Björk “Biophilia” (2011)

October 19, 2011

Transmutating proteins. Internal nebula. The Atlantic Ridge drifting. The new, eighth studio album by Björk sounds like an ultimate science geek feast. Indeed it is as it comes with a series of apps to be played on your iPad that bring together knowledge and fun. Musically, Biophilia is a sister of Björk’s three best records: Homogenic (1997), Vespertine (2001) and Medúlla (2004). Elements of each of these albums can be found here. What strikes the most is the frequent presence of silence. The singer and the instruments often stop and wait for a while before the song continues. However, it should not surprise as Biophilia is after all about space (of course, this is a huge simplification). Next, the Icelandic icon has built some extremely curious musical equipment to be used in making of this record: a gameleste, a pendulum harp. Even the Tesla coil served as an instrument (on Thunderbolt). Björk’s album would not be the same without a bunch of guests. This time the impressive set include Leila, Mark Bell, Sjón, Zeena Parkins and Matthew Herbert (among the others). Lyrics are great as ever, just take Virus: Like a virus needs a body / As soft tissue feeds on blood / Some day I’ll find you – one day I’m there (…) The perfect match – you and me / I adapt – contagious / You open up – say welcome. Only Björk could come up with something like this! It’s hard to name the best track but it probably is Mutual Core, a slow-building, mostly organ song with a potential of an earthquake. It evokes Purity Ring at the end. Moon is a beautiful, harp-driven ballad. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, is one of those dark and sinister tracks of Biophilia. It’s got a fantastic sharp beat. Cosmogony deals with various theories of the world’s origin. It’s an orchestral piece of work and Björk’s vocal is simply excellent. Hollow is strange and haunting as you would expect from a song about DNA replication. And of course there is Crystalline, a great drum and bass eccentricity. Solstice is not as good as the rest but bears some similarity with Sardaukar Levenbrech by Grimes from her first LP, Geidi Primes. The only misstep is dull Dark Matter. Shame for the title suggests more. To sum up, the Queen of Alternative has delivered a record that will give months of pleasure and meditation. I luv u, Bapsi.

hydrameter: 5/5

Key Tracks: Cosmogony, Crystalline, Hollow, Moon, Mutual Core, Sacrifice, Thunderbolt, Virus

Watch Crystalline: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PNzytx9EV0

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One Response to “Björk “Biophilia” (2011)”

  1. corpse said

    Well written review. I like reading your reviews ’cause they make me feel like I have to check the album out even if I’m not into this kind of music. I’ll definitely spare a few minutes just to listen to Bjork’s new CD. Btw I appreciate your efforts doing the writing. You expands my musical horizons. Thanks!

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