Björk’s “Biophilia:” Beyond this World

In his death, Steve Jobs left yet another mark on something vital in the world: Björk’s music.

Björk’s newest album “Biophilia” debuted on Oct. 10 and was partially recorded on an iPad. It also pairs 10 songs with applications on the iPad and iPod touch.

This is not surprising news for fans of the Icelandic singer-songwriter who is perhaps most famous for her experimental use of musical instruments and unique ethereal voice. For this album, Björk worked with developers to record the album’s tracks using new creations of instruments.

Anyone who listens to Björk needs to know that listening to her music is like being transported into another world. And she does it again with her new album “Biophilia.”

Let’s start with the bad. Her strength lies in the music, but not necessarily the lyrics. She sings in a way that every word is elongated and when she finishes singing each one, you kind of forget what verse she was trying to form.

Yet  her tracks are wonderful products of her imagination, which also launched Björk’s career in the first place.

“Crystalline,” the third track of the album, opens with a strange xylophone sort of instrument and listeners can’t help but feel childhood nostalgia. But then her voice comes in and bass and electronic undertones are added, and again, listeners are transported to another world. Björk explores her art and her fans are always welcomed to go on her journey.

Her 11th track, “Hollow,” which is available in extended length, is very much rhythm-based. In the first minute of the track, Björk’s voice is completely absent, with what seems like a low-range string instrument as the main focus. This sets the tone of the piece, the mysteriousness that she wants to create. When she comes in with her delicate vibrato, she is joined by a disembodied chorus.

When you listen to any of Björk’s work, close your eyes. This is when her music is most effective and most extraordinary. Be enthralled by her varying range of voice that can be, at one moment, full with sound, and in another, delicate and vulnerable.

Her newest album “Biophilia” is a mix of the artist’s eccentricity as a musician, experimentation at its best and musical gold.

Published on Examiner.com: October 14, 2011

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