Danceable and upbeat, with interludes that collage tracks with the sounds of ships mooring and setting sail, a foghorn's call and response, sea birds, rain, and a train, Volta, the latest chapter in Björk's shape-shifting career, is another departure for the artist.
"It was really different from how I usually work," Björk says of her self-produced sixth record. "With Homogenic, Vespertine, and Medulla, if there was a starting point, it was rhythms… but with this one, it was different because I knew more emotionally what I wanted. And because I'd done two or three projects in a row that were quite serious, maybe I just needed to get that out of my system or something. So all I wanted to do for this album was just to have fun and do something that was full-bodied and really up."
Interestingly, Volta's beats came last. "I actually did the whole album, and it wasn't until the last two or three months where the only jigsaw that hadn't been solved was the rhythms," she said. "We had done a lot of experiments with rhythms but I just threw them all away because it was like every time we did something really clever with drum programming beats, it was just too pretentious for this album, it just didn't stick. For me it was maybe a little bit nostalgic going back to 1992, where you had really simple 808 and 909 really lo-fi drum machines, not doing anything fancy but really basic… I had recorded all the brass, I'd recorded everything else, and everything was actually starting to mix ... And I said, what I need is an acoustic drummer, and who sort of has that almost pagan, trance-like wildness."
These various threads come together with the closing notes of the plaintive final track, "My Juvenile," what's the listener to make of Volta? "It's about being exhausted with the self-importance of religion, and thinking, 'okay, wait a minute, maybe we are one tribe, and we're actually part of nature, and trying to suggest some kind of patent for that... but it's still 2007, it's not some hippie shit, go back to your roots, it's all march forward."