Bjork’s Fossora is a celebration of family, friendship and beats that bang hard

The Line of Best Fit , 30 septembre 2022

Every new Björk album is an intricate exercise in world building and on her tenth record Fossora it’s a place given life through adopting the mushroom as her totem. Its root-like structure – or mycelia – provides a through line for the album that manifests with surprising coherence, warmth and, above all, joy.

It’s a very buoyant creation - perhaps her most levitous release since Debut - that concerns itself with ancestry and legacy. Pushed back to Iceland after the pandemic, Björk was also dealing with the death of her mother, and her daughter Ísadóra coming of age and leaving home. She discovered the work of Balinese duo Gabber Modus Operandi and found the BPM of gabber was perfect for the lockdown raves she would hold with her bubble of friends.

It’s tempting to view Fossora as a truly authentic lockdown record, a considered response to circumstances familiar to everyone. But while every Björk release often feels like a reaction to the last, Fossora is less of a creative left-turn than one might expect. Some of her best melodic work in recent years is here, from the powerful, anthemic “Ancestress” to the fragile euphoria of “Allow”. Dischord and cacophony come together beautifully on "Victimhood" while the album’s title track is about the hardest thing she’s laid down since “Pluto” from Homogenic. Fossora does indeed bang harder than any of her albums have for a long time and yet it’s not an abrasive record at heart.

As a producer she deploys her collaborators’ talents with balance : Indonesian duo Gabber Modus Operandi fit perfectly into the Guðmundsdóttir musical family and there’s some restrained vocal collaborations with Serpentwithfeet and Emilie Nicholas as well as her firstborn Sindri Eldon. “The more I love you / the stronger you become / the less you need me”, she sings on the album’s closing track “Her Mother’s House” , a lullaby-like duet with Ísadóra. It’s a tender moment carried by some of her finest writing : open, liberating, warm and generous.

par Paul Bridgewater publié dans The Line of Best Fit