espertine is the fourth studio album by Icelandic recording artist Björk. It was released on 27 August 2001 in the United Kingdom by One Little Indian Records and in the United States by Elektra Entertainment. Production on the album began during the filming of Dancer in the Dark, which was characterized by conflict between her and director Lars von Trier. Vespertine's sound reflected Björk's newly found interest in the music of artists such as Opiate and Console, who were also enlisted as producers.
Björk wanted to make an album with an intimate, domestic sound, deviating from the sonority of her previous studio album Homogenic (1997). With the rising popularity of Napster and music downloads, she decided to use instruments whose sounds would not be compromised when downloaded and played on a computer, including the harp, the celesta, clavichord, strings, and custom music boxes. Assisted by the duo Matmos, Björk created "microbeats" from various household sounds, such as that of shuffling cards and ice being cracked. Lyrically, the album revolves around sex and love — sometimes explicitly — inspired by her new relationship with Matthew Barney; other lyrical sources include a poem by E. E. Cummings, Sarah Kane's play Crave, and dialogues written by Harmony Korine. Björk, a self-titled coffee table book containing photographs of the artist throughout her career, was released simultaneously with the album.
Vespertine peaked at number 19 on the US Billboard 200 and at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart. It was widely acclaimed by critics, with praise centred on its erotic, intimate mood and sonic experimentation. The album appeared on several publications' lists of the best albums of 2001 and of the decade, and has often been considered Björk's best album to date. It was certified gold in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. Three singles were released from Vespertine: "Hidden Place", "Pagan Poetry", and "Cocoon". In 2001, she enlisted Zeena Parkins, Matmos, and a choir of Inuit women to embark on the Vespertine World Tour, which took place at theatres and small venues, in favor of acoustics over audience numbers.