When I finally came around to the idea Björk could actually have a decent solo career — I was not impressed with Debut — I heard tell of a jazz album she recorded in Iceland. I figured I probably would never lay my eyes on so esoteric a release.
Then I was introduced to Waterloo Records — some time in 1997 — and eventually, the store had Gling Gló in stock. Curiosity won out, and I bought the album.
Björk recorded the album in 1990, between the Sugarcubes second and final albums. By the time I heard it, the idea of Björk singing jazz wasn’t alien — "It’s Oh So Quiet" was a radio staple by then.
Still, there’s something remarkable about hearing Björk’s familiar delivery (1.) in a setting far removed from her own creative space and (2.) in her own native tongue. Gling-Gló is recorded almost entirely in Icelandic. The Tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar were commissioned to record a live set of jazz standards and brought Björk in to be their singer.
"Gling-gló" is the Icelandic equivalent to the English "Ding-dong", and Björk’s impish playfulness comes through a number of tracks. They sound less blues and more lullaby.
"Luktar-Gvendur" is an Icelandic cover of Nat Simon’s "The Old Lamplighter".
Information on Gling-Gló provided by Björkish.net.