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Family Tree [Box set]

Bjork Audio CD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 178.06
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Family Tree explores Björk's artistic progression in part by sifting through older material and experiments with musical tangents. Just a month removed from the release of her Greatest Hits collection, which was compiled entirely from fans' votes, this multi-disc set highlights the artist's selections. In addition, the box contains five 3-inch discs of rare and previously unreleased material. Two of them focus on her fascination with classical arrangements and include songs she performed live with the Brodsky Quartet in 2000. Two more are given over to her earliest work, including a few Sugarcubes tracks, as well as "Sídasta Eg," a song Björk composed on her flute when she was 15. The last of the five minidiscs, Beats, contains her first post-Sugarcubes club-oriented experiments with 808 State's Graham Massey and Mark Bell that eventually yielded her startling Debut. While it feels scatterbrained at times, Family Tree successfully strips down Björk's creative output into a fascinating history lesson, providing a glimpse at the forces behind Björk's ornate, iconoclastic style. --Matthew Cooke

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Botched Set! July 2 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Here we have 5 mini-CDs (3-inches) and a normal-size CD similar (but not identical) to GREATEST HITS.
Somewhere in the world, there are people who have kept half an eye on Bjork's career but never bought one of her albums. People who may not feel inclined to buy one of her proper albums, yet have heard enough of her to desire more than the GREATEST HITS. If these people exist, FAMILY TREE will appeal to them. However, experienced Bjork fans are likely to regard FAMILY TREE as a terrible wasted opportunity.
It contains:- some familiar, easily-obtained album tracks; a handful of the many non-album single-sides she's released since 1993; two (only two) genuine rarities from the '80s; and an abbreviation of the famous 1999 London concert with the Brodsky Quartet (omitting some of the most interesting one-off moments from that concert).
Perfectionism is a virtue where `proper albums' are concerned. But to assemble a compilation like this, an artist needs some understanding of the "hardcore fan" mentality - of the devoted followers and their interests and desires. Unfortunately Bjork, like most artists, lacks that understanding. When this box was released in 2002, Bjork had a 25-year recording career behind her. Fans knew all too well that a great deal of her most interesting, even revelatory, work was unavailable - either deleted or confined to bootlegs.
Whether Bjork realises it or not, her reputation would have been enhanced by a box of four or five full-length CDs, consisting mostly of rare/previously unreleased material, spanning her entire career from child-stardom through Tappi Tikarass, the Sugarcubes and Kukl, to the present day. Instead she's given us this unsatisfactory product. And now she's made the same mistake twice, with an equally inadequate live box set.
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Format:Audio CD
First of all, in the interest of fairness to her fans, Björk offers TWO Greatest Hits collections: 1) a nice, comprehensive cheap one, just fine for general fans, and 2) Family Tree, which is deeper and more personal, intended for enthusiasts (or those who are budding).
This way, everyone can get what they want, and no-one can RIGHTLY complain about it being "too expensive."
Family Tree is Björk's own chosen "soundtrack" to her career, spanning over 20 years, and involving many collaborators (other people who well deserve to be credited and, by law, paid for their contributions) not appearing on the cheaper, fan-chosen Greatest Hits.
Add the artwork and her favorite lyrics - both chosen because of importance to her - finally you'll realize that this singularly personal retrospective more than fair in the additional cost, provided you are (or feel you may be, as I did) enthusiastic about her work.
The main 5-inch disc collection of 12 originals (her "Greatest" choices) leaves behind the often enjoyable, yet less intimate pop/techo-driven studio stylings of "Big Time Sensuality", "Army of Me" and "Possibly Maybe" (those original versions are on the OTHER Greatest Hits), in favor of deeper, more personal, theatric, and romantic songs.
These include the sweeping, beautifully sobering, Oscar-nominated orchestral "I've Seen It All" (a duet with brilliantly chosen Thom Yorke of Radiohead) and the dark, foreboding "Scatterheart" (a kind of "Bachelorette meets Vespertine"), both high points of Selmasongs (in case you passed on that CD and would prefer spending the extra money on this instead).
Also unique to the main 5-inch disc "greatest" collection are the sweet romantic simplicities of "You've Been Flirting...
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By Eric
Format:Audio CD
I love Björk beyond rational reasoning. But I am ... that the new song, "It's in our hands" is not on the greatest hits cd included in the set! What in the hell was the point of excluding the one new song!? I was anxiously given this as a present from my brother. Just to find my hopes and admiration kicked in the balls by Björk herself. My brother shelled out 60 bones for this- dare I say it- disappointment and it doesn't even have the one new song!! And NOW! I need to go out and buy another CD just to get ONE SONG!!! That's what angered me the most about this "box set."
My other complaint is the small cd's. They look cool but seriously... if I'm driving around I can't listen to them at all. I need to be at work or at home. And who can fully appreciate her music while you're yelling at some customer over a headset, or taking on the Undead and those cheating Humans from home!! (*for those non-gamers i refer to Warcraft III, you need to have the WC disk in your drive to play the game*).
I would recommend these changes be made if I was the one thinking about buying Family Tree...
1.) 4 NORMAL sized CD's including;
*CD1* the 10 songs from Roots
*CD2* the 4 songs from Beats + at least 6 more tracks
*CD3* the 9 songs from Strings + at least 1 more track
*CD4* the Greatest Hits WITH "It's in our hands"
2.) put the damn thing in a box, not a pink prison encased with cardboard
For that package I would gladly pay $... bucks.
In summary, I now need to go and buy a CD burner (that's $... + CD burner + Greatest Hits-if she's lucky) to make a NORMAL sized CD with the Family Tree songs and "It's in our hands" which I will have to download.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars pure Bjork
Family Tree is one of those albums that's just made for the fans. Its a look inside the artist and woman known as Bjork. Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by P. Haugen
5.0 out of 5 stars Four systems and a marvelous universe
Family tree is the unification of four opposite systems like Roots, Beats, Strings and Words, these systems work together perfectly, giving you images of new worlds of instincts... Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by Daniel
1.0 out of 5 stars ///disgruntled fan
Dear Björk,
After amassing a collection of over 65 Björkish CDs over the years, I'm not going to pay $60 for three new songs. I'm tired of this. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by hyperbolic squiggly
4.0 out of 5 stars How the [heck] does this thing go back together?!
Ok, I swear the "hinge" on the spine of the pink case is going to snap under the pressure.
Horrible packaging? Yes. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2003 by Naythen Knapp
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 for music...
2 for the packaging and the price of the item. Don't get me wrong I absolutely adore everything björk has done. But this box is so overpriced. Read more
Published on June 15 2003 by "fleckfandan"
3.0 out of 5 stars Expensive for what you get
The music is certainly very good as one should expect. I already had a few of the tracks but bought this box set anyway. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2003 by "bobogrey"
2.0 out of 5 stars the price alone brings it down
this is not worth 60 bux. this is not worth 40 bux. this is worth 30 dollars maximum. the material is pretty good, but it does not have "in our hands" and two very tedious cds of... Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2003 by TRUC
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT for EVERY Stereo. And WHERES "HUMAN BEHAVIOUR"??!!
First I have to warn anyone who's contemplating buying this that 5 of the CD's in this will not fit in CD players that cannot play the Small CD's. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2003 by Chris Hampton
5.0 out of 5 stars Many gems in this collection
This is a great option for those of us Bjork fans who can't afford to get every one of her B-sides and remixes in addition to her main albums. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Bjork fanatics ONLY
All these reviews bring up good points- this set is for Bjork die-hards only. It was expensive, but as a major Bjork fan(I did a big report of her in music that earned me an A+. Read more
Published on Dec 25 2002
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