1. Hidden Place
3. It's Not up To You
5. Pagan Poetry
8. An Echo A Stain
9. Sun In My Mouth
11. Harm Of Will
SOUND: This DVD-Audio edition of "Volumen" presents the album in three ways: Advanced Resolution DVD-Audio 5.1 or 2.0 or DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 5.1. Suprisingly, the DVD-Audio tracks are 48khz instead of the usual 96khz. Still, I heard nothing that would concern me that the sound quality suffered from being at the lower rate - in fact, the entire album sounded nothing short of exceptional, both in terms of audio quality and surround use.
The disc's booklet did not indicate who performed the surround-sound remix for the album, but whoever it was did a beautiful job. With the amount of electronic sounds and subtle touches, it would have likely been easy to have the electronic sounds ping-ponging from speaker to speaker. Instead, these sounds are appropriately placed around the listening space and they mainly exist in the surrounds. The surrounds are quite nicely used throughout this presentation, offering the previously mentioned electronic sounds, instrumentals or Bjork's vocals.
The most important part of the music - Bjork's dreamlike, emotional, beautiful vocals - is highlighted wonderfully throughout this presentation. In fact, I don't think I've heard vocals sound this impressive on any of the DVD-Audio presentations I've heard so far. Her vocals simply soar throughout and this presentation reveals them with such delicate, crystal-clear, room-filling beauty that I was quite impressed. Even when she hits the high notes (such as on "It's Not Up To You"), her vocals remain crisp and warm. Vocals remained so clear, so natural and realistic, that I felt like Bjork was singing in the same room.
The instrumentals benefited from the same exceptional audio quality, sounding rich, warm and remarkably distinct. The strings, other instruments, electronic sounds and Bjork's amazing vocals shared space in exquisite fashion, as all of these elements blended together superbly to form a highly involving and enveloping experience. This is a marvelous album presented in fantastic fashion; a really splendid example of the kind of audio quality that the DVD-Audio format can provide.
Extras: Unfortunately, nothing. No videos, no text screens. Even the menus (well, there's only one menu) are rather hard to read.
Final Thoughts: Although I can't say I'm a hard-core Bjork fan, I've enjoyed most of her work that I've heard in the past. Vespertine though, in my opinion, is a classically beautiful piece of work, full of soaring melodies, hauntingly gorgeous vocals and interesting lyrics. The DVD-Audio presentation not only boasts good, appropriate use of the surrounds, but excellent clarity. Highly recommended.