All casual Björk fans be warned, this is not a proper Björk record as she only does vocals on two cuts. For all hardcore fans, however, be prepared to love this. Drawing Restraint 9 is the soundtrack to a movie by the same name, which happens to be written and directed by Matthew Barney, Björk's significant other.
The movie examines the "relationship between self-imposed resistance and creativity" according to an official bio. This awesome soundtrack managed to do what no else has been able to accomplish prior to this: a) make me enjoy throat singers. b) make me enjoy Bonnie Prince Billy. I saw William Oldham (in his alter ego) open for Björk several years ago and was more than a tad under whelmed. Starting off the record however with "Gratitude", Oldham sings a letter from a Japanese citizen to General MacArthur and is quite captivating. The song is brilliantly constructed, highlighted by Zeena Perkins' inspired harp.
"Pearl" features some hypnotizing throat singing from Canadian Tagaq as well as some really interesting sounds from a sho, which is a traditional Japanese pipe instrument. "Ambergris March" is a dreamy, head vacation of a piece. "Bath" features the first vocal from Björk and it's a gentle offering that does indeed echo a watery environment. "Storm" contains the other vocal and it's a powerful piece, from the electro opening to the marine sounds throughout. Her voice is set up against various effects and samples to a jarring-like effect in parts.
This is an amazing record that hits harder at some times than others. You really have to give into it to fully find all the rewards within. The instruments are so carefully and lovingly applied here that it just jumps from the speakers. Björk has proven herself a great producer as well, giving each instrument a chance to breathe and shine without impediments. Lush yet sparse. Powerful yet simple. In fact just the sort of contradictions we have come to love from Björk.