Bjork – Biophilia (2011)

Björk’s eighth full-length studio album will be released after a four years gap and the expected released date of September 27 has been pushed back to October 10, 2011. As it’s announced, “Biophilia” will be the world’s “first app album” in collaboration with Apple while the album is “partly recorded” on an iPad and will be released in the form of a series of apps.
I’m only wondering – and worried: what was first, the music or the apps? So, the central part of “Biophilia” is a series of interactive iPad apps made by leading programmers and designers, one app for each of the 10 songs on the new album. Bjork discussed how the apps would represent the scientific and natural ideas within the songs and enable people to play and understand the songs and ideas in different ways, such as “Virus”, a love song between a virus and a cell, in which the “Virus” app will stop playing the song if you are successful in stopping the destructive relationship. Two of the apps, “Crystalline” and “Cosmogony”, were released on July 19, along with a music video for “Crystalline”, directed by Michel Gondry. However, the album will be released in usual form as a series of 10 music tracks as well, including a CD release.

I don’t have an iPad or an iPhone, I’m not even interested to ever get one. Honestly I do believe we’re getting stupider and paradoxically, evolution and technology are mainly part of this process and contribute decisively to our spiritual and mental regress. So, no offense, fuck iPads, fuck Facebook and fuck Twitter, and generally speaking: fuck you.
Against my negative attitude regarding the so-called progress and the “coolness” of the trendy show-up gears as those iWhatevers, the concept of “Biophilia” is at least an interesting one. And Björk’s music is exactly the same strange and colorful.


01 – Moon (Lunar cycles, sequences)
02 – Thunderbolt (Lightning, arpeggios)
03 – Crystalline (Structure)
04 – Cosmonogy (Music of the Spheres, equilibrium)
05 – Dark Matter (Scales)
06 – Hollow (DNA, rhythm)
07 – Virus (Generative music)
08 – Sacrifice (Man and Nature, notation)
09 – Mutual Core (Tectonic plates, chords)
10 – Solstice (Gravity, counterpoint)

About the music, Björk related the phenomenon the song describes to a musical structure or resource. The song “Moon” has different musical cycles that repeat throughout the song. “Thunderbolt” contains arpeggios, inspired by the time between when lightning is seen and thunder is heard and in “Solstice”, the counterpoint makes reference to the movement of planets and the Earth rotation, and the pendulums used on the song make tribute to the Foucault pendulum.
Scott Snibbe, an interactive artist was commissioned by Björk to produce the app, as well as the images for the live shows which will combine his visuals with National Geographic imagery, mixed live from iPads on the stage.
Björk also tried to break the typical 4/4 time signature. For example, “Solstice” features 7/4 and 6/4 times bars; “Hollow”, 17/8 times bars; “Moon”, 17/8 times bars and “Mutual Core”, 5/4 times bars.

Modern and dark, unusual as expected, juggling between abstract cinematic trips and aggressive breakcore eruptions, “Biophilia” is explicitly and ultimately Björk.

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