Financial Times

Biophilia : ★★★★★

Electronic beats inventively combine with the organic sounds of wind chimes and harpsichord

The last decade has seen Björk retreat into esoterica. Her albums have been handsomely crafted and rapturously received, yet you suspect their actual contents – Medúlla’s weird vocal experiments, say, or Volta’s abrasive anti-dance music – have been more praised than listened to. It’s an odd sort of comfort zone, Björk indulging her reputation for eccentricity while neglecting the more challenging task of engaging her audience. So the heart doesn’t necessarily soar at news that her first album in four years is “a unique multi-media exploration of the universe”, complete with iPhone apps, specially invented musical instruments and a concept borrowed from the evolutionary biologist Edward O Wilson’s “biophilia” theory that human beings feel a deep biological attachment to nature.
You brace yourself for another trip into self-indulgent avant-garderie – only to find that Biophilia is in fact a triumph. The natural-phenomena theme is brilliantly handled, from “Moon”’s tidal harp motif to “Solstice”’s flickering folk rhythms, with the mood shifting from the forbidding horror-film atmospherics of “Dark Matter” to the tinkling prettiness of “Virus”. Electronic beats are inventively combined with the organic sounds of wind chimes and harpsichord, while Björk herself resembles a force of nature, her voice going from enrapt high tones to earthy growls, rolling the ‘r’ in “heart” as if the very word were aflutter. Biophilia reactivates a sensation I thought I’d lost : Björkophilia.

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney

publié dans Financial Times - 10.10.2011

 

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