AlmostAGhost’s Best Albums Of 2011 – #20. Björk – Biophilia

Bjork - Biophilia
heaven's bodies whirl around me and make me wonder

“Biophilia” means “the love of life” – not life in an existential sense, but life as in living systems and vitality. This is the concept of Björk’s Biophilia, a set of songs that take inspiration from nature and the universe. And like nature and the universe, the album varies wildly, from moments of beauty to creepiness to perplexing to exciting.

As to be expected from an artist like Björk, she takes this concept all the way. Her biophiliac ideas inform the music. For instance, the song “Moon” does not mention moons in its words, but the music is based on musical cycles (of harps), analogized to lunar cycles. “Thunderbolt” uses an electronic Tesla coil to somehow get a bassline, which creates an arpeggio — a musical form of intervals, in line with the space between thunder and lightning. I am no musician though, and a lot of this musicianship is over my head, but figured it was worth a mention. (You can read about the songs in more detail here if you’d like.)

As is normal for her, Björk writes about personal moments within big… no, HUGE, themes. (What’s bigger than the universe?) “Moon” looks at rejuvenation, which is probably the main thread through most of the songs: “Best way to start anew is to fail miserably / Fail at loving / Fail at giving / Fail at creating a flow / Then realign the whole / And kick into the starthole.” Moons start over every month, nature is always re-growing, and so can people: “the healthiest pastime is being in life-threatening circumstances and once again be reborn.” “Crystalline” and “Thunderbolt” also look at similar moments in life – “the sparkle you become when you conquer anxiety” and “may I / can I / or have I too often / craved miracles.” On “Cosmogony,” Björk sings of four different creationist stories (various myths and the Big Bang Theory). “Virus” looks at love through the lens of a virus and a cell (“perfect adversaries”).

As new age-y or gimmick-y as this may all sound, I assure you, it could not be less so. The end result is a sharp, mysterious album, mixing grand vocals with homemade electronics (Björk did much of it on an iPad apparently). Björk’s endlessly fascinating curiosity and musical exploration make Biophilia a vital piece of music.

Bjork “Moon”

Bjork “Hollow”

also you can listen to this on my Spotify playlist here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Default is proudly powered by WordPress

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).