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Björk: Army of Me

Björk has always been an enthusiast of the remix. Versions of her work have abounded to the extent that she devoted an entire album, ‘Telegram’, to invited remixers: ‘Army of Me’, an electro-powered tough-love anthem from her 1995 album Post was one of them. The Army of Me album came from an urgency to help the tsunami victims. Via her website Björk invited visitors to remix ‘Army of Me’. Within a week, 600 submissions from all over the world had been uploaded: this album, its proceeds going to UNICEF, features 20 of them.

There are metal versions (Canada’s Interzone, France’s Hemp) that pick up on the original’s bassline; a bossa nova one (Grisbi, again France); an acapella stab (London’s Peter Baker) and an expansive electronic interpretation from Germany’s Beats Beyond. Britain’s Tim Moth, recording as Lunamoth, goes for a harp interpretation, while Patrick Wolf opts for a hugely histrionic (and equally fun) mix inspired by the late falsetto singer, Klaus Nomi. From Copenhagen, Atoi Conversion’s song has crackly statics, shy vocals from Ida Caecille Rasmussen and a slow, sweet organ tune, as if a sea shanty had been captured in the song.

Björk’s presence may ebb and flow (in Spaniard Alfredo Lietor’s mix, she has been replaced by a voice generated by a PlayStation program), but the creative playfulness in the chosen tracks shines through. Many of the artists appearing may never be well known – take Tor Bruce’s disco version or the splintered vocals favoured by Greek composer Mikhail Karikis – but the generosity of Björk’s project constitutes an adventure for all concerned.

New Internationalist issue 380 magazine cover This article is from the July 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
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