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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Björk

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published March 30, 2007

Surrounded
Rhino

Whether the veteran Björk-ophile will desire this seven-DualDisc boxed set will depend entirely on his or her willingness to shell out for an elaborate package, half of which consists of recordings that fan undoubtedly already owns. Surrounded starts with bonus track-free reissues of six of the Icelandic icon’s studio albums—Debut, Post, Homogenic, Selmasongs (music from the Dancer In The Dark soundtrack), Vespertine and Medulla—and then tosses in the recent soundtrack album Drawing Restraint 9. Need the basic Björk discography in one place? Here it is. But Surrounded’s real selling point is on the discs’ “B-sides”: each of the albums remastered in Dolby 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound, along with a generous sampling—26 in all, albeit none from the soundtracks—of Björk’s always-spellbinding videos. Björk has always been a highly visual performer, as well as an artist committed to expanding music’s textural possibilities. That begs the question of why the compilers felt the need to offer the more sonically pedestrian original recordings at all, when clearly the draw of this collection is in the superior-sounding bonus remasters and the video content.