Love Letter To A Record: Methyl Ethel On Björk’s ‘Vespertine’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Jake Webb, Methyl Ethel – Björk, Vespertine, (2001)

To My Darling Vespertine,

It has been many years since I was first graced by your loveliness. A high school friend, whose taste was always impeccable, first introduced you to me. How glad I am now, of that first introduction, for it has been a life enriched since that day.

From the first colubrine notes of ‘Hidden Place’, you make your presence known. Waves of the ethereal are never too far from one’s ears when devouring such beauty.

‘Cocoon’ still sends shivers, as each delicate note sizzles from Bjork’s mouth, fizzing and popping like expensive champagne.

Old Hollywood film scores are transformed when I dream my way through ‘It’s Not Up To You’. Harps glissando and strings bloom all around with ecstatic joy.

To know that the sorrow of a broken heart holds a strange beauty is to know this album. When I hear ‘Undo’, I know this to be true.

What is it about the plucked string that has me twisted in knots? A string of pearls cast in pirouettes down a marble hallway. A voice, bursting with spirit. Utter perfection is ‘Pagan Poetry’.

I love a day, full of sun, in the depths of winter. In ‘Frosti’, I find my companion for such a time.

And with ‘Aurora’, following swiftly, there is the recipe for ultimate bliss!

There is a twist, my love. ‘An Echo, A Stain’ is your dark side glinting in faraway eyes. You sweep over me, the phantom that you are, with your dissonant orchestral swells, and I am in awe at such poise, such power.

By the time the majesty of Sun In My Mouth arrives, I don’t want this spell to ever be broken. The world you make is exactly where I want to remain.

I can see your beaming smile in ‘Heirloom’, the image is burned into my being. This is kinetic emotion, my body is now under your control.

I am open now, by this point, I’m already dreading the moment it will all end. ‘Harm of Will’ is your gentle reassurance that everything will be OK.

But, my dear Vespertine, every time I hear ‘Unison’, my heart is in pieces again. I’ve been told It’s the knowledge that this time, like every time, It will have to end. I refuse to believe it. Every trip through your incredible landscape is a renewal. I know I will never be the same having been through this, and though our time together is fleeting, I will never hesitate to spend these moments together as often as possible.

You will never know how much you have given to me. When I think of how precious our moments together have been over the years, my eyes are a flood. But do not let this sentiment be one of sadness, darling Vespertine. For it is through you that I have come to understand the sublime beauty that lives between tears of joy and sorrow.

Yours eternally,

Jake Webb

Methyl Ethel’s fourth album ‘Are You Haunted?’ is out today.

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