Genre: Alternative everything
Björk, the former Sugacubes vocalist, and owner of one of the most tremendous and at the same time unique voices ever to grace the industry, needs no introduction. Never one to shy away from controversy, she’s back with her most ambitious project yet, Biophilia, released last September, in which she once again explores new musical ground. Having already delved into the weirdest sides of every genre from rock to classical and from folk to jazz, she’s now mixing ethereal waves, minimalism, electronics and everything but the kitchen sink (although I wouldn’t put it past her) as she seeks to explain to us how music intertwines with technology and nature.
We’re talking about a project that was composed on a ipad but performed an acoustic instruments that Iceland’s finest created herself – some kind of gigantic harp that works as a pendulum to use the earth’s gravity to create sound, and this digitally controlled tubular organ thing. And the songs deal with the cycles of the moon (Moon), the atomic structure of crystal (Crystalline), the movement of tectonic plates (Mutual Core), DNA (Hollow) and the music of spheres (Cosmogony). Some will call it the ultimate concept album. Others will say that the little pixie has finally lost the plot once and for all.
Biophilia is definitely interesting. There’s obviously some message in there, and if it means we all go home feeling more at one with nature and the universe around us, then it can only be a good thing. But does Björk, accompanied it would appear by the witches from Macbeth, wailing away about how the trunk of DNA is swallowing her up make for pleasant listening? I’m less sure.
Not only that, but it all comes with some multimedia package, with apps associated to each of the tracks in which you have to stop a virus from infecting the cell it’s fallen in love with and Christ knows what else. Again, it’s either artistic genius or pretentious gobshite gone overboard … You decide.
It’ll go down a storm at the only standard concert of her Spanish tour in the Ciudad de la Cultura in Santiago de Compostela. This is the kind of arty-farty type thing to be contemplated by a seated audience of beard-stroking musos in such a venue. Or even by the kind of audience she performed for at Sonar 2003 in Barcelona.
But Primavera Sound? When Björk was announced as one of the headliners, there were shrieks of dismay from Las Ramblas to John o’Groats. I notice the Bjork como ofrenda al Eyjafjallajökull para que no joda el Primavera Sound (Bjork as an offering to Eyjafjallajökull to stop her fucking up Primavera Sound) Facebook site is gaining in members every day.
Did you know: Björk’s Declare Independence of 2007 was probably her most controversial song yet, and dedicating it to the people of Greenland and the Faroes went down about as popular in Denmark as it did in Serbia, where her concert was cancelled after she dedicated the song to Kosovo, and by doing the same for Tibet in Shanghai she has left the government of that country seriously reconsidering its policy for inviting western acts to play. “Start your own currency, make your own stamp” … wonder if she’ll be telling the Galicians and Catalans to do likewise while she’s here?
Saturday June 3, 2012 Barcelona Primavera Sound
Friday June 22, 2012 Santiago de Compostela Ciudad De La Cultura
5. Dark Matter
9. Mutual Core