Bjork has never shied from eccentricism or extremism in her music, and Medulla, her seventh studio album, turning on the axis of vocalization, is no exception. Careful computer manipulation and programming explode the musical concept known as a cappella by treating and celebrating the human voice as a full orchestra. The result is perhaps the most regal and focused, as well as the most ambitious and adventurous album of Bjork’s career.

Listening to Bjork’s previous albums reveals a progression toward the instrumentally spare Medulla, which provides Bjork the much deserved opportunity to showcase her range as one of music’s most unmistakable vocalists. Consider select tracks like “Anchor Song” off of Debut or “Headphones” off of Post where her voice is propounded as the primary instrument, and Medulla is immediately less alien and more familiar to the listeners who are perhaps unfamiliar with Bjork’s full repertoire.

Heard independent of its predecessors, Medulla might be unnerving to the unsuspecting at first (even this Bjork fan cannot honestly say he was at all prepared for Medulla). With subsequent listens, however, the album blossoms favorably in the listener’s ear. Seductive, disjointed harmonic and melodic arrangements burgeon one after another, building from solitary vocal samples into textured waves of sound complete with human beatboxes, choirs from London and Iceland, and special guests including frontman Mike Patton of the late Faith No More. Medulla flawlessly carries richly juxtaposed notes, grainy growling and angelic lilting that together create a dynamic and surreal listening experience that only Bjork can supply. More impressive still is the elevated nature of Bjork’s lyricism, which transcends the poetic and dramatic nature of her last album, the lush Vespertine. Curious and abstract images flesh out ordinary song subject matter playfully on tracks like “Pleasure Is All Mine,” which is about the joy of giving and “Where Is The Line,” which asks when has one given too much. The meditative and romantic “Desired Constellation” is exquisite with its celestial, bell-like fuzz and the urgent repeated verse “How am I going to make it right?” The real majesty of Medulla, however, lies in the adjoining tracks “Vokuro” and “Oll Birtan” beautifully sung in Icelandic. Simultaneously strange and stunning, Bjork’s continuous bold strides to challenge our notions of popular music and song craft with artistic extremes make reviewing her work exciting and rewarding to listen to. Medulla, therefore, if not for its remarkable beauty, is highly recommended for being unlike anything else.