over the past eleven years.

On her sixth post-Sugarcubes studio album, Bjrk reminds us that voices -- hers, those of Robert Wyatt, Mike Patton, the London and Icelandic choirs and others -- are infinitely malleable and so fuckin' weird, dude, that their arsenal of sounds is as rich as the most loaded software. Medulla is at once ancient and avant-garde, hauntingly beautiful and repulsively fascinating. Bolstered by pliable beatboxing from the Roots' Rahzel, as well as subtle production tweaks and brilliant arrangements from Mark Bell, Valgeir Sigurdsson and Bjrk herself, Medulla is the singer's most compulsively listenable album -- and her most challenging.

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