Music Article

The Choice Voices Of Bjork's 'Medulla'

No stranger to collaboration, Björk often seeks assistance from the farthest reaches of the music world. For her new CD, Medúlla, the pop savant recruited fellow eccentric vocalists to add beats, whispers, hums, and even a little good old-fashioned singing to the album's nearly all-vocal makeup.

ROBERT WYATT

A highly influential solo artist and member of psych-rock pioneers Soft Machine, Wyatt has been an art-rock staple for more than 30 years. His fragile voice is heard on ''Submarine,'' an ethereal, woozy duet with Björk. ''Most of the music I listen to is black music of some kind,'' he says, ''but she is one of the few white singers who has the strength, power, and searing honesty of someone like Nina Simone.''

TO HEAR MORE Check out his 1974 masterpiece, Rock Bottom.

MIKE PATTON

Faith No More's prolific former frontman can scream with the loudest of 'em, but it's his sinister whispers and convincing croon that make him such a unique freak. ''On 'Where Is the Line,' I was doing all this rough, snarly, smoky stuff, and she said, 'Oh my God, that's what this record needs—finally, some balls!' I about pissed myself.''

TO HEAR MORE Track down Faith No More's impressively schizophrenic 1992 CD, Angel Dust.

RAHZEL

Justin Timberlake's got nothing on this beat-box virtuoso. Nicknamed the Godfather of Noyze, Rahzel enlivens five Medúlla tracks with his unmistakable bass-boom beats. ''Because she wasn't really familiar with my work or my capabilities, she was like, 'I can't believe somebody's doing all this with their mouth!'''

TO HEAR MORE Pick up his jaw-dropping solo debut, Make the Music 2000.

DOKAKA

Björk asked this obscure Japanese artist to join her in the studio after hearing his bizarre, all-vocal covers of songs like Nirvana's ''Smells Like Teen Spirit.'' Using only his mouth, Dokaka re-creates each song bit by bit -- and ends up sounding like an even weirder Weird Al. ''I just sang what I thought. I almost always did just one take, so she called me One-Take Man! It was funny.''

TO HEAR MORE Download his goofy covers at Dokaka.com.

Originally posted Sep 10, 2004 Published in issue #782-783 Sep 10, 2004 Order article reprints