I haven't actually seen Lars von Trier's new movie "Dancer in the Dark" yet. But considering the fact that he is the man behind both the morbid, hilarious pseudo-soap opera "Kingdom" and the painfully emotional "Breaking the Waves", I have no doubt, that it's an amazing film. At least the soundtrack is already up there with the hysterical "Kingdom Rectum" choir that opened every episode of "Kingdom". Although on an entirely different level.
Written mainly by Björk, her collaborators Mark Bell and Icelandic poet Sjön - and von Trier himself, "Selmasongs" is an album that stands up well in its own right. With rhythms, background sounds and noises mainly constructed of sampled reality sounds from the actual movie, and an orchestra conducted by Vincent Mendoza, "Selmasongs" feels truly avant garde. At the same time it sparkles with great songs. The clanking beats and machinery noises fuse with huge orchestrals in a way that nurtures both parts, making the whole far greater than the sum of its parts. With all its use of odd sounds, orchestral explosions and musical clichés "Selmasongs" actually sounds quite a lot like Pig masterpiece "Praise the Lard" could have sounded if Raymond Watts had used a live orchestra instead of a sampler.
Björk's unique vocal delivery sounds even more lively than usual, but also more fragile. A climax is undeniably "I've Seen It All", a lullaby-like duet with Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Here, Yorke surprisingly leaves the self-indulgent whining he normally dwells in. In "In the Musicals", resorts to a fickle hopefulness that is plainly painful to take part of without even having seen the movie.
A wonderfully schizophrenic album, "Selmasongs" at times reaches heights, both musically and emotionally, that Björk has previously only hinted at. Now I'm off to the cinema.