Nicola Dibben



Nicola Dibben

Conseil scientifique - Édition | Journalisme

Nicola Dibben (Nikki) est docteur en musicologie à l’Université de Sheffield. Elle a écrit entre autres un livre en 2009 ayant pour sujet Björk et sa musique. Elle a été contactée par Björk et One Little Indian pour travailler sur le projet Biophilia en tant que consultante.

Pour en apprendre plus sur son rôle dans Biophilia nous lui avons posé quelques questions : Questions au Dr. Nicola Dibben

Le texte du Dr. Dibben disponible dans le livret des concerts du MIF

Biophilia celebrates natural phenomena from the atomic to the cosmic, and presents musical sound as part of this whole. The project comprises two versions of the same album, specially commissioned apps, newly invented musical instruments, internet presence, documentary, educational workshops and live show.

Björk describes Biophilia as a 21st century “music of the spheres”. This ancient philosophical notion conceived the relationships between the movements of sun, moon and planets as a kind of music – not a music you can hear, but a mathematical idea based on the ratios of musical frequencies and planetary orbits. This holistic idea resonates with modern recognition of equilibrium in the natural world. Biophilia’s celebration of scientific discovery and new technologies takes us “forward to nature” – the idea that by combining nature with new technology we can create a more sustainable future.

Given its subject matter Biophilia might seem the least autobiographical of Björk’s projects. However, it reflects her complicated relationship with her Icelandic music school education and realises an idea formed in reaction to it – the notion of a school in which music is understood in its broadest sense, not as an imperialist canon of European art music composers, but as organised sound, whether by Beethoven, Kraftwerk or Konono No.1, and of musicology not as abstract theory but as something that can be understood physically and intuitively.

Biophilia has an explicitly educational aim which Björk realises through its multimedia format and music-science educational workshops for children which take place during her residencies. Biophilia will be the first album to be released as a suite of apps. These song-apps combine a nature-science topic and musical feature : for example, “Cosmogony” is about the origins of the universe, and cosmic and musical equilibrium ; “Crystalline” explores musical form by analogy with crystal structures ; and “Moon” uses repeating musical sequences akin to lunar phases. These apps also combine traditional ways of transcribing music with new approaches, such as scrolling music notation and animations representing sound as visual patterns.

The live show involves specially commissioned instruments which are part of the educational experience because they make visible the physical forces that are the subject matter of Biophilia : the pendulum- harp embodies the idea of gravity ; the pipe organ dramatises the force of air ; and a bespoke ‘gameleste’ – a cross between the sounds of a gamelan and celeste - embodies the metals which run throughout Biophilia. Björk will also be performing with hang, a flying-saucer shaped metal object struck with the hands ; a sharpsicord (a pin barrel harp) which links older autonomous music players like the music box with modern ones such as the laptop ; and a 24-piece female choir, the members of which grew up with, and learnt music within their Icelandic choir school. Björk’s compositional style here deliberately avoids the metric structures common in pop : for example, the idea of double pendulums creating interlocking and irregular patterns inspired her basslines and she used a game controller to trigger prime number length sequences to get away from the regular alternation of strong and weak beats.
Björk’s wonder at the natural world and musical sound is communicated through Biophilia, a suite of original music and interactive, educational artworks and musical artefacts exploring music, nature and technology.

Dr Nicola Dibben
University of Sheffield

Nicola Dibben sur la carrière de Björk, leur rencontre et Vulnicura

Nicola Dibben a accordé une interview à The Mouth Magazine écoutable en ligne.

Publication en rapport avec Björk

Björk (Icons of Pop Music) - en anglais :